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Pagan Altar

At a time when most English heavy metal bands were reinventing the genre for future generations by adopting the D.I.Y. lessons of punkrock and the hyperactive energy of Motörhead (then approaching the height of their powers) to launch the legendary New Wave of BritishHeavy Metal, London's Pagan Altar represented a truly unfashionable stylistic anomaly in the early '80s. Along with a scant selection ofcontemporaries -- most notably Stourbridge's far better-known Witchfinder General -- Pagan Altar remained fairly loyal to the sluggishtempos and gothic occultism that dominated heavy metal's ...read more

At a time when most English heavy metal bands were reinventing the genre for future generations by adopting the D.I.Y. lessons of punkrock and the hyperactive energy of Motörhead (then approaching the height of their powers) to launch the legendary New Wave of BritishHeavy Metal, London's Pagan Altar represented a truly unfashionable stylistic anomaly in the early '80s. Along with a scant selection ofcontemporaries -- most notably Stourbridge's far better-known Witchfinder General -- Pagan Altar remained fairly loyal to the sluggishtempos and gothic occultism that dominated heavy metal's original template as defined by their definitive forefathers, Black Sabbath. As aresult, Pagan Altar never earned a record deal throughout the course of their eight-year career, and, in retirement, endured the dubioushonor of becoming one of the biggest cult acts of their generation, before finally enjoying some measure of recognition and resuming theirrecording activities in the new millennium.

Based in the southeast London suburb of Brockley, brothers Terry (vocals) and Alan Jones (guitar) began writing songs and conceptualizingthe band that would become Pagan Altar between 1978 and 1979, reportedly spending almost as much time on the concepts and themesthey wished to portray as on the music itself. In due time, a five-piece lineup could be found gigging regularly around London's pubs andclubs behind an ever-evolving collection of songs inspired by ancient masters like Black Sabbath and Black Widow, and supported by on-stage theatrics ranging from hooded sorcerers' cloaks to pyrotechnics and props like coffins, skulls, black candles, and inverted crosses(giving fellow New Wave of British Heavy Metal shock artists Demon a run for their money). Over the next few years, the ever-present Jonesbrothers worked with numerous henchmen (including bassist Glenn Robinson and drummer Mark Elliott) to propagate Pagan Altar'sintensely conceptualized vision, but it was with the longstanding rhythm section of Trevor Portch (bass) and Israel-born John Mizrahi(percussion) that they finally recorded several tracks written between 1978 and 1981 at their own Pagan Studios in 1982. (This followed anunsuccessful single release after sessions at Abbey Road Studios in 1980..

Intended to serve as both a demo to be shopped to record labels and the foundation of an album, these tracks would, amazingly, only beofficially released in the mid-'90s, after years spent trafficking the fan-powered network of worldwide tape. trading, so crucial to the diffusionof underground heavy metal before the advent of the Internet. In the interim, Pagan Altar had weathered several more years ofdisappointment and frustration amid countless small-time gigs, homemade recordings, and frequent musician turnover, before finallythrowing in the towel in 1985. And since their belated "rediscovery" (not unlike that which befell cult American doomsters Pentagram), theJones siblings have recruited new musicians and issued several additional albums under the Pagan Altar banner, including 2004's The TimeLord EP and The Lords of Hypocrisy LP, and 2006's Mythical & Magical. Be advised, however, that after deciding that most of their originalrecordings were simply not up to standard for release (or had been destroyed by the wear and tear of time), the present-day lineup of PaganAltar proceeded to re-record them for use in these releases, thereby diminishing their "collectible" value, if not necessarily the quality ofthe music itself. « hide

Similar Bands: Witchfinder General, Trouble, Saint Vitus, Reverend Bizarre, Solitude Aeturnus

LPs
Mythical & Magical
2006

4.4
29 Votes
The Lords of Hypocrisy
2004

4.3
18 Votes
Volume 1
1998

4.2
31 Votes
EPs
The Time Lord
2004

4.5
2 Votes
Pagan Altar
1982

4.6
5 Votes

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