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Pagan Altar is a doom metal band formed in 1978 in Brockley, England. Alongside Witchfinder General, they are one of the few "NWOBHM" bands to play doom metal. Although they were ignored by mainstream metal media during the early and mid 80s, their influence did not emerge until after the 80s incarnation had broken up.

Their gigs were characterized by moody, epic and heavy music interpreted with highly visual stage aspect which accented their interest for occult themes. Pagan Altar's only release from that era was independent, self-released, self-titled album which was in later years often bootlegged. It was finally officially re-released on Oracle Records in 1998 and titled "Volume 1".

In 2004, Pagan Altar reunited, re-recorded and released their previously unfinished second album, "Lords of Hypocrisy. These songs date back to the first 1980s incarnation. Also in 2004, "The Time Lord EP" was released, which contains recordings that date
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PAGAN ALTAR Discography

PAGAN ALTAR albums / top albums

PAGAN ALTAR Volume 1 album cover 4.47 | 7 ratings
Volume 1
Traditional Doom Metal 1998
PAGAN ALTAR The Lords of Hypocrisy album cover 4.43 | 6 ratings
The Lords of Hypocrisy
Traditional Doom Metal 2004
PAGAN ALTAR Mythical & Magical album cover 3.25 | 7 ratings
Mythical & Magical
Heavy Metal 2006
PAGAN ALTAR The Room of Shadows album cover 3.75 | 2 ratings
The Room of Shadows
Traditional Doom Metal 2017

PAGAN ALTAR EPs & splits

PAGAN ALTAR The Time Lord album cover 4.50 | 1 ratings
The Time Lord
Traditional Doom Metal 2004
PAGAN ALTAR Pagan Altar / Jex Thoth album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Pagan Altar / Jex Thoth
Traditional Doom Metal 2007
PAGAN ALTAR Imperial Anthems Vol.8 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Imperial Anthems Vol.8
Traditional Doom Metal 2011

PAGAN ALTAR live albums

PAGAN ALTAR demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

PAGAN ALTAR Pagan Altar album cover 4.00 | 2 ratings
Pagan Altar
Traditional Doom Metal 1982

PAGAN ALTAR re-issues & compilations

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PAGAN ALTAR Mythical & Magical

Album · 2006 · Heavy Metal
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Once more drawing on the band's extensive backlog of songs from their original late 1970s and early 1980s run, Mythical and Magical feels a bit less cohesive than the preceding Lords of Hypocrisy. Part of this comes from the somewhat more diverse sound; whereas I understand that Lords of Hypocrisy was conceived as a concept album (the followup to Volume 1/Judgement of the Dead, in fact), the material here was written between 1977 and 1983, a much longer span than either of the other two Pagan Altar albums, and so a wider range of styles are represented due to the band's evolution over that time.

On top of that, it feels like they're beginning to scrape the bottom of the barrel here, tossing in filler numbers which pad out the running time but haven't stood the test of time as well as the stronger pieces. There's still entertaining moments on here, but I'd tackle either of their preceding albums before coming to this.

PAGAN ALTAR The Lords of Hypocrisy

Album · 2004 · Traditional Doom Metal
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For a good long time after their original split, Pagan Altar were mostly known for their first demo - known as Volume 1 or Judgement of the Dead depending on which edition you happened to get, and widely bootlegged until it got an official release in 1998. However, what many didn't know was that Pagan Altar had a bunch more material that they'd written, with attempts made to record a followup demo between 1982 and 1984 eventually falling apart.

Come 2004, Pagan Altar took the step of reforming so that they could try and tackle those songs again with the assistance of all the tools available in a modern studio - but if you were worried that they'd lose their magic as a result, you'll be glad to know that isn't the case. If anything, this album sounds like it was recorded at the height of the 1970s, the studio shrouded in bong smoke and the band putting Sabbath and other doom metal first-wavers to shame. Pagan Altar's combination of doom metal gravitas and NWOBHM attitude remains as strong as ever on this release, and whilst it's good that we have it at the same time it's a shame they didn't manage to have a more prolific career back in the 1980s.


Album · 1998 · Traditional Doom Metal
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Blending the fresh new sound of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal with traditional doom metal sounds like a tall order, but somehow Pagan Altar accomplished this on their infernal debut, circulated widely as Volume 1 until it got a remastered treatment under the title of Judgement of the Dead. Whatever you call it, though, it's an intriguing doom metal expedition, with some keyboard use that doesn't quite hit Atomic Rooster levels of intricacy but nonetheless evokes the spirit of the 1970s just as Terry Jones' vocals call to mind the NWOBHM's peak era. Coming too late for the original wave of early doom pioneers like Sabbath, a smidgen too late to ride the NWOBHM wave, and slightly too early to really benefit from the first doom metal revival, Pagan Altar's original album may be displaced in time but we can thank our infernal masters that we have it back with us now.


EP · 2004 · Traditional Doom Metal
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The Time Lord is an EP release by British doom metal act Pagan Altar. Originally released as a limited vinyl in 2004, the release contains five tracks of the NWoBHM era group’s early material, all of which was written and recorded in the 1978 – 1979 period. In short The Time Lord may only be five tracks, but with over half an hour of music, even before I’d heard the music I knew I was dealing with a must have package for any fan of the band. The Time Lord was re-released multiple times, with a second pressing by original label I Hate Records in 2006, and a remastered vinyl re-issue by Buried by Time and Dust Records in either 2011 or 2012 (sources differ). Finally, after eight years, The Time Lord received a CD release from Cruz Del Sur Music in 2012, with a wide distribution between many labels for different parts of the world, meaning that fans now have an even better chance of getting their hands on the EP.

History lesson out of the way, the music of The Time Lord is best described as what we’d call in these modern times as being retro, although of course because of when it was recorded, it isn’t retro at all, but being from a younger generation it’s the best description I can come up with. Hopefully you get the idea though. The influence of the legendary Black Sabbath is extremely evident with the fuzzy guitars and most especially the vocals which are not unlike Ozzy’s style. It’s that classic sort of metal sound of early doom metal that doesn’t age and sounds just as interesting in 2012 as it would have done in the seventies. Given that the music on the EP was recorded at different times, the first two tracks representing one session and the other three another that came some time later, I do find that there is a noticeable difference in quality, especially production wise, between the two sessions even with the remastering which is present on my version, resulting in a minor blip to the flow of the EP, but fortunately it doesn’t take me long to forget that as I get into the music again.

The best track I think is the title track. Lasting just over eight minutes I’d consider it a gem of early doom metal. The rest of the release is pretty fine too, and I’m particularly fond of Highway Cavalier and Reincarnation, but it’s this one track that stands out above the other four. I guess it’s fair to say that I may have been more ecstatic about the EP as whole had it not actually been my introduction to the group, as in some ways it definitely feels like one should have a grounding with the band’s better known material before coming to The Time Lord. On the other hand personally speaking I found the five tracks to be an excellent introduction to Pagan Altar’s music, and I am definitely interested in hearing their full-lengths now. So in that sense, The Time Lord is a double success and it comes very highly recommended!


(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven (

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