Hello again dear Metal Santa readers! Have you intentionally sought out and listened to one of the best doom metal bands ever lately? My divine powers tell me that very few of you have. In order to prevent you all from being eaten alive by the Demon of the False, I’m here to either ignite the flame for the newcomers, or to reignite it for those who have fallen off the path. And which path is that, you may ask? Why, it’s the path that leads down dark and twisted corridors towards the unholy shrine… the shrine that contains the Pagan Altar.
In the 1980s, Pagan Altar was akin to a Pokémon that is both legendary AND shiny. Forming in 1976, the band’s only release for its 22 years of existence was a self-produced cassette tape. Without any record label distributing or promoting it, copies were exceedingly rare, sparking an underground demand for bootleg versions. Finally, in 1998, Oracle Records officially released the record under the title of Volume 1.
Keep that in mind while you listen to The Black Mass. It’s a metal miracle that we all can even listen to something that had such an obscure and limited release. It’s even more astonishing that the music with such an interesting back-story turned out to be one of the greatest doom albums ever released.
And I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that one of my favorite metal lines ever is contained in this song:
The ravens of night
have flown away to set Valhalla aflame.
The line isn’t sung in any special way, but the mental imagery of ravens burning the Nordic paradise is about as metal as it gets.
Pagan Altar will be performing at 2013’s edition of Maryland Death Fest. The Metal Santa hopes to see some of you there!