Pagan Altar: “The Time Lord” MLP

Since the official release, some six years ago, of the much bootlegged debut album Pagan Altar fans, myself included, have been on tender hooks wondering what would happen next. And at long last, our prayers have been answered with an utterly captivating MLP. But far from being strictly new material, “The Time Lord” has been resurrected from the vaults. Originally billed as a 7” single, it has grown to contain two previously unreleased songs as well as three earlier versions of songs that graced the “Volume One” album. Both “Highway Cavalier” and the lengthier title track are unmistakably Pagan Altar although at this point in time the band was operating as a quintet. The songs have more of a distinctly ‘70s flavour, in the music, the vocals and their combined rhythm, as they had not quite yet settled in their timeless niche. However, that is no slight on either of them because they are good bloody songs. It just begs the question how they would have been received in their day. Moving on, “Judgement Of The Dead”, “The Black Mass” and “Reincarnation” recall more familiar territory yet they also capture the band evolving. The differences are subtle and most enjoyable. But is it possible that these renditions are even heavier than the ones that we all know so well? Perhaps the appeal has been further heightened by the crackles of the vinyl. All the same, this is an invaluable document in the Pagan Altar saga and one of the most important releases in memory.

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