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For melodic black metal to occur, it needs a range of instruments to properly orchestrate an album. The Pagan Prosperity is a prime example of how this should take place. Of course not everything on this album is perfect, but the music, vocals and aura is simply captivating. It took several spins for me to come to this conclusion. Galder does everything right on this recording: the guitars and vocals are at their best. Creative, innovative, historic and monumental release. The only problem would be the production quality, that’s my only beef with this incredible album. It was such an experience to hear this music and solely appreciate it.
Galder isn’t well known for his abilities to play solos, but rhythms he’s a mastermind at. Entirely original sounding guitar work alongside other instruments that this album impenetrable. His vocals flow with the guitar work totally. He is truly great from this aspect and some of his vocals go along with everything in unison. The main music that includes guitars and synthesizers together simply rips. I love the rhythms the most and if he took out the solos I’d give this album a higher rating. He just doesn’t hack it when it comes to playing leads. But his creation of melodic black metal music is incredibly amazing.
The music here is totally original and sips pores into your brain and it stick in there during this entire album. One of Old Man’s Child’s best recordings. The main things that I enjoyed were the vocals alongside the guitars and synthesizers. Some of it entirely incredible to hear. It gives out an aura that is dark and desolate which suits the genre perfectly. I can’t stress enough how the guitar is so well played along with the other instruments in unison with the rest of the band. I totally respect this band’s output of simply historic music. Galder did so much good here, an amazing effort on his part.
Again the only beef that I have is on the production. I felt that the drums sounded a little bit flat and the bass guitar wasn’t too well heard during this release. The guitars, synthesizers and vocals mixed well together but just the snare drum was a little bit annoying. Other than that, the album in itself was simply an awesome epic release. I enjoyed it more and more that I heard of it. I’ll admit that I didn’t like this album too much when I first heard it. I thought that it was just average melodic black with no real significance in helping this genre. It took me maybe 4-5 spins before I said to myself “this album simply dominates!”
Let's start off this review by stating that this is by far my favorite release by Old Man's Child. Galder definitely forged something that had not yet been heard prior to this release. Hell, I can not for the life of me think of another band that pulled off this style with the same power, ferocity and musicianship. Not even the mighty OMC has touched the sheer awesomeness oozing from this album. Now that my fanboy-ish rant is over, I'll get down to business and tell you why I think this album is a landmark that yet to be touched in the blackened realms of metal.
Production wise this album is pretty clear. There aren't any moments where you think, “Was this recorded in a trashcan or his parent's bathroom?” All the instruments have the correct place in the mix. You can even hear the bass through the entire album: utterly remarkable for anything remotely associated with black metal from the time period (pretty much the golden age of the second wave, in my opinion).
My favorite thing about this album is the guitar lines. Some people bitch and whine saying that good old Sir Gruesome sold out and went all groovy on this album. Bull shizzle, my friends. That is just not the case. Yes there are some parts that make you want to bang your head and check your metal health, bu this is defintately not groove metal. Just listen to the awesome lines on “Soul Possessed” and “My Demonic Figures”. It's not the blazing trem picked speed of “Nattens Madrigal” or the raw, crusty tone of Darkthrone. It's actually rather hard for me to describe the guitar sound on this album. It's like a mix of black metal and power metal. Very classically inspired guitar lines that have all the distortion a metal head wants and needs. The riffs tread the line between power, thrash and black metal without sounding like they were haphazardly thrown together.
I think something that throws people off with album is the :gasp: solos. I know it's not uber-kvlt to have guitar solos in your black metal. Galder throws the black metal standards out the window. Listen the solo on “Millennium King”. If you place that solo onto any power metal band's album, it would probably be the best solo on the album. One of my favorite guitar solos of all time. And also that killer solo on "What Malice Embrace". It's kind of funny that the solos fit so well because barely any black metal bands play solos, and no one else plays good solos in black metal. There are quite a few solos on this album and only one feels slightly out of place: “Behind the Mask”. Granted, I love this song and the solo is good, but it doesn't really match the song tempo. And that weird ass diving part that sounds like a duck farting at the beginning of “My Demonic Figures” is a little strange, but it only lasts a second or two.
The drums are killer on this album. Galder kicked out Tjodalv for the next release, and fifteen years later I still can't figure out why. Tjodalv plays some really interesting lines. There's a good bit of double bass but there's also a lot of catchy, make you tap you feet moments. The drums fit in perfectly with the guitar lines. There's never a moment where the any instrument wanders off on its own. That's probably because Galder wrote everything: synths, guitars, vocals, drums, you name it. Any other person associated with this album is basically just doing what he tells them to. The keys and bass aren't anything super special. Just keys and bass accentuating the guitars and drums. The bass isn't follow the leader, as there are some interesting fills, but, unless you're a bass player, you don't care.
The vocals are awesome here. I really feel like Galder's vocals started to deteriorate on some of the later albums (read “Revelation 6:66” on). Scathing, seething and any other word you can use to describe a pissed off bald guy with a mustache singing about Satan. The vocals here are more black metal inspired than the deathy growls and grunts of Galder's later work. There are some deeper sections, but for the most part Galder sticks to a pretty traditional approach with his vocals. The only main difference between Galder's vocals and the vocals of his contemporaries is that you can actually understand what the hell he is screaming about. Sir Gruesome live up to his name with his clean vocals, as they are my least favorite part of this album. He definitely should have stuck with his normal delivery. Yeah, maybe the music sounds a bit more epic when he does it, but he sounds very uncomfortable singing that way, and you can tell.
I just can't see how any fan of metal music can say this is a bad album. There just seems to be something for everyone here. The excellent musicianship, the awesome guitar lines. Aside from a few minor qualms, this is just an utter beast of an album. Fifteen years after it's release and it still receives constant rotation in my collection. I'd probably be lying if I said that I haven't listened to this album at least once a month for the past ten years. There are only a few albums that have ever had that type of lasting power.
Recommended to fans of black metal looking for quality production and excellent musicianship, power metal fans looking to get into some heavier music or just fans of metal in general. Actually, I recommend that every person listen to this album. Make your mothers, wives and in-laws listen to this album. This is Galder's finest hour and one of the finest hours in all of metal's history.
Minus two points for duck farts and an out of tempo solo. Otherwise a perfectly perfected masterpiece. Buy this now.
1997 is a magnificent year for black metal, there are many great albums released in this year. For example, the mighty Emperor came to their throne again with Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk. Nokturnal Mortum became a living legend after the release of Goat Horns. Enthrone Darkness Triumphant showed the crowning moment of Dimmu Borgir. Young Viking warrior Valfar showed his insanely genius to black metal society first time with Sóknardalr. At the same time, an album called The Pagan Prosperity was released. This album is a milestone of melodic black metal genre. It changed the melodic black metal music forever. This album also introduced a rising star to metal world: Old Man’s Child.
Unlike other typical black metal releases, The Pagan Prosperity doesn’t base on extremely darkness and evil, it doesn’t have the emotion of hatred and anger, either. Then why can this album still be considered as a black metal album? The answer is keyboards. It creates epic and chilly feelings, which follow the traditional Scandinavian metal style, just as many other Scandinavian black metal bands do. When you listen to it, you can smell the coldness of northland inside. This proved that, although old man’s child didn’t make hateful satanic music as Darkthrone and Mayhem, they still follow the roots of black metal.
Keyboard using skill is not the only advantage of The Pagan Prosperity. The most impressive thing of this album is guitar works. It combines powerful blacken riffs with lots of beautiful melodies. Two guitarists Galder and Jardar play perfect guitar harmonies here, I’ve never heard this kind of beautiful guitar harmonies and melodies from a black metal band before. Each song has its own special riffs and melodies, all of them are catchy and memorable. These riffs and melodies are not only the highlights of this album, but also the true models of melodic black metal genre.
The musicianship in this album is amazing, too. Bassist Gonde and Drummer Tony both do a great job here. They play their instruments in perfect way. Bassline fits with guitars flawlessly. Drummer Tony’s high quality performance is another successful part of this album, his drum beats is steady, just like a metronome. Drummer is perhaps the most important and hardiest position in a metal band. Tony proves that he is a competent drummer here.
Galder, the founder and front man of Old Man’s Child, has successfully let his name to be remembered with this album. He is a talented multi-instrumentalist and songwriter. He can handle every position except drummer. In this album, he plays lead guitars and keyboards, and composes every song. His harsh vocal is aggressive and hateful, clean vocal is solid. We can see his omnipotent musical genius through out the whole album. Many people only know he is the guitarist of Dimmu Borgir. With The Pagan Prosperity, I can confidently say: Galder’s own band Old Man’s Child is better than Dimmu Borgir, unquestionably.
Generally speaking, this is a perfect album. Every song is flawless and amazing. The production and album art are also very attractive. When it comes to melodic black metal band, people usually talk about Naglfar. However, after listen The Pagan Prosperity, I’ve found another band to watch. Galder truly shows he can make great music here. The Pagan Prosperity brings new fresh air to the old school black metal. It also frames the type of melodic black metal. The Pagan Prosperity is a good example of perfection. It’s a true melodic black metal masterpiece. Every metal fan should own this.
I can’t even begin to describe how astounding this album is. I absolutely love the way that it sounds. Production is top-notch, not a blend that typically yields well for Norwegian black metal. But here it just all fits so well. Every instrument is well defined and sounds great. Nothing is too loud, or too soft, etc. I also really enjoy the skillful drumming of one Tony Kirkemo, whose only contribution to OMC is on this album. Vocally, Galder is one of my all-time favorites. His voice is so cold and wicked sounding that it’s really an unmistakable black metal record, unlike some of OMC’s later releases.
The album kicks off with “The Millennium King,” an unbelievable first track and one of the best on the album. While M-A claims that OMC are a melodic black metal band and I agree with this, let it also be known that there is heavy keyboard work going on here. The interlude towards the end of this track is quite fantastic and atmospheric. Following “…and show us your grace.” my ears were blistered with a solo that is rarely found in black metal, and one that I find to be an enormous step forward for the genre, if done well. Some say that this is the only track on the album worth listening to, and up until I really studied the album I agreed. While it’s easily a big highlight of the album, the rest of the songs keep up with it quite well.
One thing I really enjoy about this entire album is the pace. Everything moves along pretty quickly without becoming too…slow…as is the case for A LOT of black metal I come across. This is just personal preference, but it’s a nice bit of fresh air to have a faster album. The next track is “Behind The Mask’ and while it’s not lyrically and vocally as good as the first, the riffs are awesome and it’s definitely an enjoyable listen.
All in all, it’s an album that I think every fan of black metal should own. If you’re only a fan of high screeches and hazy production, I wouldn’t recommend this. This is easily the highlight of OMC’s career, and one that deserves a lot more credit that it’s received. Amazing.
This may be metal by a black metal persona from norway, but it is not Norwegian black metal. Its has elements of the genre, lyrics and a healthy influence from Old Man's Child's native world, but this is something else, something new that has never quite happened anywhere else. Like Master of Puppets before it, this album is beyond all other works by the band. Every single track functions as a part of the alien whole, every riff is a tune worthy of the greatest Russian classical composers, and it is all played at a pace that needs not outspeed Satyricon or trudge through a death metal anthem- It is the speed that John Phillip Souza tapped into, that heartbeat times two that works its way into your veins, and be warned: If you listen to this album in a car, you will end up breaking the speed limit.
It is melodic, so melodic that were it covered by Apocalyptica (Inshallah), it would sound to any classical analyst like something from 1875. But it remains hard, robust, tough and Norsk better than one would expect from the 'Hot Topic' side of Norway, capturing sublime moments worthy of Darkthrone or even the old Mayhem, and retrofitting them not for popularity, but for quality so outstanding that the popular cannot ignore it. If you want to let someone know what extreme metal can do and they have never heard black metal before, and are not ready for Burzum, this is what to play for them. It would probably stand in well for Edvard Grieg too.
But the music, the progression from riff to riff, the deepening cumulative rumble, the rough vocals and the occasional clean all come together with such poetry, the way Godfather did for cinema or Guernica did for art. It is as exiting to hear this album as it is to play with fire for the first time. A review can't state in words what music can accomplish in the depths of one's mind. Hear this album, and know the true power of true metal.
The Pagan Prosperity is a prime example of how great of a musician Galder was. His work on this album is phenomenal, be it with his vocals, guitar, or keyboard. His song writing skills are nearly unmatched in black metal, at least they were before he went to Dimmu Borgir. I think the best part of this album has to be his work with the keyboard as I was not expecting him to be this great of a keyboard player. We all know about Galder's great riffage and his good (but not great) vocals, but the keyboard is what stood out to me. Galder isn't the only great member on this album, however. Their drummer, Tony Kirkemo, is tremendously talented, and their bass player, Gonde, is one of the only black metal bassists I've ever heard who use the slap technique. You can actually hear the bass as well, which is a rare find in black metal.
This album is jam-packed with excellent melodic black metal. Ranging from mid-paced, keyboard layered sections (My Demonic Figures) to faster paced thrash-esque riffs (Behind the Mask). This album even features clean vocals, although they're very cheesy they take nothing away from the music itself. Probably my favorite black metal guitar solo is on this album as well, in the song "The Millenium King," which in my opinion is the best track on here - if you want to check out this album, listen to that song first. I highly recommend that song, it's great in all aspects.
The Pagan Prosperity is one of my favorite black metal albums, and guess what... the production quality isn't "grim!" If it was this album would be mediocre and receive a much lower score. This album is extremely catchy all the way through, and if you're a melodic black metal fan this is a must have album. If you're a Dimmu Borgir fan, you can see hear great Galder was before he went to Dimmu Borgir and did nothing but power chords.
Old Man’s Child has been known to me for a long time now. This band started out with an EP and a debut album that I had issues with. I didn’t enjoy the sound nor the material on those. Then came The Pagan Prosperity and something changed. Much more accessible than their previous material, easier to listen to and in many ways different. The sound has gotten better here. Better, though, does not always translate to good, but to “passable”. The overall production is quite horrible to be honest. There’s no power behind the otherwise quite well composed music. The drums fall quite flat behind the weak-sounding guitars and the vocals. And the bass is a true mystery here. Yes, you can hear it very well, but it still doesn’t sound like a bass. It sounds more keyboard-composed. The vocals are also “better” here, but it would take one more album for Galder to master the vocal abilities as well. Ultimately, you can say this production is shit!
The material offered here is categorized into good and bad. This means there’s no such thing as “the chorus in track nr. 3 is good, but I don’t like the verse”. There are several good songs here. Still, I can’t get beyond the fact that they chose “The Millennium King” as the opener. It’s a good track, but doesn’t fit as the big eye-catcher openers should be. The problems here in lies in the fact that they’ve mis-used the melodic parts in that song. In almost every song (My Kingdom Will Come counted out), they’ve somehow managed to create wonderful melodies. This is what really drives the album forward without you having to skip any songs. The sad thing is that this is outweighed by an almost as strong down-side. The melodic parts grab you, but as the monotone “only-riffing”-parts enter, you lose interest as they JUST DON’T WORK! This is very sad, when you think about the potential this album really had. Another problem that’s quite devastating is that after a few times you’ve heard this album, it just becomes a big mush. This relates much to the problem with the parts between the melodies. It doesn’t work in the long run.
Whereas this could have been a mighty album, it falls flat before other contenders in the same genre. There are good tracks here, that would’ve better worked as stand-alones than on this album. “Behind the Mask” and “What Malice Embrace” are examples of well constructed songs which you can listen to even five years after its release. You should skip past this album though’, and instead become acquainted with “Ill-natured spiritual invasion”, where they use the same logic, but realise it in a better way.
A black metal release?! Ha, this might me the biggest oxy-moron, but it's white metal! There's nothing so black metal about this album (that is if you count the lyrical content, with its satanic-based ideas)... my wardrobe is blacker than this release! Wait just one minute now, that doesn't make this a sucky album, but it's not black metal!
What doesn't make this a black metal album you ask? For one, the most noticeable thing about the album is the guitar work. There's a lot of groove in the guitar work (think Pantera with Dimmu Borgir synthesizers and Abbath of Immortal doing vocals.) For those of you who claim, "So what if there's groove in the music dude, it's still black metal because of the synthesizer’s dude." Well new flash my friend... synths don't make black metal, so get your head out of your ass! There a lot of synths used on this album, but that just contributes to making the album enjoyable to hear. And oh yeah, most of the songs on this album are slooooow. That's really nothing new for OMC being they're not known for having blast beats, but some of the songs on this album are more like "groove metal" songs with black metal vocals. One good thing about the album though is that the production is crisp clear and I think the drums are tuned up a little too high because you can hear more drums than guitar noise. The drums on this album also need a good tuning I feel because they sound dim, but moving on with the songs.
"The Millennium King" is the only track on this album that is near black metal sounding. It's blistering fast with it's double-bassing and black growl screeches. Though, OMC had to screw up the song by slowing the pace down in the middle and adding some Metallica-like guitar solo. That just ruins it for the black metal sound of this song, but hey it isn't that bad. I just tend to rewind back to the first 2 minutes of the song to re-hear the "black" parts.
Black metal be gone with! Bring in white metal now, and it's on "Behind The Mask" that you can hear a lot of groove in the music. What happened to the black metal elements?! Well it seems like they decided to be like Khold and be experimental with groove-ish riffs and one-dimensional drumming on this song. The lyrics are pretty cheesy I must add also... "Who is he, where is he from?" Ha, the mask is you and "he" is from hell... moron. If I were you, just skip this track unless you want to anticipate the cool near end synthesizer break.
Here's another new edition to the rising genre of white metal, and it's called "Soul Possessed." The beginning starts very basic with riffs injected with alil groove in 'em. To save my breathe, this track isn't that great; as I said before above in the last song, anticipate to hear the nice synthesizer break in this song. It's the chorus, and it's worth the wait in my mind.
Finally, something good out of white metal! Next up is my favorite on the CD called "My Demonic Figures." Talk about groove, this song is filled with long grooves with a melodic touch backed up by synths. It's a very catchy track that'll have you humming the groove parts and for some reason, I get a romantic feel out of this track because it's so melodic with so many hooks in it. That's just me, I don't know about you, but yeah moving on [everyone staring at Davida Loca in a weird way...]
Be prepared for some crap now as "Doommaker" hits your ears with groove. This time, the groove isn't a good quality in this song because the end result is a sludgy, slop crap mess. This song indeed in a "doommaker" because you can tell there was no creativity put into this track. Galder probably thought "let me put some mediocre riffs together and lyrics about Satan and that'll be just fine!" Well, my suggestion is to definitely skip this crap for your own sake.
"My Kingdom Will Come" is more of the same that's on this album with slow groove riffs and catchy synths. It's nothing new as I said before, so you can get an idea how this track is. It isn't bad so don't try skipping this.
Oh boy, this is the worst of the worst of OMC I believe. What happened on "Return Of The Night Creatures?!" For some reason, when I hear this beginning, it sounds like a crappy pop-punk intro and gets shittier along the way with un-inspiring riffs and one dimensional drumming. The black vocals definitely don't along with this neo-black-punk metal crap... Good Charlotte would be so disappointed.
Finally, "What Malice Embrace" is a return to a black metal sound with groove injected into the riffs. This is similar to the first track; just this is a tad slower and doesn't have a terrible break into a long guitar solo. This should've appeared in the CD earlier than being the last track because this is the second best track on the whole CD!
This CD could be definitive to metal music - the dawn of white metal! This album is groove-infested with some black elements and is not the best work of OMC. Though if you happen to come across this album, don't hesitate to listen to it, but if you're looking for black metal material from these guys, don't look here. Want something new? Then this should be a good introduction to the building genre known as white metal.
Ear Catchers: The Millennium King, My Demonic Figures, What Malice Embraces...
First, The Pagan Prosperity is worthy of only one song, The Millenium King. This being said, I can progress with the review.
This album is basically useless. Of the eight tracks, seven of them are identical fillers, in other terms: shitty. The guitar? Where? Oh, they have guitar, but only one or two riffs. The same harmony can be spotted in multiple songs. Vocals, you ask? I can honestly answer: poorly done. It's almost like Old Man's Child tried too hard to make this album seem cool. In reality, it's not great, nor good, at all. These vocals are weak. The drums? Ah, yes. It's time to break down the simple patterns here. I believe Fenriz said once "Black Metal isn't about dominant drums, the drumming should just kind of....be there." This is something O.M.C took to heart. Attempted blastbeats and the fact that the drumming nearly drowns out the guitars, that is, in essence, the breakdown.
Only one song, The Millenium King. I first heard this album in a record store, after which I nearly purchased it. Of course, the first track is setting a high standard, but this album is just a steady decline from that. The guitar solo in this song is the best thing that Old Man's Child has ever done.
If you want seven filler tracks of useless shit, buy this album. I'd buy The Millenium King as a single, if it had been released. Just that song, nothing else. This album isn't even black metal, really.