Pagan Reign - _Gates of Hell_
by: Aaron McKay (3 out of 5)
I listened to this band's entire music catalog online, so I will refrain from CD quality speculation and take Pagan Reign completely at face value. First, the vocals are varied; scratchy and gravely. They seem to work well for these guys when PR doesn't decide to actually -sing- ("Worth Hating For...") -- that isn't a strong suit for the band. The elongated "yell-out" vocal approach on songs like "Force of Will" is an appropriate touch. This Irish four-piece from Dublin demonstrates a dynamic understanding of metal's need to challenge direction and preconceived notions. Legitimately skilled guitar dominates _Gates of Hell_ with an underlying bass line that the band would benefit from exploiting more. A completely respectable discography under their belts (two EPs -- one live --, a single, and a German fanzine CD track), Pagan Reign has what's needed to make a go of it if given a decent opportunity. A re-done version of "Iconoclast" with harsher sustained vocals very well could be the catalyst to the next level for Pagan Reign. Check 'em out.


(article published 12/4/2002)

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