There has always been a certain “you can’t handle this” element when it comes to metal fans defending their genre from interlopers. Speed/thrash metal got most of its momentum in the mid ‘80s partially in response to the waves of new Priest/Maiden fans crowding metalheads out of their front-row seats; the growing popularity (and notoriety) of seriously extreme black metal in the ‘90s could be seen as a reaction to the stadium-size audiences Metallica was packing in. Now, with indie hipsters worshipping bands who are willing to go super-heavy and/or super-extreme, and the masses flocking to post-hardcore bands who are both fast and brutal, what are the flag-bearers of True Metal to do? Go back to the roots, of course. Looking backward beyond Metallica, Maiden, Sabbath … hell, looking backward beyond the Industrial Age, the artists on Pagan Fire can be roughly categorized into three genres: Viking Metal, Pagan Metal, and Folk Metal. Lest you think the latter is the Indigo-Girls-with-distortion-pedals, the Finnish folklore assault of bands like Finntroll and Korpiklaani has vintage instrumentation alongside blast beats and death-metal vocals. The pre-Christian lyrical (and musical) approach is, admittedly, something of a gimmick, since most of these bands fit loosely into the sonic parameters of contemporary death/thrash metal, albeit with the occasional accordion. While some are heavier (Amon Amarth, Bathory) and some are more forthrightly evocative of the past (Eluveitie’s “Your Gaulish War” feels like a Braveheart battle cry), it’s nonetheless encouraging to see a compilation like this codify a movement that’s been long-gestating.