Album Reviews

Pagan’s Mind – Heavenly Ecstasy

Released by: SPV/Steamhammer

Release Date: May 31st, 2011

Genre: Progressive Metal

Links: http://www.pagansmind.com/front/

Links: http://www.facebook.com/pagansmind


Line Up:

Nils K. Rue – vocals

Jorn Viggo Lofstad – guitars

Steinar Krokmo – bass

Stian Kristoggersen – drums

Ronny Tegner – keyboards


Tracklist:

1.Contact

2.Eyes Of Fire

3.Intermission

4.Into The Aftermath

5.Walk Away In Silence

6.Revelation To The End

7.Follow Your Way

8.Live Your Life Like A Dream

9.The Master’s Voice

10.When Angels Unite

11.Never Walk Alone


Almost nine years ago to this day I bought a very obscured piece of music by a totally unknown band at the time hailing from Norway, that band was Pagan’s Mind and the record was titled “Celestial Entrance”. I was deeply submerged into the progressive metal scene back here in the States and was blown away by a few clips of the band’s sound from their website, so I decided to check them out. Being a huge Queensryche and Dream Theater fan myself I could hear some influences in their music but these guys played with a unquestioned powerful rhythm that resonated in each song on that amazing album. The untarnished vocal range of lead singer Nils K Rue on that record and for many releases soon after was phenomenal.  So every release since I have waited patiently to see what these Norwegians would unleash to the world.

Of course with an acclaim record came success with tours in which the band have been invited to appear in over the years, landing spots on the Progpower USA and Progpower Europe, as well as Sweden Rock Festival on several occasions. The band even toured the US with Stratovarius. Each band member also had their individual projects in between albums and for example, Stian Kristoffersen was invited to play drums for Firewind, Nils K. Rue joined Canadian Eidolon, and Jörn Viggo Lofstad entered the door for Jorn Lande as his main guitar player in his solo band JORN.

With an experience unit on hand and a unique sound I was waiting on this release as any other, and expectations are always high especially because I felt the band kinda lost it’s mojo a bit on the last record ‘God’s Equation”, it seemed to me the sound was too ambitious and that album featured less direct and catchy stuff from their previous albums. The bands sound hasn’t changed a whole bunch through the years although they have somewhat incorporated more heaviness into their music on past records, and production wise having worked with respected producer Fredrik Nordström in the past it was a high feat to surpass the quality then, but they did manage so on the band’s last album “God’s Equation”.

For anybody not familiar with the lyrical concept of the band, I gather and from I can remember Nils read a lot of books from Erik Von Daniken, books like Chariots of The Gods for instance and some of the band’s past music has tackled subjects of other dimensions, scifi stuff, space adventures and even the question of life out there. I think at the time when Pagan’s Mind came out not many bands in the prog metal arena we’re tackling these subjects in their music. Both mystical and fascinating at the same time it was a trait that helped the band gained superiority in the genre.

PM returns with their now fifth studio record and this time the record was produced by Jørn Viggo Lofstad and mixed by Stefan Glaumann of Toytown Studios and hot on the heals of signing a new record deal with SPV/Steamhammer. The album opens up with “Eyes of Fire” which fits perfectly into a bombastic fire starter cover art which ranks as one of the best covers the band’s has had to date. This particular track is the most common PM song on the record which easily could of fit on Celestial or Enigmatic: Calling.  Another typical Pagan song blasts loudly on the heavily pounding of the drums of Stian Kristoggersen and yes Jörn-Viggo Lofstad owns the song with a mystical guitar solo and memorable riff.

I couldn’t help but throw those horns out in the air when I heard the initial riff in “Walk Away In Silence”, they brought back the Ryche influences and it beats with every riff into this great tune. Operation Mindcrime anyone? Who cares they have never denied the influence that a band like them has had in their music but not to take anything away from them, PM has always manage to sound melodic and heavy balancing this unquestioned formula with terrific guitar playing which in itself provides a unique separation of their own sound. The mini death growls that they always featured in their songs from time to time make an appearance again on Heavenly, but it doesn’t distract your ears away from the overall cannon of power in the music.

While God’s Equation was a let down in some ears, I think the band manages to glue itself back together and get back to the fierce musical structure that dominated albums like Enigmatic:Calling, and although I probably wanted to hear more high rising guitar licks from Lofstad, he’s shredding is solid as ever here. Nils still incisively takes hold of the vocal flame and does a commendable job once more. The man has always had an enormous vocal range. It seems like a bulk of the new music here is more cerebral then on previous records, but they do it in a way without compromising their patented sound. A true return to form lobbying on the great traits that made the band break ground in the scene a few years ago. Welcome back PM ohh how heavenly sweet it is. Highly Recommended!!!

Written by Denys

Ratings Denys   8/10



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