Pagan’s Mind – Full Circle Live At Center Stage Review

Released by: Steamhammer/SPV

Release date: 16 October 2015

Genre: Progressive Metal

Links: pagansmind.com , Facebook

 

Lineup:

Nils K. Rue – Vocals

Jørn Viggo Lofstad – Guitar

Steinar Krokmo – Bass

Stian Kristoffersen – Drums

Ronny Tegner – Keyboard

 

Track Listing:

01. Approaching

02. Through Osiris’ Eyes

03. Entrance Stargate

04. Of Epic Questions

05. Dimensions Of Fire

06. Dreamscape Lucidity

07. The Seven Sacred Promises

08. Back To The Magic Of Childhood I: Conception

09. Back To The Magic Of Childhood II: Exploring Life

10. In Brilliant White Light

11. Aegean Shores

12. The Prophecy Of Pleiades

13. New World Order

14. Intermission

15. Enigmatic Mission

16. Live Your Life Like A Dream

17. Hallo Spaceboy

18. Full Circle

19. Walk Away In Silence

20. Eyes Of Fire

21. God’s Equation

22. United Alliance

I don’t watch as many music DVD’s as I probably should, or as much as people would think as big a music/live music freak I am. I have nothing against them, I’ve just never found them to capture the true essence and spirit of being in that crowd, sweating, laughing, singing along, feeling the music pour through your body, connecting each individual sonically for the length of that show. Sometimes a band will release a DVD and instead of presenting the show as is, they feel compelled to intersperse interviews, on the road video, and other assorted tidbits. Again, nothing against that because if done right it’s pretty cool, however it breaks up the flow of the show and there’s zero chance to even try to pretend to feel that vibe. When given the chance to write about the new Pagan’s Mind DVD Full Circle- Live At Center Stage, taken from the legendary US festival held every year in the famed Atlanta venue called ProgPower, I was intrigued. Despite not knowing a lot about them I was curious to check it out, as well as see what ProgPower is all about as I have missed it every year now since its inception (this will be corrected next year as I got my tickets already!!)

The set is from their brilliant performance on September 11, 2014 (a day synonymous with a horrific tragedy.) ProgPower is known as much for the acts that make their way to the states, in some cases the first time ever, as it is for the fact that many of these bands opt to perform full albums in their entirety. This show was the third time of them appearing at the festival, their first time going back to 2003 just after releasing their second album Celestial Entrance, which is the album they decided to play for their devoted fans. From the moment the band start playing you knew that you were going to witness something spectacular from a musical stand point, at the very least. I’m not as overly familiar with them as I should be, but I am not totally unfamiliar with them either. As a huge fan of Progressive Metal for the better part of its existence, Pagan’s Mind was always a band bandied about by fans, so I have heard of them in many circles, and have listened to their albums, but never with as much fervor as other bands. After watching this stunning performance I shall rectify that immediately. All five men are brilliant at their respective instruments, made all the more obvious watching them play. Guitarist Jorn Viggo Lofstad should be a name guitarists must hold in the same regard as a John Petrucci or Michael Romeo. Watching his hands flow fluidly across the fretboard…it either inspires you to step up your practice time if you play or sell all of your equipment realizing you will likely never achieve the level of prowess as this. No slouch at all is bassist Steinar Krokmo, who lays down some massive bass lines. Keyboardist Ronny Tegner paints such beautiful landscapes and glorious keyboard runs, at times matching Lofstad riff to riff. Drummer Stian Kristoffersen holds it all down while at the same time proving his enormous skill set. Topping it off is the vocals of Nils K. Rue- his voice is absolutely insane, with an immense range, control few singers are capable of, and a delivery that many times made me stop whatever else I was doing to stare in stunned silence. It’s one thing to do this stuff in a studio where you can have multiple takes and use trickery and enhancement if you’re so inclined, but to pull this off live while making it look and sound like anyone can do it is testament enough to the skill of Pagan’s Mind. Not to leave it with one album’s worth of music; once they finish Celestial Entrance they played selections from most of their other albums, to a crowd that never loses its passion for the band on stage.

For me, this was one of the best live videos I have seen in some time. On top of the stunning playing and fantastic song selection you also get multiple excellent camera angles of each member as well as the full stage. The show itself is very much stripped down, all men donning black and the only decoration is the bands logo on a banner, but with a show at this level there is no need for flashy adornment. The crowd didn’t seem bothered by the fact either. I typically will do other stuff while “watching” a music DVD, but in the case of Pagan’s Mind Full Circle- Live At Center Stage I found myself actually watching the show more than doing other stuff. I was really loving the connection the band had with the fans, and seeing the pure joy on the faces and responses of everyone on and off stage. It still didn’t make me feel exactly what it’s like to be at a live show, but it came very damn close.

 

Written by: Chris Martin

Ratings: Chris  10/10

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