The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

PAGANS MIND
Heavenly Ecstasy

 

 

By Robert Kitay

 

I must say I’ve been really looking forward to hearing this album. It’s been almost 4 years since Pagan’s Mind released their brilliant “God’s Equation” album and when I heard that they were working on a new album I certainly had high expectations. Those expectations were met and then some. “Heavenly Ecstasy” is a fantastic album that I just can’t stop listening to.

 

If you are unfamiliar with Pagan’s Mind, they are a Norwegian progressive/power metal band. This is their fifth studio release to go along with a live album. This album is a departure from the more progressive “God’s Equation” to a more power metal sound. “Heavenly Ecstasy” is a heavier, more aggressive, in your face album than their previous releases, but still has an abundance of progressive elements as well. Although I prefer “God’s Equation” to “Heavenly Ecstasy,” I think this album will have greater appeal to a wider audience. It features great songwriting, catchy melodic songs, and clean production. Every instrument is clearly identifiable and mixed perfectly. Nils K Rue provides fantastic clean soaring vocals more reminiscent of Bruce Dickinson or Rob Halford than what we have become accustomed to from many of the more “modern” metal bands, yet he can still pull off a growl when he needs it. Jorn Viggo Lofstad’s guitar work is brilliant on this album. The riffs are catchy, melodic and tasteful and there are some mind blowing solos to boot. Of course, most of the power in this power metal band comes from the solid backing of Steiner Krokmo on bass and Stian Kristoggersen on drums, all masterful. The keyboards on this album by Ronny Tegner are more upfront than on previous releases, and several tracks feature piano.

 

If you don’t think you can have a heavy metal song with a piano, then the first full track on this album “Eyes of Fire” will change your mind. “Eye’s of Fire” is an aggressive power metal track that nicely sets the tone for the rest of this album. The album continues with “Intermission,” which you can hear on their website – no need to wait for the CD release. “Into the Aftermath” more than any of the other songs on the album, sounds like it could have fit on “God’s Equation” as it seems to have the feel and vibe of that album. As you listen your way through this CD, each track is different but all are instantly identifiable as Pagan’s Mind, that is until you get to “Walk Away in Silence.” After listening to the first few chords of this song, you may feel the need to call Geoff Tate and tell him that you located the missing track from “Operation Mindcrime.” I love this track, but wow the Queensryche influence on this track is undeniable.

 

“Revelation to the End,” “Follow Your Way,” and “Live Your Life Like a Dream,” a slower, bluesy track with a Gary Moore type guitar intro, are all solid tracks. This album is so solid that I really haven’t been able to select a favorite track. If I had to pick one now it would probably be “Live Your Life Like a Dream” but that will probably change tomorrow. “The Master’s Voice” may be the heaviest track on the album, which is followed by “Never Walk Alone,” which is a simple piano and vocal piece. The transition from heavy to mellow here is daring. Although some may not like a track like “Never Walk Alone” on a metal album, I consider it a throwback to Black Sabbath’s “Changes.” The album ends on a very satisfying note with the song “When Angels Unite.”

 

This is the best album I’ve heard is a very long time and I can’t recommend it more highly. It’s too bad that Pagan’s Mind is still a relatively obscure band to metal fans in the USA. If you’ve watched clips of the crowd reaction to them at ProgPower USA you can see that they have lots of fans among those in the know. Unfortunately, they have yet to complete a full tour of the USA, so many metal fans, especially more casual fans, haven’t been exposed to them. Hopefully, the USA will finally see a full tour by Pagan’s Mind in support of “Heavenly Ecstasy” so Pagan’s Mind will finally get the exposure that they deserve.