Pagan's Mind
Heavenly Ecstasy

01. Contact
02. Eyes Of Fire
03. Intermission
04. Into The Aftermath
05. Walk Away In Silence
06. Revelation To The End
07. Follow Your Way
08. Live Your Life Like A Dream
09. The Master`s Voice
10. Never Walk Alone
11. When Angels Unite
12. Create Your Destiny (bonus track)
13. Power Of Mindscape (bonus track)

Nils K. Rue (vocals)
Jorn Viggo Lofstad (guitars)
Ronny Tegner (guitars)
Steinar Krokmo (bass)
Stian Kristoffersen (drums)

2000 Infinity Divine
2002 Celestial Entrance
2005 Enigmetic:Calling
2007 God`s Equation
2009 Live Equation (DVD)


mixed by Stefan Glaumann
produced by Jørn Viggo Lofstad
recorded in PM Studios

Released 23/5-2011
Reviewed 6/7-2011


Commonly known as the Dream Theater of Norway within hard rock circuits. This title is very hard for me to understand, flattering for the band, of course, but completely idiotic! How is Pagan's Mind a Norwegian Dream Theater? Because they both play progressive metal? Or can Pagan's Mind also sell out big arenas and headline major festivals? Or are they playing music so similar to the Americans that you can't tell them apart? Maybe they're playing Dream Theater covers? Actually, nothing of this is true but the fact that they both play progressive metal. The sound is different, the lyrical theme as well and Pagan's Mind cant, not even with best wishes, sell out arenas and headline major festivals. It would be small arenas and tiny festivals if any. And as far as I know, Pagan's Mind doesn't do Dream Theater covers or have any other attributes that connect them to Dream Theater that they brag about with. In another words, with the same kind of logic you could say that Rhapsody of Fire is the Helloween of Italy. That Children of Bodom is the In Flames of Finland. And that Destruction would be a Metallica of Germany. You can't say these things about bands when there aren't any similarities between them.

So, with that thing clarified, here is the leading Norwegian progressive metal band with their fifth full length studio album and with this they promise to completely blow us away as they call the album 'Heavenly Ecstasy'. Well, seen to their past I can't really say Pagan's Mind has delivered much ecstasy to me with their previous albums. However, they have delivered four really good albums but we're yet to receive that real blow to the face, an album that gives us everything we ever wished and dreamed for and where absolutely everything is just spot on. So far I'd call Pagan's Minds career a steady fiver - good but not fantastic. But as we hear the piano introduce this album already in the first real song my hopes that this will be the album that gives us that - the complete and full package - rise with expectations. But is this that album?

The question is asked, the answer is coming. With their traditional Egyptian-"ish" sound I can at least ensure every Pagan's Mind fan that this album isn't a punch on the nose for all of you that's liked the previous albums - it sounds very much like Pagan's Mind. No drastic changes or anything like that. Most of the ten real songs are between five and six minutes with one longer, one shorter and the intro before all of these. All in all the album covers almost an hour of music, which probably is one of the biggest differences from earlier albums which all were over an hour long. Another big difference is the album cover that isn't blue for the first time. And then this is the first album to be released at Steamhammer/SPV. Otherwise, I actually have a hard time to see what's the big difference from before.

If you don't know the sound of Pagan's Mind. then listen closely as I'll tell you all about it. The music is heavy and full of keyboard lines and keyboard bridges and all other kind of keyboard stuff that sounds futuristic and "spacey". The guitars are hard as a led bat and sounds rock solid, like the boobs on a Hollywood actress, and the drums are as big and mighty as a James Cameron movie. As usual the weakest link is Nils K. Rue - a great showman live and excellent on the stage but not as great when it comes to the studio. He is too over mixed and ruined by voice generators and all other kinds of stuff I have no idea of what they are. Another problem is that, as always with Pagan's Mind, they have this amazing amount of lyrics to sing through because of the lyrical theme they usually have on all of their albums. I guess they have that on this album as well, considering how much text they plow through, but I have no idea if they do since I don't pay too much attention to what is sung so don't kill me if they doesn't. If history has taught us anything about this band it is that they have this problem on all of their albums - too much singing all the time and too much different words and too long songs and too long total playing time.

As usual, I must say, Pagan's Minds' fifth full length album is another album that is good but not fantastic. Not complete. I think this band would be so much better without all the fuss-fuss and hassle with the concept lyrics that pulls out the playing time to six minutes songs and sixty minutes album time with good music and much words. I actually think it's the singing that makes this album to miss out on that really high quality because the music is great from start to finish and something is making it lose the top ratings. Take Follow Your Way as an example on when everything works. Here they repeat the lines "if you try to understand it" and "might be time to realise it" in different versions a couple of times and that's all they need to have a great song. Many Pagan's Mind songs don't even have a repeating chorus and because of this they lack some sort of recognition except in just a few odd cases. Now, my point isn't that they should start to do that or that they even need it but my professional opinion as a music reviewer is that if there is one single thing they could improve most - to get more structure in the music and less chaos. It doesn't have to be very much of it, but you know. To get the most of it at least some of it might help. I'm not saying they should "pop it up" and become all radio friendly and all, and I don't think the band want so either, but to put some repetitive patterns in the music that helps us orientate when we listen to it doesn't have to compromise the music - only improve it.

So, to conclude. Another Pagan's Mind album. Another good Pagan's Mind album. But once again it's a Pagan's Mind album that isn't amazing. I think all of us that knows this band also know that they have the potential to make that super album, a fucking divine album, if you so may. But it isn't 'Heavenly Ecstasy'... we'll just have to wait a bit longer for that.


Label: Playground/SPV
Three similar bands: Dream Theater/Eldritch/Lost in Thought
Reviewer: Caj Källmalm
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