Pagan's Mind - Heavenly Ecstasy review
|Release date:||May 2011|
02. Eyes Of Fire
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 [limited edition bonus]
13. Power Of Mindscape [limited edition bonus]
We are looking at the 5th studio release from my favorite Norwegian metal band, Pagan's Mind. After countless listens I'm completely convinced that Heavenly Ecstasy is my second favorite Pagan's Mind album; it just falls short of Celestial Entrance. The song titles look promising and the cover is a fresh change from the previous blue color that dominated the album art of its predecessors.
The first track "Eyes OF Fire" could be my favorite Pagan's Mind track alongside "Through Osiris' Eyes" from Celestial Entrance. Both contain that unmistakable oriental feel and Jørn Viggo Lofstad nails an amazing solo while Stian delivers some seriously stylistic heavy drumming. It's important to note that Nils K. Rue sounds in his best form on this album and the highlight of his performance is in "Follow Your Way", another top track on Heavenly Ecstasy. While a few songs fall short of expectations ("Walk Away in Silence," "The Master's Voice") they are not bad songs at all, definitely better than the weak songs on God's Equation. The overall production is really good and all the instruments can be heard clearly. The limited edition comes with two decent bonus tracks which are a welcome addition to the album's track list. On the other hand, Heavenly Ecstasy doesn't contain very long songs that a progressive metal enthusiast would expect. The longest song is 8:32 which might be one of the very few flaws in this album and the last track, "When Angels Unite," is completely out of place even if it is the album closer (it sounds more like an excerpt from the Lion King soundtrack).
Call it progressive metal or power metal, Pagan's Mind manage to blend several styles to give us my favorite prog/power release of the year so far. Even some Nu riffs are present at times with growling just like the exceptional "Revelation To The End." If you stumble upon this album don't hesitate to pick it, it's a listen for months and months to come.
|Most acclaimed bands have moved away from power metal, either by simplifying their music and turning to hard rock, or by making their albums darker and more in the heavy metal or prog realm. I hate dividing music into "oldies" and "new stuff", but in this sub-genre, the cliché is true - new bands have turned it into a parody of itself - so dog-whistle vocals, guitar riffs and keyboard passages frillier than Rococo dresses are considered good examples of power metal. Since Pagan's Mind clearly show that it's possible to release power metal albums of very good quality in 2011, this is certainly a wake-up call to the rest of the flock to get their act together and release material at least a point lower, or on par with Heavenly Ecstasy.
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