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]
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.
I must admit that a superficial acquaintance with God's Equation was my only experience with this band before 2011, but it appeared to me that Heavenly Ecstasy is heavier than its predecessor. Pagan's Mind certainly know their licks, so I shall probably check out the rest of their back catalog, but it will surprise me if I come across an album better than this.
Why am I praising it so much? Its main quality for sure is that it doesn't forsake heaviness, it endorses it - the riffs on "Into The Aftermath" and "The Master's Voice" are awesome examples of how to make heavy riffs in the 21st century that aren't ripped off from 80's thrash or heavy metal. There's nothing wrong with overly melodic traditional metal releases, but I sometimes wonder where has all the denim and leather gone. Pagan's Mind has it in spades, drenched with the sweat of metalheads coming back from an awesome gig.
Along with all that metalhead sweat comes the perfumed scent of their lady-friends - well, us girls don't exactly smell of flowers after a gig, but you catch my drift. The band isn't afraid to offer shamelessly catchy hooks, sometimes resembling 80's rock and pop. For example, "Live Your Life Like A Dream" even has a line of lyrics taken from the great early 90's radio hit, "Black Velvet" - bonus points if you find it on the first listen without looking at the lyrics! But that's not the only external influence on this release - there's a lot of prog mixed up in here, mostly in terms of atmosphere and the feel that sometimes resembles that of early Dream Theater and Queensrÿche albums. Some lines with rasped vocals even remind me of select Children Of Bodom moments, but that's probably just me.
Wrap this up with awesome solos, a professional and charismatic vocalist and a production worthy of the overall quality of the release and you have the best power metal album of the year. I hope this will inspire other bands to kick the quality of their future releases up a notch, for Heavenly Ecstasy has certainly raised the bar high.
||Written on 07.12.2011 by A part of the team since December 2011, writes about the progressive, the sad and the melodic. She's nice until she's not.|
|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.
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