Pagan’s Mind – Heavenly Ecstasy (SPV/Steamhammer Records, 2011)
Pagan’s Mind, one of the names that immediately comes to mind when thinking about a modern progressive metal band. The Norwegian band took the metal world by storm with their debut “Infinity Divine” back in 2000. Two albums followed, each one of them being masterpieces: “Celestial Entrance” from 2002 and “Enigmatic Calling” from 2005. The band was at the top, many saw them as some kind of messiahs. But the band decided to shoot themselves in the foot with their 2007 album “God’s Equation”. Well, this leads us to 2011 and their new album “Heavenly Ecstasy”, an album that I approached with some skepticism. Did they just shoot in the head this time? Or will they retake the correct path? Hopefully the guys decided for the second option, as “Heavenly Ecstasy” is one hell of an album.
The album opens with a short intro, followed by “Eyes Of Fire” and “Intermission”, not only two of the best songs on the album, but two of their best songs ever. The guitar solo on “Intermission” is just amazing and the chorus on is just godly. What a great way to kick my butt by having these two tracks at the beginning of the album. The album follows with “Into The Aftermath”, one of the heaviest songs on the album, not among the best ones, but a solid track. “Walk Away In Silence” follows, this time with an 80’s vibe and reminiscent of “Empire”-era Queensryche in the guitar sound. Great chorus and great playing leads to a great song. The album continues with “Revelation to The End”, “Follow Your Way” and “Live Your Life Like A Dream”, very diverse songs but of very consistent quality. Track number 9 is “The Master’s Voice”, another very heavy song and with some fast parts and a great guitar solo. Vocalist Nils show us in this one his versatility as a vocalist making it one of the album’s highlights. “When Angels Unite” follows and it is a 2 minute acoustic song, but it is far from being a filler as the emotion showed by Nils in this one is way beyond description. The album ends with “Never Walk Alone”, a pretty typical Pagan’s Mind song, nothing spectacular just another track.
“Heavenly Ecstasy” is a great comeback and the perfect album for Pagan’s Mind to take the winning road again. While they still couldn’t top “Celestial Entrance” it is safe to say that “Heavenly Ecstasy” is among their best albums and fairly close to beat “Enigmatic Calling” as their 2nd best. If you like your progressive metal filled with great musicianship and great vocals, and don’t like the “wankery” and extremely long songs that tend to permeate in this style; Pagan’s Mind just delivered the perfect album for you. Get this album, now!
HMT Rating: 8/10