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Pagan's Mind - Enigmatic: Calling CD (album) cover

ENIGMATIC: CALLING

Pagan's Mind

 

Progressive Metal

3.79 | 96 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

buddyblueyes
3 stars "Attack of the Clones!" Upon returning to the prog metal world from a long departure I clearly see the influence of Dream Theater everywhere. Numerous DT clones have spawned and multiplied. If you are a fan of Symphony X, Anubis Gate, Haken, Suspyre, Circus Maximus, Beyond Twilight, Distorted Harmony and Seventh Wonder, then Pagan's Mind (if it isn't already) belongs in your catalog.

Pagan's Mind is guitar driven attitude and precisely executed, aggressive Prog power metal. With crunchy chords, double bass choke cymbals accents, and more arpeggios than you can shake a stick at, this is wonderful musicianship, especially for budding shredders looking for inspiration. Just like the Varney cats on the Shrapnel label from my time, these bands have inspired the next generation of guitar acrobatics and pummeling polyrhythmic drums. There are compelling twists and turns during the solo sections of the arrangements which should keep music students captivated and listening intently in the practice rooms.

The downside is the fact that like many of the aforementioned bands, it's a formula that originated with Dream Theater and leaves an impression of "we can do that and let's try to one up them." If you can, great, but should that be the objective? What about developing your own unique sound? One could argue that Petrucci, Portnoy (now Mangini) and gang are the progenitors in prog metal and the pinnacle of the talent pool in that genre, however, Pagan's Mind does seem to be able to generate more attitude and passion in their songs. The vocalist, Nils Rue, really powers the songs in a way that DT can't seem to achieve. The power metal energy is delivered in a way that really makes up for any comparable loss of finger dexterity, and when all these clone bands are taken as a whole, Pagan's Mind is a comparable standout.

Kudos to the mix engineers: Fredrik Nordstrom and Patrik Sten and mastering engineer, Morten Lund. The sound quality really captures the aggressive power metal style and enhances the listening experience. Added guitar solos by Christian Clausen are well executed and creative. The cover art is intriguing and in line with the concept of the recording (though, I may like the uncensored "God's Equation" cover, slightly better' not sure why?) Big props to the band for not changing any of its members since the beginning of the band in 2000, a rare feat in the music world these days.

This title deserves at least 4 stars for talent and the recording quality, but, because it falls into a DT clone category and about 3/4 of the way through the songs start sounding a little of the same, a slight decrease in rating must ensue, though both this title and the even more exploratory "God's Equation" are the highlights of the Pagan's Mind catalog. If you're into the power prog scene this is indeed a necessity!

(Side note: I had pretty much given up on prog rock/metal just prior to Dream Theater's "Scenes From A Memory" to pursue studying jazz and fusion for the next 9 years. A few years ago I was standing in the music store to purchase a pair of drum sticks when I heard a band playing over the speakers that caught my attention. I asked the sales associate behind the counter who was playing? He told me he came across the Norwegian Dream Theater, called Pagan's Mind, and that he liked them even better than DT. I raised my eyebrows and determined right there that I needed a change of pace from the jazz scene. It was a calling: to return to my roots in prog pop, rock and metal and I get caught up on what became of the prog scene since my departure. So, it was Pagan's Mind's "Enigmatic Calling" that was the catalyst for my discovering the Prog Archives website and the 1000's of titles that would keep me busy listening for years to come. For that, I say "thanks Pagan's Mind" ...and the sales associate behind the counter playing them!)

buddyblueyes | 3/5 |

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