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PAGAN'S MIND

Progressive Metal • Norway


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Pagan's Mind picture
Pagan's Mind biography
Pagan's Mind, a Norwegian Progressive Metal band, formed in 2000 with Nils K. Rue on vocals, Stian Kristoffersen on drums, and Thorstein Aaby on guitar, They all played together in a 80s metal inspirated band but wanted to aim higher and quickly replaced the old bass player with Steinar Krokmo. Guitar virtuoso Jorn Viggo Lofstad joined with Steinar and brought a change to this new band. Jorn and Steinar added with them the Progressive edge that the band would have in the coming years. Their debut album was recorded just one month after Steinar and Jorn joined the band and they were all pleased with the finishing result which was called Infinity Divine Keyboardist Ronny Tegner, who recorded keyboards with them, saw a great potential in Pagan's Mind and joined the band. Since the formation and after two albums, co-founder and guitarist Thorstein Aaby left the band in 2003 and Pagan's Mind's guitar duties solely rested on Jorn Viggo Lofstad's shoulders. Pagan's Mind is what would remind you of a traditional PROG POWER band with influences of CONCEPTION, DREAM THEATER, QUEENSRYCHE, contemporary jazz, neoclassical elements and also some influences by Norwegian Black metal bands. When you put it together, it becomes the insane formula that is Pagan's Mind.

The first album brought the sounds of an old Norwegian giant, CONCEPTION, DREAM THEATER, QUEENSRYCHE and the sounds of 80's Metal all mixed together into an amazing dark, Progressive Power Metal assault that is somewhat like EVERGREY with a strange twist. The second album is the most complete, bringing classical, neo-classical, jazz and Black Metal influences forth and with amazing lyrics that can impress even the best of lyricists. Pagan's Mind's Celestial Entrance is excellent and fans of Progressive Metal should have a listen of it.

Pagan's Mind is one of these new-era Progressive Power metal bands that are very good. Sure they might take a lot from DREAM THEATER as an influence, but this is one of the more impressive Images and Words influenced bands out there. Highly recommended for Progressive Metal lovers.


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Celestial EntranceCelestial Entrance
Alliance 2003
Audio CD$22.98
$14.95 (used)
God's EquationGod's Equation
Alliance 2008
Audio CD$13.59
$6.17 (used)
Heavenly Ecstasy: LimitedHeavenly Ecstasy: Limited
Limited Edition
Steamhammer / SPV 2011
Audio CD$10.40
$6.73 (used)
Heavenly EcstasyHeavenly Ecstasy
SPV 2011
Vinyl$17.09
$14.45 (used)
Enigmatic: CallingEnigmatic: Calling
LMP 2005
Audio CD$112.58
$23.17 (used)
Infinity DivineInfinity Divine
Import
Alliance 2004
Audio CD$17.98
$11.73 (used)
Live EquationLive Equation
Edge J26181 2011
Audio CD$93.76
$24.98 (used)
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PAGAN'S MIND discography


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PAGAN'S MIND top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.26 | 41 ratings
Infinity Divine
2000
4.06 | 133 ratings
Celestial Entrance
2002
3.79 | 96 ratings
Enigmatic: Calling
2005
3.36 | 71 ratings
God's Equation
2007
3.43 | 52 ratings
Heavenly Ecstasy
2011

PAGAN'S MIND Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.38 | 8 ratings
Live Equation
2009

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PAGAN'S MIND Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

PAGAN'S MIND Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

PAGAN'S MIND Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Celestial Entrance  by PAGAN'S MIND album cover Studio Album, 2002
4.06 | 133 ratings

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Celestial Entrance
Pagan's Mind Progressive Metal

Review by MJAben

3 stars Musicianship? Yes. Songwriting? Yes. Originality? Absolutely Not. This album suffers from the same old, it fits the the cookie cutter, progressive / power metal design to a tee and yet, despite all this the music is quite good. I am well and truly conflicted on this album, ranging from 2-4 stars depending on my mood, it certainly doesn't have the originality, memorable music or timeless nature to be rated 5 stars and it is without a doubt too well written to be given 1 star.

I have issues with the vocals, they're good but everyone who has heard this style of metal has heard them before, musically the band is talented but the music is as bland and lifeless as any other band who copies the DT style of power metal. In truth the music here kind of falls to the background, I have listened to this album countless times and every time I find it difficult to bring to mind any music after the fact, let alone feel any strong desire to re-listen to the music. Don't get me wrong I enjoy the music while it plays but after the fact I have this anticlimactic 'well that happened' attitude towards the music.

There is great potential, the band is talented not only as musicians but as songwriters but without an identifiable sound or any creativity I don't feel as though the band can warrant anything beyond 3 stars.

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 Enigmatic: Calling by PAGAN'S MIND album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.79 | 96 ratings

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Enigmatic: Calling
Pagan's Mind Progressive Metal

Review by 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!)

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 Enigmatic: Calling by PAGAN'S MIND album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.79 | 96 ratings

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Enigmatic: Calling
Pagan's Mind Progressive Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Pagan's Mind may have an "Enigmatic Calling" but their musical agenda here couldn't be more easily digestible, offering up mostly traditional power metal fare with sufficient influence from progressive metal to add some interesting twists to proceedings. With a futuristic sheen added at points by Ronny Tegner's keyboards, I'm reminded of a mashup of the prog-leaning approach Iron Maiden took on Seventh Son of a Seventh Son with the aesthetic they adopted for Somewhere In Time, which is no bad thing. Vocalist Nils K. Rue takes the opportunity to show off some impressive range to boot, helping set Pagan's Mind ahead of the pack.

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 Heavenly Ecstasy by PAGAN'S MIND album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.43 | 52 ratings

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Heavenly Ecstasy
Pagan's Mind Progressive Metal

Review by The Mystical

4 stars Excellent.

On first listen, I found this album rather disappointing, as it has less to offer in the technicality/virtuosic field that Pagan's Mind has never before failed to impress us with. But after a while I found myself listening to this album repeatedly. And it took me a while to figure out why I was enjoying it so much.

What makes "Heavenly Ecstasy" what it is, is the powerful composition and emotion. While Pagan's Mind may have taken a more simplistic approach to their musicality on this album in terms of time signatures, speed, and harmonic features, their songs are way more emotional and the band have musically progressed more since "God's Equation" than they have between any of their other albums.

What will probably stand out to previous Pagan's Mind fans:

The new synth sounds - the synthesisers are more "futuristic" sounding and play a more melodic role on the album. These synths will sound very dated within a decade's time.

The simpler chord progressions - while I prefer the more complicated jazzy chord progressions, I feel that this works well within the album.

Slower, more ballady pieces - again, a large change to the Pagan's Mind sound.

A more sentimental approach to the composition - the pieces are more introspective and sentimental.

A more "epic" sounding mix - rather than speed, Pagan's Mind have made this album feel louder and more powerful. Though I love the fast pieces that made their previous sound, I think that this works to the album's advantage.

Cleaner production - the album has a nice clean production, but I can't help but feel like it gives the album a more commercial edge.

The album has quite many great tracks and so it is not easy to pick my favourite. But the key tracks for me are:

♪ Eyes of Fire - A great opener. I love the chord progression.

♪ Follow Your Way - This track is a very nicely composed piece of music, with a chorus that I find very moving.

♪ Live Your Life Like a Dream - Probably the cheesiest song on the album, but also a very beautiful and heartfelt one.

♪ Never Walk Alone - This track is by far my favourite on the album.

I personally think that this is an excellent addition to any progressive music library, but it is worth much more to me than a rating.

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 Celestial Entrance  by PAGAN'S MIND album cover Studio Album, 2002
4.06 | 133 ratings

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Celestial Entrance
Pagan's Mind Progressive Metal

Review by dtguitarfan

5 stars Pagan's Mind is a unique act that leans more towards european melodic Power Metal, but in many of their albums add progressive elements that make their music very interesting and, to be quite frank, quite wonderful. They have a dark, spacey-futuristic feel that mainly comes from the keyboard playing of Ronny Tegner. Add to this the stellar guitar work of Jorn Viggo Lofstad (who I have heard compared to Eddie Van Halen, and while I see this I feel his playing is far superior and adds some of the flavor and techniques of Steve Vai and Joe Satriani maybe) and the unearthly, often banshee-like, 80's metal-style singing of Nils K. Rue, and thunderous drumming of Stian Kristoffersen, and you have quite an amazing style.

Celestial Entrance is the 2nd studio album by Pagan's Mind, and in this album we see potential realized. It is perhaps the most musically interesting of their albums, containing possibly the most interesting song structures, time signature changes, and technical wizardry. Some highlights include the dizzying instrumental "Back to the Magic of Childhood, Part 2: Exploring Life", the frightening metal sounds of "...Of Epic Questions", the spookiness of "The Prophecy of Pleiades", and the fist pumping "Aegean Shores". This is a perfect album for someone who loves Power Metal, and wants to experience Progressive Metal without diving in headfirst, and conversely would be a great album for any Progressive Metal lover who wants to try out some Power Metal.

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 God's Equation by PAGAN'S MIND album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.36 | 71 ratings

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God's Equation
Pagan's Mind Progressive Metal

Review by dtguitarfan

4 stars Pagan's Mind is a unique act that leans more towards european melodic Power Metal, but in many of their albums add progressive elements that make their music very interesting and, to be quite frank, quite wonderful. They have a dark, spacey-futuristic feel that mainly comes from the keyboard playing of Ronny Tegner. Add to this the stellar guitar work of Jorn Viggo Lofstad (who I have heard compared to Eddie Van Halen, and while I see this I feel his playing is far superior and adds some of the flavor and techniques of Steve Vai and Joe Satriani maybe) and the unearthly, often banshee-like, 80's metal-style singing of Nils K. Rue, and thunderous drumming of Stian Kristoffersen, and you have quite an amazing style.

God's Equation is the fourth studio album of the band, and while in many ways they sound much more polished, I personally felt like I was starting to see their decline, a conclusion that was re-inforced for me with their fifth album: Heavenly Ecstasy. I say this because I noticed in this album a decline in the interesting time-signature changes and technical playing I had heard in the previous two albums. This being said, God's Equation is a stellar album - the sound production is improved from the last album, and some of my favorite songs by the band are actually on this album, including the epic Osiris' Triumphant Return, the otherworldly Painted Skies, spacey sounding Spirit Starcruiser, and heavy monsters Evolution Exceed and Alien Kamikaze.

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 Heavenly Ecstasy by PAGAN'S MIND album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.43 | 52 ratings

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Heavenly Ecstasy
Pagan's Mind Progressive Metal

Review by dtguitarfan

2 stars Oh, Pagan's Mind, how you broke my heart with this album. I expected so much from you, based on your previous works. But with this album you commited the cardinal sin for me and released an album full of repetitious songs devoid of the previous mastery of time signature changes I had heard from you in the past, lacking in interesting song structure, and featuring less of the overall technical wizardry I had come to expect of you. I don't know if the switch to blue-based album covers to a red-based album cover somehow subconsciously did this to you, or if you picked a red-based album cover because you subconsciously realized you had sold out to the masses, but I was so sad as I listened to this album. I am hoping this is merely a phase - we shall see. To the readers - if you want to listen to Pagan's Mind at their best, go listen to Enigmatic: Calling, Celestial Entrance, or God's Equation.

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 Enigmatic: Calling by PAGAN'S MIND album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.79 | 96 ratings

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Enigmatic: Calling
Pagan's Mind Progressive Metal

Review by dtguitarfan

5 stars Pagan's Mind is a unique act that leans more towards european melodic Power Metal, but in many of their albums add progressive elements that make their music very interesting and, to be quite frank, quite wonderful. They have a dark, spacey-futuristic feel that mainly comes from the keyboard playing of Ronny Tegner. Add to this the stellar guitar work of Jorn Viggo Lofstad (who I have heard compared to Eddie Van Halen, and while I see this I feel his playing is far superior and adds some of the flavor and techniques of Steve Vai and Joe Satriani maybe) and the unearthly, often banshee-like, 80's metal-style singing of Nils K. Rue, and thunderous drumming of Stian Kristoffersen, and you have quite an amazing style.

Enigmatic: Calling is the third studio album by the band, and is probably my favorite overall. In this album, Pagan's Mind treads right on the border of Progressive and Power Metal, having one foot firmly planted on either side. The whole album has a very other-worldly, spacey, futuristic feel to it that is hard to explain, but can be perfectly summed up in the first few minutes of the final song "New World Order", which is incidentally my favorite song by the band. I would actually recommend that anyone who wants to know what this band is about go listen to that song as it perfectly showcases everything the band does so very well. But this is not the only good song on the album - the whole album is filled with head-banging, eerie, spacey metal that will have you fist-pumping all the way through. This is a perfect album for someone who loves Power Metal, and wants to experience Progressive Metal without diving in headfirst, and conversely would be a great album for any Progressive Metal lover who wants to try out some Power Metal.

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 Heavenly Ecstasy by PAGAN'S MIND album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.43 | 52 ratings

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Heavenly Ecstasy
Pagan's Mind Progressive Metal

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Good prog metal! The first thing that caught my attention on this album was the cover, but not the cover itself, but the fact that it is the first Pagan's Mind cover art without the blue color on it; now it is red, don't really know the motif but it looks like a fresh and new direction.

Pagan's Mind are a well-known (can be better known, actually) progressive metal band from Norway; they started at the beginning of this century and have been together for more than ten years so far. "Heavenly Ecstasy" released this 2011 is their fifth studio album, featuring eleven compositions that make a total time of 56 minutes.

It kicks off with "Contact", a one-minute introduction that serves as the first contact (pun intended) with the band. There are some noises that gradually progress until ""Eyes of Fire" begins. This is a cool first (full) song, I like the keyboard introduction and the power the music shares. Later it slows down, changes direction and vocals appear. Then the song repeats itself until it finishes.

"Intermission" does not really attract me. It reminds me to some power metal bands whose sound may be plain and easy to dig, I don't think this is Pagan's Mind's goal, but nonetheless anyone who likes that type of metal will surely like this. "Into the Aftermath" has a cool repetitive sound; the line is actually the same but this time the song is powerful and creates that sense of power to the listener, me in this case. The vocals are pretty good, but when the singer screams it loses its beauty; the drums always accurate and there is a cool guitar work. I like the change of direction at two and a half minutes, that moment when keyboards appear and give entrance a great solo. Later it slows down, and the music is being rebuilt. Cool track.

"Walk Away in Silence" is another catchy song, here I would not categorize it as a true metal song, I would say it is a hard rock one. There is a nice guitar solo after four minutes, the rhythm is slower than the previous songs, but the power is still present. Reminds me to some 80s bands, honestly.

"Revelation to the End" is the longest composition here, reaching almost nine minutes, and I dare say this is their most ambitious track. What I like here is the intercalation of long instrumental passages with great guitar riffs, and those passages with vocals, creating a equality in the sound and in the division of the song. One can also appreciate the mixture of that power metal sound, with progressive metal, with hard rock. I know this "labeling" thing may not help a lot, but I can distinguish its different moments.

"Follow Your Way" has a pretty good keyboard beginning, then a raw and strong bass and guitar sound appears for some seconds, just before the vocals enter and create new nuances. This is a very good track, well elaborated with nice colors and textures created mainly by keyboards, but well, in this metal realm what rules is the guitar, so go figure. "Live Your Life Like A Dream" has a kind of positive vibe, I mean one can read the title and imagine things, and the music helps creating that complicity. However, maybe the kindness (figurative sense) of this song would make you feel bored and even disappointed.

I like that a song like this was included in the album, the sound is different from the previous tracks, but I don't really think it loses that Pagan's Mind sound (at least not at all). With "The Master's Voice" the music returns to its original form, creating those powerful passages that gives the listener a sensation of triumph and power. The guitar riffs are pretty cool, the drums fast and vocals go always with the flow and help the music being more successful. Now another contrast comes with "When Angels Unite", a two-minute ballad that honestly is horrible, sorry.

The album ends with "Never Walk Alone". A nice track that may define Pagan's Mind style, the guitar riffs are nice, but here I miss more keyboard work. This is a good album. As you know, metal is not my preferred cup of tea, however I do enjoy it when it is well done. Pagan's Mind is a cool band that has a lot to offer, but I believe this album leaves us with some things to be desired. My final grade will be 3 stars.

Enjoy it!

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 Heavenly Ecstasy by PAGAN'S MIND album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.43 | 52 ratings

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Heavenly Ecstasy
Pagan's Mind Progressive Metal

Review by Ovidiu

4 stars And yes,yes and yes again!One of the most anticipated new releases of 2011,the new PAGAN'S MIND album is here!The wait has been quite long,but it plenty worth it,because under all aspects this new material doesn't dissapoint at all!!On the contrary-it's plenty of the well known ingredients that made PAGAN'S MIND to be one of the surest European values in prog metal!Hard to say if this album is prog metal or metal progressive,well,in fact it doesn't matter so much,all I can say is that HUMAN EQUATION is a damn good album!Being fan of this band since the beginning of the story,I can say that after the dissapointing GOD'S EQUATION it must have been impossible for the guys to make a new weak material!This album is the fruit of 4 years of hard work and the result it at the level of our expectations!The melodic side is really impressive,the magic of Jorn's guitar solos is present and Nils vocals are close to perfection!The only minus of the album is,in my humble opinion,the over produced voice-with too many effects and synthetic modulations,and this thing is giving sometimes the feeling that Nils is a robot!Quite funny,isn't it?The music is very melodic orientated,with some superbe choruses and great,great inspiration for the compositions!Fantastic druming aswell and the production is absolutelly stunning!Close to perfection!The LIMITED EDITION is 100 % worth to be bought because of the 2 great extra tracks and the poster!The artwork is sexy and attractive,beautifully couloured and very catchy!Difficult to find a weak song,the top quality of all the compositions is impressive!Thinking at the previous albums,it's quite impossible to think that the Norwegians could be able to produce a second CELESTIAL ENTRANCE or ENIGMATIC CALLING,because this 2 albums are simply PERFECT!But,this new musical try is really a major success and will reconfirm the guys the status that they already have! Congratulations for such an excellent album and 4.5 STARS for this superbe musical jewel!

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