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Pagan's Mind - Infinity Divine CD (album) cover

INFINITY DIVINE

Pagan's Mind

Progressive Metal


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4 stars i've listened to the remastered version of infinity divine and it is really well written and produced i can't really compare it ot the original version because now the album is more tighter and cleaner sounding , especially with the two bonus tracks added "embracing fear 2004" and a King diamond cover " at the graves" .in all a good album but i really like "Celestial entrance" more.
Report this review (#31632)
Posted Saturday, January 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
sleeper
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Infinity Divine is the debut album from this Norwegian band, an album that is solidly rooted in power metal, and if truth be-told, is rather lacking in the progressive element.

The album starts with a spacey, keyboard led instrumental piece that just serves to lead into the opening song, Caught In A Dream, and it will be a while before you here anything that really sounds different to anything else. In fact, the only song that does stand out on here is the final track, the eight minute A New Beginning (which is the closest song you get to an epic here), witch starts similarly to the rest of the tracks but moves to explore new textures and moods in the middle of the song before having a final blast to end the song. This constant change of tone and mood in the song makes this the only really progressive track on the album.

Of the rest of the music, it all seems a bit too formulaic to be really interesting. This is not the kind of music that will stimulate the mind, not that its lacking in the enjoyment department. In fact this is its strength, it's an album that doesn't require too much mental work to listen to what's going on but for those that enjoy the heavy metal side of music as much as the prog, this will go down OK.

The musicianship here is at a pretty high standard with clear singing, strong drumming, powerful guitar lines, interesting bass (when you can here it) and great keyboard and guitar solos. Sadly the songs are largely all constructed the same way so its hard to really pick out any stand out songs here beyond the aforementioned A New Beginning, but Embracing Fear has a strong, driving quality to it and Astral Projection starts and ends with a very nice riff that does stand out from the rest of the album.

As a metal album I would have given it 3 stars as it is highly enjoyable but a little formulaic leaving only a couple of tracks to really stand out. I only give it 2 stars here because it is near totally devoid of prog except for the closing track and so really would be only for fans of Pagans Mind.

Of the 2004 re-master it adds two bonus songs. The first of these is a re-make of Embracing Fear. The song has a new, harder, cleaner edge too it but the feeling that made it stand out on this album from the rest of the songs for me is gone, leaving the song just as anonymous as the rest of the songs. The second bonus track is a cover of King Diamonds At The Graves, featuring guest solo performances from Glen Drover and Gus G. In all seriousness, this is one of the cheesiest songs that I have ever heard. The music is rather good and the guest solos spots are performed admirably, but the lyrics are just plain terrible and cringe worthy.

Report this review (#105468)
Posted Wednesday, January 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
progrules
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This debut by Pagan's Mind has actually an interesting build up. But first let me state that I'm reviewing the 2004 re-issue and this one has some significant differences compared to the original. Not only does it contain the King Diamond's cover At the Graves but there are also some differences in length of the songs. Most songs on the re-issue are shorter except A new beginning which is half a minute longer. And also the re-issue misses out on Moonlight pact. I never heard the original so I don't even know what that song is like. And the strange thing is that the re-issue does a double performance of Embracing fear, calling the second one Embracing fear 2004 and the worst thing is: the 2004 edition is far less than the earlier (track 4). So that means they could have left it out and place Moonlight pact instead on the re-issue. These producers move in mysterious ways sometimes.

But anyway, now the review. I was talking about the build up of this album. First 3 songs after the short introduction to Paganism (nice invention) are truly awesome to me with Caught in a dream as absolute highlight. But then the album diminishes in quality until the 7th track (Dwaning of the Nemesis) reaching it's lowest point and then gets better and better again until the closing bonus track reaching another highlight with A new Beginning. That's where the build is concerned. The style of Pagan's Mind is one that I absolutely love a lot. It's the exact right kind of prog metal for me, great up tempo speed, excellent drumming and good instrumental performances. The compositions are not the most brilliant you will ever hear but there is not much wrong with them. It's just the vocals that are not really 100 % my cup of tea but I have to say, you get used to them after some time and I can live with them.

The overall feeling is very positive for me and I can only give this one rating: 4 stars (3,8 to be precise).

Report this review (#164500)
Posted Friday, March 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The debut album (2000) from a progressive metal band coming from Norway which was rerecorded in 2004 with new vocal in 2004. Musically, it's more towards power metal with straight forward arrangements and basically no progressive element at all. But it does not mean a bad album. In fact the composition is quite solid and the overall performance of the musicians involved in this album is excellent. The lead vocal delivered by Nils K. Rue is excellent and it fits with the music.

The album starts with an ambient created through the sounds of keyboard in long sustain fashion in 'Prelude to Paganism' (1:02) followed with raw guitar riffs that remarks the entrance to the next track 'Caught in a Dream' (6:01) followed with double pedal bass drums work typical of power metal music. The title track 'Infinity Divine' (6:12) enters in faster speed with excellent keyboard solo followed with vocal. While 'Embracing Fear' (5:56) starts off with heavy guitar riffs in energetic mode, it's another excellent track. Having been blasted with high energy tracks the album finally slows down with 'Dawning of the Nemesis' (5:09) which represents a nice ballad with excellent vocal job that reminds me to Michael Kiske of Germany's Helloween. 'Moonlight Pact' is another nice ballad.

Overall, this is a good album that will favor power metal fans. The combine double bass pedal drums, bass guitar, electric guitar and drums makes this album worth listening to. Keep on proggin' ?!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#223524)
Posted Sunday, June 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This is the debut of PAGAN'S MIND and they really get off on the right foot here with "Infinity Divine". Having said that their next one "Celestial Entrance" beats this one on every level, it's just that good. I have to say that eighties Prog-Metal just does it for me, and we get a mix of that in this debut along with some Power-Metal rhythms. On top of all that Nils is one of my favourite vocalists.

"Prelude To Paganism" is a short intro of mostly synths and atmosphere. "Caught In A Dream" is next and here we go ! The guitar is buzzing as drums and bass create a heavy undercurrent. It settles in before a minute then the vocals join in. A nice crunchy sound to this one. Check out Nils on the chorus. A ripping guitar solo 4 1/2 minutes in. "Infinity Divine" is uptempo with synths early. Vocals arrive and the tempo will shift slightly throughout. Nice guitar solo after 4 minutes. Synths are back after 5 1/2 minutes. "Embracing Fear" features some guitar that sounds amazing, then the drums take the spotlight. Vocals after 1 1/2 minutes. Riffs are back after 3 minutes. There's that guitar again 4 1/2 minutes in. The guitar is all over "Astral Projection" to start out. Drums and vocals then take over. "Angel's Serenity" sounds so good early with that guitar, drum and bass soundscape. Great intro. Vocals come in then that intro soundscape returns when vocals stop. Nice. Synths and vocals 3 minutes in then it ends as it began.

"Dawning Of The Nemesis" is where they slow it down for the first time really. It's still heavy at times though. Spacey synths 3 1/2 minutes in followed by a beautiful guitar solo. Great track. The crunch is back on the "King's Quest" . Vocals then riffs follow. I like the vocal melodies before 2 minutes. It's cool how the tempo and sound changes slightly throughout this one. Nice guitar 4 1/2 minutes in. "Twilight Arise" hits us with an onslaught of drums as the guitar plays over top. Then the vocals join in. "A New Beginning" opens with some incredible sounding guitar and the drums and bass are powerful. It settles into a heavy soundscape with vocals. It settles right down 3 minutes in. Nice bass. It starts to build 3 1/2 minutes in. Great vocals too. Riffs after 4 minutes. Piano before 5 minutes. What ?! Back to normal after 5 1/2 minutes. Haha.

My kind of music.

Report this review (#253161)
Posted Friday, November 27, 2009 | Review Permalink
jampa17
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars First step towards the infinity

Back in the 2000, there was not the saturation of generic prog metal bands, so this band can't be blamed of been generic when in fact, it was one of the first bands in merging prog metal in the routes of Dream Theater and Fates Warning with the more streight forward and catchy melodies of power metal bands like Stratovarius. Right from the start, this album shows quite well the origins of this great band, and is evident that they have improved with age.

Ten years after the release, the songs sounds inspired and flows well through the catchy melodies and the good amount of heavy guitar riffing as well as some ambience keyboards that gave a fresh edge to the tracks. The talent is there, the songs are good and the concept is great really, it's just that all their next productions were just much more better than this album, so for some this album can be a little low budget or get short in ideas, but in fact is a great album, just don't get start with this if you don't know Pagan's Mind music.

Lovers or prog metal should check this album. Lovers of metal in general as well. Now, for the old school prog lovers, maybe you should start with Enigmatic: Calling, which is their very best release to date. The sound is not the best you can get, but the idea of the band is there and there's a lot going on. Great lead vocal player. You should check this out. 3 stars.

Report this review (#273883)
Posted Wednesday, March 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars Yikes! What is this?! Did I pick up the right album? This isn't the same Pagan's Mind who had that awesome video for 'Through Osiris' Eyes' is it? This isn't the same band who released 'God's Equation" surely?

Oh God... it is.

I was so excited when I finally came around to getting a Pagan's Mind album. I'd heard a few of their songs beforehand and was instantly won over. They have a good reputation amongst the progressive and power metal scenes, and I thought for sure this is a band I would really dig. Sadly for me, my first official venture into the music of Pagan's Mind would come through their debut album, and boy, this album sucks!

It's not that the music is terrible, it's just so uninspired. The riffs are so devoid of any life or emotion. The keyboards seem tacked in to make the music feel more spacey, whilst not really adding anything at all. And the vocals... what happened?! Nils K. Rue is one of my favourite vocalists, but this is horrendous. Whiny, screechy, and again, very uninspired (a recurring theme here), the vocals on this record are just awful. They're very irritating and I don't think there is a single instance where the vocal melody actually suits the music. Or vice versa. As a whole this album is just... "there".

So why the two-star rating then? Because thankfully there is one saving grace to 'Infinity Divine', and that's the closing song, 'A New Beginning'. Sure, the vocals kind of ruin that song too, but damn it if that intro doesn't get heads banging nothing will.

I'm clutching at straws here, but I'll take what I can. Shoddy debut, but better things are coming.

Report this review (#1678050)
Posted Tuesday, January 10, 2017 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars Norway may have been the epicenter for the explosion of black metal in the 90s, but the small nation of only 5.3 million inhabitants has had more than its share of stellar progressive metal bands emerge from within its borders as well. Of course the biggest contenders are Enslaved, Arcturus, Ved Buens Ende and even Leprous but another band that formed in Skien was PAGAN'S MIND who followed in the footsteps of the American band Watchtower and crafted an interesting sound that added plenty of technical wizardry along with the more melodic elements of band's like Dream Theater, early Queensryche and even the power metal bombast of Helloween.

Formed by Nils K. Rue (vocals), Thorstein Aaby (guitars) and Stian Kristoffersen (drums) in the year 2000 from the ashes of Silverspoon, the trio successful scouted the cream of the crop Norwegian metal musicians lurking in those fjords and found J'rn Viggo Lofstad (guitars), Steinar Krokmo (bass) and Ronny Tegner (keyboards) and wasted no time releasing their debut album INFINITY DIVINE which came out in the same year. The album was a success commercially and critically but the band was unhappy with the results and thus a new version emerged in 2004 with certain tracks re-recorded, a new spruced up mixing job and even a couple bonus tracks including a new version of 'Embracing Fear' as well as a killer cover of King Diamond's classic 'At The Graves.'

I have to admit that i am unfamiliar with the original version as i own the 2004 re-release so all comments and my rating is based on that version. Basically PAGAN'S MIND delivers a more technical style of progressive power metal. On the power metal side of the equation, certain tracks clearly bring early Helloween to mind with those classic backbeat drumming techniques and power guitar riffs but some of the slower acoustic parts are more reminiscent of Crimson Glory as well as Nils Rue's powerful vocal performances. There are also moments where he sounds like Geoff Tate in the early US power metal phase of early Queensryche which places him in the top taken category for his wide power range that spans many octaves.

On the progressive metal side of the fence, PAGAN'S MIND clearly did their homework studying Watchtower's two landmark albums from the 80s and while not as angular and jittery, the band borrows some of the thrash riffs as well as some of the jazz-infused compositional elements that give it that advanced musician's feel. Add to that there are clear references to Dream Theater especially in the keyboard department with crazy lightning fast keyboard solos as well as spaced out atmospheric embellishments however even the riffing often reminds me of stylistic approaches on 'Awake.' With all the aforementioned styles, PAGAN'S MIND flawlessly delivers an incessant rampage of high quality prog power metal without missing a beat. The band also delivers a creative mix of riffing styles, drumming patterns and Rue's vocal prowess takes everything to a ridiculously high level of coolness as well as keeping things from stagnating with interesting guitar tones, creative uses of pauses and dynamics.

Not sure about the 2000 version of this but i can highly recommend the 2004 re-release as the production is warm and inviting and the musicianship is as good as it gets without sacrificing any creative juices from flowing. You can think of this as a more accessible form of Watchtower or a proggier mix of Helloween, Queensryche and Crimson Glory but no matter how you slice it, PAGAN'S MIND stands out as one of the more gifted bands in the legion of prog metal bands that emerged after the success of Dream Theater's 90s run. Another reason to hunt down the 2004 version is that the King Diamond cover 'At The Graves' is worth the price of admission alone as it matches and exceeds the fiery passion that the original delivered with extra technicalities introduced without sacrificing the emotional connection of the original. It's good enough to make the King himself bow down in humility. That good.

Report this review (#2273201)
Posted Friday, October 25, 2019 | Review Permalink

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