Pagan's Mind - Celestial Entrance

Year of Release: 2002
Label: Limb Music Products
Catalog Number: LMP 0211-046
Format: CD
Total Time: 71:42:00

Pagan?s Mind has released what I consider to be the finest melodic, progressive metal disc of 2002 in Celestial Entrance. From the opening notes of the intro "Approaching," there is not a doubt as to how classy this band is, and the listening pleasure that is to come following. Released in November, it pretty much took the progressive metal world by storm, especially considering their debut release Infinity Divine didn't receive nearly the compliments and reception that Celestial did. In addition, the band has obviously set out to make sure that their next disc was a winner, and kicked up their performance and style several notches this time out.

The band's sound is a combination of power metal meeting the progressive elements of Dream Theater, with the classy melodic metal approach of Crimson Glory's Transcendence. That alone should send out smoke signals to the most avid progressive metal fan that this is truly a monster of a disc. Not many bands could be so bold as to take those forces and actually pull it off. Pagan's Mind has no problem with this, and takes power, progressive metal, and melodies to another level. Bear in mind that I will use the word "melodies" many times in this review, as I feel that Pagan's Mind has cornered the market on melody without having to sacrifice any power to do so.

How the band accomplishes this is simple: each instrument has a separate part to play, each a separate entity that has two missions; to be powerful and to be melodic. It would be hard to single out which instrument makes the lead statement in this music because of this approach. Even the singer, Nils Rue is actually an instrument used to achieve this goal. The guitars are solid, crunchy, heavy, and it is not hard to hear that the guitarists are a fan of John Petrucci. The keyboards play an important part as well, actually complementing the guitar, trading off solos and accenting the power with atmospheric sounds, synths, and strings. The bass is solid, and can be easily heard amongst the heavily orchestrated music. When you hear the drumming, you get the feeling that the guy is out to create a melodic drum beat if that is possible. The music ranges from mid-paced, crunching, steady-beat tunes, to all out progressive madness as experienced on the "Back To The Magic Of Childhood" 12:00 instrumental, in which we are certainly treated to the talent of this band. The band even pays homage to Dream Theater, as heard on "The Prophecy Of Pleiades," in which riffs and lyrics are pulled right from DT's "Learning To Live" in honor of that band (as stated by the band).

Vocalist Nils K. Rue leads the way on this magical progressive journey with his soaring, high pitched, ultra-melodic singing style. His style and sound is a cross between Geoff Tate, Midnight, and Tom Malicoat (Lethal), without imitating anyone. He can sing in a soft tone, almost whispering the words, he can sing in a normal, melodic tone, or he can reach into the stratosphere very easily as heard on many of the tracks. On many tracks, his voice is processed with many affects, and he can be heard even growling on a couple of tracks, very effectively. Of course, the vocal melodies are among the warmest and most powerful I've heard in a long while; it seems as though this band is totally driven to melodic perfection with each instrument, including the vocals.

Production is top notch - which even adds another level of class to the disc. In all honesty, I find it difficult to believe that anyone would let a disc this good musically fall to a less than stellar sound. Produced by the band and Frederik Nordstrom, the sound is recorded as the equivalent to the title of the disc, Celestial. With a clean, crisp, precise sound, the disc transports us musically and sonically to the outer galaxies that Pagan's Mind writes of. Pounding drums, tight / clean bass, crunching guitars, atmospheric keyboards, and the soaring vocals of Nils K Rue injected with galaxian sound affects make this disc pure sonic boom and pleasure.

From the classy artwork, to the classy song structures, to the incredible vocal melodies, this disc has everything a progressive metal fan craves and loves. This band has unknowingly unleashed an incredible disc upon us, bringing us back to the glory days of Dream Theater and Crimson Glory without copying, yet giving us an exciting look into what bands can do in today's progressive metal world. If you're looking for top notch melodic progressive metal, with top notch musicians, look no further than Pagan's Mind.

Celestial Entrance has all the ingredients for the most avid progressive metal fan, heavy enough for true metal heads, progressive enough for the complicated in mind, and melodic enough for those who like to keep warm during their progressive metal feasting.

In a word, essential.

[On July 24, 2007 Thorstein Aaby passed away after a long illness; he was 35 -ed.]

Approaching (2:48) / Through Osiris Eyes (6:09) / Entrance: Stargate (6:01) / Of Epic Questions (6:10) / Dimensions Of Fire (7:29) / Dreamscape Lucidity (6:40) / The Seven Sacred Promises (6:29) / Back To The Magic Of Childhood: Part 1 - Conception (2:46) / Part 2 - Exploring Life (9:18) / In Brilliant White Light (2:45) / Aegean Shores (5:14) / The Prophecy Of Pleiades (9:53)

Stian Kristoffersen - drums
Steinar Krokmo - bass
Ronny Tegner - keyboards
Thorstein Aaby - guitars
Jorn Viggo Lofstad - guitars
Nils K. Rue - vocals

Infinity Divine (2000/2004)
Celestial Entrance (2002)
Enigmatic: Calling (2005)
God's Equation (2007)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin NO

Added: March 8th 2003
Reviewer: Larry "LarryD" Daglieri
Artist website:
Hits: 930
Language: english


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