Rating:
8.8
Pagan's Mind - Heavenly Ecstasy
20 May 2011


01. Contact
02. Eyes Of Fire
03. Intermission
04. Into The Aftermath
05. Walk Away In Silence
06. Revelation To The End
07. Follow Your Way
08. Live Your Life Like A Dream
09. The Master's Voice
10. Never Walk Alone
11. When Angels Unite
12. Create Your Destiny [limited edition bonus]
13. Power Of Mindscape [limited edition bonus]


Most acclaimed bands have moved away from power metal, either by simplifying their music and turning to hard rock, or by making their albums darker and more in the heavy metal or prog realm. I hate dividing music into "oldies" and "new stuff", but in this sub-genre, the cliché is true - new bands have turned it into a parody of itself - so dog-whistle vocals, guitar riffs and keyboard passages frillier than Rococo dresses are considered good examples of power metal. Since Pagan's Mind clearly show that it's possible to release power metal albums of very good quality in 2011, this is certainly a wake-up call to the rest of the flock to get their act together and release material at least a point lower, or on par with Heavenly Ecstasy.

I must admit that a superficial acquaintance with God's Equation was my only experience with this band before 2011, but it appeared to me that Heavenly Ecstasy is heavier than its predecessor. Pagan's Mind certainly know their licks, so I shall probably check out the rest of their back catalog, but it will surprise me if I come across an album better than this.

Why am I praising it so much? Its main quality for sure is that it doesn't forsake heaviness, it endorses it - the riffs on "Into The Aftermath" and "The Master's Voice" are awesome examples of how to make heavy riffs in the 21st century that aren't ripped off from 80's thrash or heavy metal. There's nothing wrong with overly melodic traditional metal releases, but I sometimes wonder where has all the denim and leather gone. Pagan's Mind has it in spades, drenched with the sweat of metalheads coming back from an awesome gig.

Along with all that metalhead sweat comes the perfumed scent of their lady-friends - well, us girls don't exactly smell of flowers after a gig, but you catch my drift. The band isn't afraid to offer shamelessly catchy hooks, sometimes resembling 80's rock and pop. For example, "Live Your Life Like A Dream" even has a line of lyrics taken from the great early 90's radio hit, "Black Velvet" - bonus points if you find it on the first listen without looking at the lyrics! But that's not the only external influence on this release - there's a lot of prog mixed up in here, mostly in terms of atmosphere and the feel that sometimes resembles that of early Dream Theater and Queensrÿche albums. Some lines with rasped vocals even remind me of select Children Of Bodom moments, but that's probably just me.

Wrap this up with awesome solos, a professional and charismatic vocalist and a production worthy of the overall quality of the release and you have the best power metal album of the year. I hope this will inspire other bands to kick the quality of their future releases up a notch, for Heavenly Ecstasy has certainly raised the bar high.

Performance: 10
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 9


Band profile: Pagan's Mind
Album: Heavenly Ecstasy


 



Written on 07.12.2011 by
Milena
A part of the team since December 2011, writes about the progressive, the sad and the melodic. She's nice until she's not.
More reviews by Milena ››

Guest review by
Mountain King

Rating:
8.2
We are looking at the 5th studio release from my favorite Norwegian metal band, Pagan's Mind. After countless listens I'm completely convinced that Heavenly Ecstasy is my second favorite Pagan's Mind album; it just falls short of Celestial Entrance. The song titles look promising and the cover is a fresh change from the previous blue color that dominated the album art of its predecessors.

Read more ››
published 07.10.2011 | Comments (6)



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Troy Killjoy - 07.12.2011 at 01:25  
I've yet to come across a power metal album I enjoy, but your review intrigued me. I'll check out a song or two on Youtube when I have the time tonight and see what's up.
Milena - 07.12.2011 at 01:30  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 07.12.2011 at 01:25

I've yet to come across a power metal album I enjoy, but your review intrigued me. I'll check out a song or two on Youtube when I have the time tonight and see what's up.

A lot of people seem to adore it. And it is awesome, though I doubt you'd like it. What power metal have you heard so far anyway?
Susan - 07.12.2011 at 01:32  
Yay I'm so glad you reviewed this!! Excellent review. It's one of my top albums of the year. 2nd best power metal release after Shadowside.

You're so right about the "prog atmosphere" that comes and goes here. I hadn't even thought of it that way but that is probably a huge part of what sets them apart. And yes, the licks and riffs are something special and the band isn't afraid to mix in melody and/or heaviness when appropriate. Power metal bands should really listen to this album and remind themselves how it's done.

Seriously, this album saved power metal for me this year. It was the first really wonderful disc I heard after a year of so much mediocrity; few are living up to it!

"but I sometimes wonder where has all the denim and leather gone." you are a wonderful human being
Troy Killjoy - 07.12.2011 at 01:33  
Written by Milena on 07.12.2011 at 01:30
A lot of people seem to adore it. And it is awesome, though I doubt you'd like it. What power metal have you heard so far anyway?

This year? None. Satan's Host is probably the closest I got to power metal. :/

But I remember listening to Blind Guardian's early works, checked out Jag Panzer's back catalog after receiving the SH request (didn't realize Jag had a new album out), some early Iced Earth... Not a fan by any means based on what I heard, but I can understand what people like about it.
Susan - 07.12.2011 at 01:33  
Written by Milena on 07.12.2011 at 01:30

Written by Troy Killjoy on 07.12.2011 at 01:25

I've yet to come across a power metal album I enjoy, but your review intrigued me. I'll check out a song or two on Youtube when I have the time tonight and see what's up.

A lot of people seem to adore it. And it is awesome, though I doubt you'd like it. What power metal have you heard so far anyway?


Yeah, Troy. *I* staff picked it so of course you should listen
Troy Killjoy - 07.12.2011 at 01:36  
Written by Susan on 07.12.2011 at 01:33
Yeah, Troy. *I* staff picked it so of course you should listen

Consider my interest demolished piqued.
Susan - 07.12.2011 at 01:36  
Right.. since our tastes are soooo damn similar.
Milena - 07.12.2011 at 01:37  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 07.12.2011 at 01:33

This year? None. Satan's Host is probably the closest I got to power metal. :/

But I remember listening to Blind Guardian's early works, checked out Jag Panzer's back catalog after receiving the SH request (didn't realize Jag had a new album out), some early Iced Earth... Not a fan by any means based on what I heard, but I can understand what people like about it.

Kamelot (2000-2005 for pure power and some symph) and Lost Horizon are probably the best power metal bands ever... if you don't get into those, you can pretty much quit trying as long as I'm concerned, though I've heard a great big number of pm bands before I found SOME I like. Sonata Arctica is my favorite, but I know you'd dislike 'em.
Troy Killjoy - 07.12.2011 at 01:41  
Written by Milena on 07.12.2011 at 01:37
Kamelot (2000-2005 for pure power and some symph) and Lost Horizon are probably the best power metal bands ever...

Well I won't check them out before this album, because if what you say is true and I listen to those then by comparison this will be garbage.
Milena - 07.12.2011 at 01:42  
Written by Susan on 07.12.2011 at 01:32

You're so right about the "prog atmosphere" that comes and goes here. I hadn't even thought of it that way but that is probably a huge part of what sets them apart.

At some moments I feel transported to 90's DT, as if someone grabbed me and shoved me into it. Then I'm back. Pretty weird shit, not by any means unoriginal or an homage but they just achieve that atmosphere sometimes.
Disclaimer: If anyone would like to try this but hates DT, don't worry, you probably won't notice or be bothered by this! It fits pretty neatly.

Written by Troy Killjoy on 07.12.2011 at 01:41

Well I won't check them out before this album, because if what you say is true and I listen to those then by comparison this will be garbage.

A couple of months after first hearing Lost Horizon, I couldn't bring myself to hear another power metal album... never has so much cheese been justified with so much awesomeness and powahhhhh! And the best power metal vocalist ever is there ofc (if we only talk of voice, Roy Khan and Tony Kakko come in front of him for charisma and not being douches).
Ag Fox - 07.12.2011 at 01:55  
Wow... what an exciting review!
even though I have heard the album already and liked it a lot. (Definitely my power metal album of choice for the year for now)
then again, I disagree about Lost Horizon being that good... but that's off topic already =P
Milena - 07.12.2011 at 02:16  
Written by Ag Fox on 07.12.2011 at 01:55

then again, I disagree about Lost Horizon being that good... but that's off topic already =P

Lost Horizon's music IS empowering in it's core - you listen to their absurd lyrics while you actually feel that way. I get that it's not your cup of tea, but it wasn't mine either, believe me.
Ag Fox - 07.12.2011 at 02:19  
I seldom pay attention to lyrics, perhaps that's why lol
vocals is just another instrument to me most times
PowerThrash - 07.12.2011 at 05:56  
Good review, but I wish they would go back to their more progressive roots... Celestial Entrance is their masterpiece IMO.
Milena - 07.12.2011 at 10:04  
Written by PowerThrash on 07.12.2011 at 05:56

Good review, but I wish they would go back to their more progressive roots... Celestial Entrance is their masterpiece IMO.

Well there's a bunch of awesome prog albums this year, so maybe you should focus on those instead

Written by Ag Fox on 07.12.2011 at 02:19

I seldom pay attention to lyrics, perhaps that's why lol
vocals is just another instrument to me most times

If it's "just an instrument", that makes you the first person I've heard of that isn't utterly impressed by Daniel Heiman's singing hats off sir, you're a unique snowflake, as I so often am... For I can't figure out what's so good about Hansi and Kai and that bunch of people at all.
Merchant of Doom - 07.12.2011 at 12:18  
I preferred them when they exhibited their proggy side... the new one is "heavy metal" for kids...
Milena - 07.12.2011 at 12:58  
Written by Merchant of Doom on 07.12.2011 at 12:18

I preferred them when they exhibited their proggy side... the new one is "heavy metal" for kids...

Again, there's a lot of prog releases this year to satisfy your kicks nicely. And as you may see, there are quite a few "adult" metalheads who adore this release, so probably you've just listened to one too many albums that didn't suit your taste.
Merchant of Doom - 07.12.2011 at 13:06  
Written by Milena on 07.12.2011 at 12:58

Written by Merchant of Doom on 07.12.2011 at 12:18

I preferred them when they exhibited their proggy side... the new one is "heavy metal" for kids...

Again, there's a lot of prog releases this year to satisfy your kicks nicely. And as you may see, there are quite a few "adult" metalheads who adore this release, so probably you've just listened to one too many albums that didn't suit your taste.


yes, I know, taste... it's a bit of a tired argument, though. We are not talking about extreme metal releases which might, or might not, suite some tastes, we are talking about a very simple form of metal, which - to me - is the equivalent of listening to Britney Spears...
!J.O.O.E.! - 07.12.2011 at 13:12  
Written by Merchant of Doom on 07.12.2011 at 13:06


yes, I know, taste... it's a bit of a tired argument, though. We are not talking about extreme metal releases which might, or might not, suite some tastes, we are talking about a very simple form of metal, which - to me - is the equivalent of listening to Britney Spears...

Britney Spears' first two album are great so watch yer tongue, heathen.
Merchant of Doom - 07.12.2011 at 13:17  
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 07.12.2011 at 13:12

Written by Merchant of Doom on 07.12.2011 at 13:06


yes, I know, taste... it's a bit of a tired argument, though. We are not talking about extreme metal releases which might, or might not, suite some tastes, we are talking about a very simple form of metal, which - to me - is the equivalent of listening to Britney Spears...

Britney Spears' first two album are great so watch yer tongue, heathen.


nah, always been a Madonna fan, me!
!J.O.O.E.! - 07.12.2011 at 13:18  
Written by Merchant of Doom on 07.12.2011 at 13:17


nah, always been a Madonna fan, me!

She had a good few songs here and there...
Milena - 07.12.2011 at 13:34  
Written by Merchant of Doom on 07.12.2011 at 13:06

We are not talking about extreme metal releases which might, or might not, suite some tastes, we are talking about a very simple form of metal, which - to me - is the equivalent of listening to Britney Spears...

Actually, there's quite a lot of people who have "outgrown" these simple types of metal and who are bored by them. Maybe this is a sign you are as well, who knows
Merchant of Doom - 07.12.2011 at 13:43  
Written by Milena on 07.12.2011 at 13:34

Written by Merchant of Doom on 07.12.2011 at 13:06

We are not talking about extreme metal releases which might, or might not, suite some tastes, we are talking about a very simple form of metal, which - to me - is the equivalent of listening to Britney Spears...

Actually, there's quite a lot of people who have "outgrown" these simple types of metal and who are bored by them. Maybe this is a sign you are as well, who knows


yes, I'm sure, and what does that tell you?
Milena - 07.12.2011 at 13:49  
Written by Merchant of Doom on 07.12.2011 at 13:43

yes, I'm sure, and what does that tell you?

It tells me that you should probably stop listening to releases like these and leave 'em to us who still haven't gotten tired of basic metal, perhaps?
Merchant of Doom - 07.12.2011 at 14:35  
Written by Milena on 07.12.2011 at 13:49

Written by Merchant of Doom on 07.12.2011 at 13:43

yes, I'm sure, and what does that tell you?

It tells me that you should probably stop listening to releases like these and leave 'em to us who still haven't gotten tired of basic metal, perhaps?



no, it should tell you that the reason why people have stopped listening to this type of basic metal is because it's not very good...
GT - 07.12.2011 at 14:45  
A very good review and nice to see it finally reviewed officially. I remember the first time I listened to it; my first thought was "that album title is spot on". My favourite power metal album this year for sure and the best album from Pagan's Mind that I've listened to so far.
Milena - 07.12.2011 at 14:49  
Written by Merchant of Doom on 07.12.2011 at 14:35

no, it should tell you that the reason why people have stopped listening to this type of basic metal is because it's not very good...

I didn't say all people stopped listening to "heavy metal for kids".It might be "under" you, but there's a lot of us who like to keep in touch with the roots, in order not to forget what brought us all here. I get it, people get bored of certain things, but this is something that should unite at least most of us.

Unlike a lot of kids in my generation, who got into metal through Nightwish-Evanescence-HIM/Korn-Slipknot, I got introduced to metal starting slowly from classic rock to Dio's Sabbath and Maiden. Yes, I do listen to a lot of "serious" stuff now, but I wouldn't disrespect heavy metal, calling it a "genre for kids", nor would I disrespect good power metal that is SO rare to find these days.

We should cherish the good releases that don't come from bleak, doomy, proggy or extreme realms instead of bashing them, because they come rare and far apart.

As we clearly disagree, we should end this discussion for it will lead nowhere
demonsarising - 07.12.2011 at 16:15  
Good review, and you really should check out some of their other stuff. I personally felt that Heavenly Ecstasy was a step down from God's Equation, but your review was very honest. Great job!
Merchant of Doom - 07.12.2011 at 16:18  
Written by Milena on 07.12.2011 at 14:49


As we clearly disagree, we should end this discussion for it will lead nowhere


we agree on this...
EmeraldSword - 08.12.2011 at 01:05  
Written by PowerThrash on 07.12.2011 at 05:56

Good review, but I wish they would go back to their more progressive roots... Celestial Entrance is their masterpiece IMO.


This says it all. I enjoyed the production value to the album, but to me was a bit watered down from previous releases and needed a jolt of coffee. Prog < Power Metal? I guess we'll have to wait and see how the band takes the new direction moving forward.
Slinky666 - 08.12.2011 at 04:27  
What's in Pagan's Mind? Rock-star music!

So much more interesting than a Christian's Mind, which could be something like
JÄY - 10.12.2011 at 07:20  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 07.12.2011 at 01:25

I've yet to come across a power metal album I enjoy, but your review intrigued me. I'll check out a song or two on Youtube when I have the time tonight and see what's up.

I've noticed a few times that you're trying to get into power metal....please don't start here. Not that it's bad, but It's too much of a leap from what you're liking now. It's like being a power-only-fan and starting your doom journey with Ahab (or probably something more brutal). Baby steps, ya know? This shit is cheesy. Try Pharoah's The Longest Night.
K†ulu - 16.12.2011 at 11:28  
I commend your writing. Such a well-composed review. Maybe I will even check this one out.
Milena - 16.12.2011 at 11:37  
Written by K†ulu on 16.12.2011 at 11:28

I commend your writing. Such a well-composed review. Maybe I will even check this one out.

Why thank you. I figure you'll probably like this, we've exchanged messages before and your opinions on bands often matched mine, or so I remember, so you'll have no problem, really
Mountain King - 03.01.2012 at 18:48  
It's wierd no one mentioned Keeper Of The Seven Keys to get in touch with great Power Metal. Or Visions by Stratovarius or the Metal Opera I by Avantasia. I mean who doesn't like these albums has got someth wrong seriously...
Milena - 22.01.2012 at 03:04  
Written by Mountain King on 03.01.2012 at 18:48

It's wierd no one mentioned Keeper Of The Seven Keys to get in touch with great Power Metal. Or Visions by Stratovarius or the Metal Opera I by Avantasia. I mean who doesn't like these albums has got someth wrong seriously...

Out of all three I like a half of Visions. So that means it's a wonder how I like some power metal at all?
Mountain King - 22.01.2012 at 03:16  
Written by Milena on 22.01.2012 at 03:04

Written by Mountain King on 03.01.2012 at 18:48

It's wierd no one mentioned Keeper Of The Seven Keys to get in touch with great Power Metal. Or Visions by Stratovarius or the Metal Opera I by Avantasia. I mean who doesn't like these albums has got someth wrong seriously...

Out of all three I like a half of Visions. So that means it's a wonder how I like some power metal at all?

Definitely lol...

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