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Stratovarius/ Pagan’s Mind

Venue: Nokia Theater, New York
Date: 9/16/09
Reviewed By: Rich Catino

Pagan's Mind

Norwegian progressive metallers Pagan’s Mind are one of my favorite new bands to emerge within the past 10 years and I was very looking forward to finally seeing them. Their second album "Celestrial Entrance" is just a perfect combination of the power and progressive metal genres.

Pagan’s have played the States twice before at the ProgPower festival in Atlanta, but never New York until now. With four excellent albums and a forthcoming DVD "Live Equation" in 2009, singer Nils Rue and co. hit the stage to an attentive audience that was well aware of their existence. Pagan’s style can be described as aggressive prog metal. Guitar riffs and driving drums carry each song, keyboards add complimenting melodies and themes, and Nils is just one of the strongest voices to be heard. His voice is able to be edgy with clarity and an even melodic tone. Just excellent on soaring melodies for a song like ‘Through Osiris’ Eyes’ from what I think is their strongest album so far, "Celestrial Entrance". Aside from ‘Enigmatic Mission’ from the third album "Enigmatic: Calling", the rest of the set was heavy on material from the latest album "God's Equation" with a total of five including a cover of David Bowie’s ‘Hallo Spaceboy’.

Great show guys, I look forward to your return!

Pagan’s Mind Setlist:

God's Equation
United Alliance
Atomic Firelight
Through Osiris' Eyes
Enigmatic Mission
Hallo Spaceboy
Alien Kamikaze



After a couple years of turmoil with former guitarist Timo Tolkki, followed by a regrouping with the classic lineup of singer Timo Kotipelto, keyboardist Jens Johansson, and Jorg Michael on drums, Stratovarius return in '09 to the U.S. with a new album "Polaris" and finally get to play on a big stage in New York city. Good for them! It’s a shame, really, that a band with such a long history and so much respected music has to wait 20 years to play in a larger venue in NYC. Well…better late than never.

Opening with a one-two punch, the epic rocker/ballad ‘Destiny’ was followed by other classics ‘Hunting High and Low’ with ‘Speed of Light’ (off the album "Episode") and ‘Kiss of Judas’ from "Visions" keeping the crowd’s energy high. "Polaris" was spotlighted by three songs, Matias guitar and Lauri’s bass solos lead into ‘Forever is Today’, and Jen’s keyboards gave the ballad ‘Winter Skies’ a classy Jon Oliva (Savatage) feel. Kotipelto spends a lot of time running around the stage like Bruce Dickinson from Iron Maiden as he rallied the people into crowd participation and claps for ‘Phoenix’. Matias Kupiainen had some big shoes to fill and it took a few songs to get into the pocket but it really all came together for ‘Twilight Symphony’ which he played flawlessly, as with the entire band. Nice job! I’m assuming due to time the ballad ‘Forever’ was omitted which never happens. Still, I am waiting to hear something from at least one of the first three Stratovarius albums when Timo Tolkki sang.

Stratovarius Setlist:

Hunting High and Low
Speed of Light
Kiss Of Judas
Deep Unknown
A Million Light Years Away
Winter Skies
Bass/Guitar Solos
Forever Is Today
Twilight Symphony
Father Time
Black Diamond

Pagan's Mind:


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