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Pagan’s Mind – Full Circle Live at Center Stage

Label: Steamhammer
Format: CD/DVD
Released: 2015
Reviewed By: Rich Catino
Rating: 10/ 10


Pagan’s Mind are one of those unsung gems amongst the progressive metal bands. With fifteen years and five studio albums under their belt, it was about time they did perform the album “Celestial Entrance” in its entirety for DVD. And what better place than at the ProgPower festival in Atlanta, Georgia, the ONLY festival in America and the leaders of the crusade for opening the door to all the great European bands on this coast. With no bells and whistles, just the band and a backdrop, this show is just well shot with a sharp clean picture, well recorded and mixed audio, and without the rapid fire cuts too many concerts today incorporate. With this performance each shot is a few seconds or more, switching between close ups and wides.

 

Opening intro ‘Approaching’ is unlike many other instrumentals, built around a melody incorporated into the followup track, using the musician’s abilities to constructing a piece that is not for the sheer demonstration of acrobatics, but a song in itself. Second soundscape in the set, ‘Through Osiris’ Eyes’, the voice of Nils K. Rue (who appeared on the Norwegian version of "The Voice") graces the stage with his big and bold unique textured voice, maintaining a consistent melodic strong delivery, reaching highs and lows. Throughout the course of the twelve tracks, Pagan’s mind expertly combine progressive structures around a catchy singable chorus, many times based in AOR hard rock. Each song avoids too much musicality which often creates large pockets of boredom for many prog metal tunes. Just as one example, see ‘Dimensions of Fire’, as a catchy metal riff switches to keyboard based verses into the chorus, then back to the headbanging guitars for the ride out. Or, ‘Dreamscape Lucidity’, which combines power metal energy of a (ironically) Stratovarius arrangement with Pagan’s creativity. Earthy new age keys and guitar begin the two part sweeping landscape for ‘Back To The Magic Of Childhood I&II’, which includes an incredible jam section between all musicians, not too long or short, which shows there abilities and writing style. ‘In Brilliant White Light’ gives the stage to Niles for two minutes before segueing into’ Aegean Shores’.

Set two includes two from “Enigmatic : Calling”, three from “God’s Equation” including the cover of David Bowie’s ‘Hallo Spaceboy’ which comes across better live, and so do the others from this more industrial album. “Heavenly Ecstasy”, represented by four, but with a sixteen minute instrumental, ‘Full Circle’ that only includes a snippet of the song ‘Embracing Fear’ (05:03 - 06:12 mid and solo part), why nothing else from the first album? Like ‘A New Beginning’? Got a few good tunes on that one.

 
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