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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Pagan’s Mind

Heavenly Ecstasy

Review by Gary Hill

Much to the chagrin of many progressive rock purists, a style of prog has emerged that sits on the fence between progressive rock and heavy metal. This album and band certainly are part of that movement. Personally, I figure they land closer to the prog end of the spectrum most of the time, but I could see some putting them in as heavy metal. However you slice things, though, this is a compelling disc that shows a lot of talent. It has a tendency, though, to wander a bit far towards a monolithic nature. Still, it seems the band sense the need to change things up and do so when necessary. Just when it seems to be rather repetitive and trite, they throw a curve ball in to keep it interesting. This is quite a strong release, but not truly great. Of course, very good is still very good!

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Contact

Here we get a brief introduction that’s partly keyboards, partly sound effects and all tasty atmosphere.

Eyes of Fire
Coming out of the previous tune, this one fires out with some killer crunchy progressive rock. It’s energized and smoking hot. A killer instrumental section emerges around the three and a half minute mark. At times this cut works very close to the heavy metal line, but they work enough changes and differing movements into this to keep it on the progressive rock side of the equation.
Intermission
The general musical concept isn’t dramatically altered here, but this lies closer overall to the heavy metal side. There are a few sections here that arguably cross that line.
Into The Aftermath
They bring this one in decidedly metal in nature. In fact, with the screaming vocals and pounding musical element, there is some progressive rock here, but overall this piece is pretty purely heavy metal.
Walk Away In Silence
Coming in metallic, this works out to more melodic, progressive rock oriented territory after a while. It’s a cool tune.
Revelation To The End
This number falls in at eight and a half minutes in length. They use that extra running time to create plenty of contrast and drama in this number. It works to more pure metal, with extreme metal vocals at times. Still, other sections are melodic, crunchy modern progressive rock.
Follow Your Way
Nothing is dramatically changed here. Instead, these guys take it through a mostly melodic romp that sits pretty firmly between progressive rock and heavy metal. It’s a good tune, but in some ways the formula is beginning to wear a bit thin.
Live Your Life Like A Dream
Perhaps the band sensed that the disc was starting to feel a bit too predictable. They change things up here with a number that is dominated by the keyboards through much of its length. This starts as a ballad, but grows out to some crunchy progressive rock that lands firmly into that end of the equation. There’s a tasty guitar solo in the middle of this number that feels a bit like something from Pink Floyd, at least at first when it’s got a mellower backdrop. Then it works out to something closer to Joe Satriani.
The Master's Voice
Percussion leads this out in frantic patterns. Then the instruments join in a very metallic progression. That drops back down for a stripped down, moody progressive rock arrangement. Later this moves out to a jam that’s kind of like a metal version of Queen. It alternates between those sections as it continues. There is a cool keyboard dominated movement later. A cool melodic jam further down the road is a great bit of variety just when the disc was starting to feel monolithic again.
When Angels Unite
Once again, they interject some variety when it’s most needed. This is a pretty ballad that’s based purely on keyboards and vocals. It’s short, but a well needed change of pace.
Never Walk Alone
A more purely progressive rock number, this one is also a change of pace. It’s a highlight of the set, too. Yes, there is still metal built into this, but it’s closer to something from Dream Theater than any real metallic music. The keyboard dominated instrumental section is killer. There is also a tasty melodic, mellower movement later in the piece.
 
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