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Pagan's Mind are one of the best prog bands around today, and this is their newest album to date. Their last release, Celestial Entrance was perfect in every way, so the anticipation for this one ran high on all fronts. This is really more of the same we expected from them, and no less: Bouncy, spacey guitar lines and powerful, earth-smashing drum beats, basslines that cut like knives, and the rich, powerful keyboards layered over everything, all topped with the warbly, nasal, and powerful vocals of Nils K. Rue. They are a bit heavier this time around though, with a much stronger guitar presence, but other than that, this is just what you'd expect from Pagan's Mind, and maybe even more.
While the previous album started off with a short interlude that segued into the first real song, this one starts off with some dark, ominous ambience that slowly builds up into a 7 minute crescendo of prog, mostly midpaced, with pounding rhythms and drum beats, with the obligatory few solos from our prodigy Jorn Viggo Lofstad. Just close your eyes while listening to this song and be transported to whole other galaxies, blasting through time and space with ease. And that starts the album off, setting the stage in a most impressive way for the rest of the tracklist, challenging it to match the sheer brilliance of it, this one opening track.
Enigmatic:Calling is a heavier album than it's predecessor, much more metallic and riffy, and less ornate (but still proggy and complex when need be). There are no 9 minute instrumentals or Dream Theater plagiarisms here, but 11 solid songs full of the same odd, spacey brilliance we've come to expect from this band. The jazz semblances are still hiding there in the shadows, and the production is overall much heavier and somewhat slicker than that of it's predecessor. The songs vary from speedy, vibrant cookers like "Enigmatic Mission", the shredding insanity of "Celestial Calling", and the groovy "Supremacy, Our Kind", to the lone ballad "Search for Life" (which is absolutely amazing, I must add), and the more midpaced, longer numbers like "The Celestine Prophecy" and the liberating, uplifting "The New Order."
While there are certainly no bad songs here, I do find that some of them tend to blend together a bit. Songs like "Entrance to Infinity" and "Taken" are certainly great Pagan's Mind songs, yet they just don't have the memorable hooks or choruses of the other songs here, and you actually have to look and check to make sure of which song is playing when one of them comes on. There are also several power metallish instrumental pieces spiced in that are quite cool, but could've been expanded into actual songs, what with the extremely catchy melodies they're stuffed chock full of, for extra effect. It's not that big of an issue, but it's worth mentioning.
Overall, I'd say Pagan's Mind has solidified their place as one of the leaders in the prog genre by now, and certainly any fan of the genre would do well to buy this or either of their other two albums. They apparently have a new album coming out this year, so that'll be something to look forward to. Highly recommended.