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The Most Diverse and Catchiest Pagan's Mind - 97%

epicandrew, August 25th, 2011

On Enigmatic: Calling, Pagan's Mind had really created their defining sound, one that revealed a much more heavy sound to their albums. A new "Heavenly Force", if you will. On God's Equation, the guys decided to take their sound to an even heavier realm, a realm that proved to be most unpopular. However, in my opinion, they created their masterpiece album and greatest work to date.

The album starts off with a soothing tone set by "The Conception", but shortly after hits you with a massive force that is the title track of the album, "God's Equation". This song has everything that this album is all about: heavy riffs, melodic and extremely catchy choruses, and impressive guitar work, yet still retains a heavy progressive element. The album continues on with songs that will please any fan of progressive metal, heavy riffing, or amazing lyrical and vocal talents via Nils K. Rue.

This tone keeps going until we approach the extremely skippable David Bowie cover track, "Hallo Spaceboy". While I admit they do the cover justice, I feel as if the song should have been placed at the end of the disc as it really seems to throw you off. I usually skip this track.

The last half of the album is definitely the weaker half of the album. Tracks like "Alien Kamikaze" and "Osiris' Triumphant Return" are still enjoyable, but are the obvious weaker tracks on the album.

There isn't enough I can say about the instrumentation of this album. The guitar solos are by far their best work to date. The guitar riffs also allow Nils's voice to really shine. His vocal melodies have never been stronger. The drums are effective and very in your face. Stian Kristoffersen is definitely not holding back anything on this album (as he did on the subsequent album "Heavenly Ecstasy".)

Overall, I believe the album is extremely catchy. These songs WILL get stuck in your head and you'll wanna sing along. Those kinds of albums are my favorites. These songs are, in my opinion, the most memorable of Pagan's Mind's career.

Oh grow up you drama queens. - 91%

hells_unicorn, January 17th, 2011

I have found myself in an all too familiar position once again, denouncing the majority of voices in the critical field of metal. This is almost akin to what I experienced when reading all of the glowing reviews of “St. Anger” and then proceeding to actually listen to it, except in this case it’s in the opposite respect. I don’t know what album everyone that I read 3 years ago was listening to, but it sure as hell wasn’t the one I heard when I popped in my newly acquired used copy of “God’s Equation” a week ago. And for the general information of anyone who is curious, I elected to forgo getting this album new when it came out based on the reviewers who got it dead wrong yet again.

To state the obvious, Pagan’s Mind plays a rather brilliant hybrid of melodic and hopelessly catchy power metal with a somewhat humbler variant on the technically indulgent take on progressive metal found in Dream Theater. The unique quirk of this band is that in addition to writing lyrics about interstellar phenomena, their unique mix of spacey guitar tones and nebulous synthesizer landscapes literally sound like a voyage across the cosmos. Technical precision and tightness are a key element in bridging the gap between the through-composed tendency of 7 minute plus progressive epics and accessible songwriting, and this has been an area where this band stands above most. This is clearly displayed throughout their small, but far from modest discography.

If there is any divide between “God’s Equation” and past work, it is found in the fast and frenetic character that dominates much of the album, hearkening back to the most agitated aspects of “Infinity Divine” with a slightly heavier character. Jorn Lofstad is slightly more restrained in the lead guitar department, but still in top form when he cuts lose, and tends to go for a more riff happy rhythm approach. The real person that seems to be commanding the album is Nils Rue, who has always offered a chillingly powerful rendition of Geoff Tate meets Ray Adler, but throws about twice the emotional intensity on here and occasionally goes slightly overboard on the dramatics. But it all fits together nicely since the whole album is geared towards a much more aggressive character, not to mention one that showcases the guitar work in a more dominant part in the mix and the keyboards slightly downplayed.

From song to song, this album is a consistent exercise in astronomical extravagance, although it’s more in the mode of an intergalactic armada heading off to war rather than an epic quest into the secrets of the universe. When things go long, in stark contrast to “Enigmatic: The Calling”, the band doesn’t coast along and dwell for several minutes on serene atmospherics, but continually revisits what any black blooded fan of metal wants, hard hitting poundage from all angles. “God’s Equation” and “Osiris’ Triumphant Return” both exemplify this multifaceted, yet mostly rock solid approach to quick development rather than slow progression. It’s hard to decide which one is the better song, although the latter definitely has the edge in terms of technical elements and number of ideas. Likewise, “Atomic Firelight” and “Alien Kamikaze” show a band that is giving a go at mixing in some more extreme metallic elements, particularly from the thrash and industrial side of the spectrum, while still maintaining that progressive rock tendency in the midst of all the punishingly heavy riffs and harsh vocal interchanges.

Contrary to the general sentiments of the Pagan’s Mind fan boy crowd, who have for some odd reason panned this as some sort of failure, this is actually slightly better than their last album and just a tinge behind their first two. I can’t help but feel cheated out of 3 years of enjoying this album thanks to my heeding what turned out to be erratic PMS fits on the part of most web-zine writers when they reviewed this, but I am content to have at least managed to pick it up since and be reminded once again why listening to critics is not always the best idea, especially when a great band like this is involved. If you’ve not gotten this album yet, or find yourself not liking it, just make sure it wasn’t because somebody else’s desire to hear the exact same album as the previous 3 told you so.

Originally submitted to (www.metal-observer.com) on January 17, 2011.

lol very funny guys - 64%

Empyreal, April 2nd, 2008

I don't think I've ever witnessed a band metaphorically shooting themselves in the collective foot like this; not to this level. Pagan's Mind were on top of their game with 2005's Enigmatic : Calling, which, while not progressing very far from the sound the band had crafted over the years, was a stunning refinement of that style, boasting a commendable improvement in almost every area - a gestalt of complex and memorable songwriting. I have no idea what happened to them after that, but apparently the fame got to their heads, as their newest effort God's Equation is nothing short of mediocre.

I don't hate this album, but at the same time, I can't help myself in beating it up a bit. I mean, sure, they haven't totally lost it, but they sure did come close with this one. The grooving, outer space rhythms are there, the heavy riffs are in place, Nils K. Rue's heavenly vocals are as soaring as they ever were (although his style of singing has certainly taken a blow; he is now merely annoying and much less glorious), and the solos are still impressive as hell, but something is missing. The songs here feel incredibly half baked, with even good songs like the title track and "Evolution Exceed" being songs that the band would've put on the B-side of a single back in 2002, and the rest of the album being painfully lame in most respects. There is evidence of the band's attempts to progress forward here, with an added semblance of 80s electropop and a few more modern industrialized riffs and harsh vocals, but it's not done right. The Pagan's Mind of old could have definitely woven these influences into a good song, but then again, the Pagan's Mind of old would never have tried that anyway. I don't want to sound like I'm criticizing the band for trying new things, but it literally sounds like they've taken the blueprint for Celestial Entrance and haphazardly thrown these influences into the mix, with no regard at all for good song structuring. The musicianship is as proficient as ever, but we've all heard it before - there's no interesting riff patterns or cascading guitar harmonies to be found here as there were on the previous Pagan's Mind albums, and Jorn Viggo Lofstad is strangely subdued here. I never thought I'd have a Pagan's Mind album without a few memorable licks from this guitar prodigy, but here it is anyway, proving that anything is possible.

Pagan's Mind in the past were a good band not for their sparkling innovations, but for the simple fact that they could really put together a great song in general and draw the listener in almost immediately - while still writing songs that would grow on you with each passing listen. God's Equation has none of that. Oh, it is indeed very catchy, perhaps moreso than anything they've ever done, but it's also a more lightweight, jokey affair, without most of the epic grandeur they had in the past, and it's almost impossible to take the band seriously after hearing Nils belt out the vocal lines to the David Bowie cover "Hallo Spaceboy" over those boobidy-boo 80s synths. Pretty gay, if you ask me.

Oh, and the lyrics all suck this time around. Pagan's Mind never did have the most amazing lyrics ever, but they were at least thought-provoking and well written, if not revolutionary. The lyrics on this album sound like they were written in 20 minutes before the band started recording. Seriously, guys, cut the shit - these lyrics sound like material for a bad B sci-fi flick. I'm all for having fun with what you love, but that doesn't mean that sacrificing musical integrity is okay! Start a side project for this crap, guys, because I'm not laughing.

It's really pretty sad, because this album is in no way, shape or form a bad album. There are shimmering moments here, as is evident in the title track, being a majestic, searing number with a huge chorus and all the idiosyncrasies that a Pagan's Mind song should have. If the whole album were like this, I'd no doubt give it a perfect score, but sadly that was not meant to be. "Painted Skies" and "Spirit Starcruiser" are good songs, with the former having just about the best performance from Nils K. Rue on this entire album, and the latter boasting a commendably original songwriting structure and vocal performance. But everything else is just weak. "Evolution Exceed" is a pretty standard Pagan's Mind song, with a speedy tempo and a cool chorus (although it's probably been used by them in the past). "Atomic Firelight" is okay, with heavier riffs and some harsher vocals, but it sounds forced and contrived, like the band didn't quite know what they were doing. "United Alliance" is catchier than AIDS, yet it's also the most boring and predictable song they've ever written. The closing epic "Osiris' Triumphant Return" is okay, but it lacks any sort of hook or anything to make you want to listen again.

This album is like junk food: sugary-sweet, addictive, yet not at all good for you; a cheap alternative to a better, more classy dish - in this case, Pagan's Mind's last three albums. Get it if your standards are lower than mine.

Originally written for http://www.metalcrypt.com

Cascading failure - 60%

Radagast, January 25th, 2008
Written based on this version: 2007, CD, LMP

This CD has been taking a bit of a kicking since its release, and mostly from Pagan's Mind fanboys at that. The problem, it would seem, is that in putting a band on a pedestal quite as high as the Norwegian progressive power outfit were to be found means that even a slight deviation from their perceived perfection is going to seem like a massive fall.

Personally, I never fully bought into the hype around the band, so while this 4th CD, 'God's equation' is their weakest to date – that much I won't contest – it hardly deserves to be consigned as a crushing disappointment.

The previous 3 CDs Pagan's Mind have released were certainly superb examples of progressive power metal, mixing the 2 elements better than most bands can manage. They successfully captured and equally balanced the technical superiority of prog and the soaring epic nature of power metal, and bound them seamlessly together with a somewhat unique spacey atmosphere.

They also were remarkably consistent, and this is where 'God's equation' falls down. For the first time on a Pagan's Mind CD, there are a couple of songs that just aren't very good, and a couple more that are just plain annoying. The opener pairing of "The conception" and "God's equation" are particularly strong, embodying all the greatness a listener could come to expect from Pagan's Mind on top form. Similarly, the grand closing epic "Osiris' triumphant return" is close to spectacular.

Unfortunately, it becomes clear early on that something didn't exactly go to plan this time around, with things taking a bit of a stumble in the middle of the CD. "Atomic firelight" starts promisingly, but is hamstrung by a weak chorus backed by an irritating, rock-ish descending chord progression. It is immediately followed by the David Bowie cover "Hallo spaceboy", which is exactly as out-of-place as it sounds.

"Evolution exceed" also suffers to a degree – the nice, melodic chorus and the unexpectedly aggressive riff are undercut by a section of the song featuring an irksome hissy keyboard pattern and an overuse of the filtered vocal sound the band have used from time to time in the past; the effect is in fact used far too often across the full CD, and detracts somewhat from Nils K. Rue's excellent vocal performance.

Rue is at his very best on "Painted skies", a quirky, meandering offering with a gentle, soothing chorus. This song is completely at odds with the more aggressive tunes like "Alien kamikaze" (which is also a bit of a misfire despite a thumping pre-chorus), and captures the trademark outer space vibe perfectly.

'Hit and miss' is a hoary old cliché that suits 'God's equation' down to the ground. Some new influences and some uninspired songwriting hamper the CD - but while it is not a struggle to listen to from start to finish, it is hardly a joy either. The end result is merely acceptable. If you are of the opinion that Pagan's Mind are the best thing since sliced bread, then only the power of denial will stop this coming as a massive let-down – more casual listeners can probably dismiss this drop in quality with a shrug of faint disappointment.

(Originally written for http://www.metalcdratings.com/

God's Evasion - 51%

Dragonchaser, November 23rd, 2007

I'm going to be straight with you. Biggest disappointment of 2007? You got it. Pagan's Mind was, and remains to this day, one of the most magnificent discoveries in progressive music ever. They frankly blew away the metal community with their second album "Celestial Entrance" in 2002, and with it they proved what great force they could conjure; a force that united every poetic nuance of both progressive and symphonic power metal into a sphere of purely enlightened music. To be honest, I loved every minute, and after catching them live with Power Quest during the promotion of their third opus "Enigmatic: Calling", I was pretty sure they were about to take over the world. But it was not to be.

First off, I'd like to point out that I'm not one of those pitiful webzine arseholes who eats up whatever this band serves unquestionably - and a fair bit of label bullshit too - just because they were on the verge of mega-stardom due to their growing fan base and obvious, incredible talents. Because as we all know, Pagan's Mind have released the same album since day one, but their style and flare for crafting intellectual, spiritual heavy metal was so fascinating, each album was just as enjoyable as the last. But this is too far. I can forgive them "Enigmatic: Calling" because repeating the success of a major accomplishment like "Celestial Entrance" is a natural move for any band if they feel comfortable to do so. But despite my high hopes for their mysterious fourth record "God's Equation", I feel almost cheated for my loyal anticipation. Why? I'll explain.

I don't want to excoriate "God's Equation" because I have a bone to pick, because this isn't a bad record. In fact, compared to everything else released this year - besides Elvenking, Primal Fear and Threshold's newbies - this is probably the best recitation of the genre in 2007. But for an intellect such as Pagan's Mind, this is such a frustration, because unlike "Enigmatic: Calling", which dipped in quality after track six, "God's Equation" plummets straight after number two. This is such a shame because it starts so well, too. "The Conception" is an intriguing prelude to the absolutely fantastic title track, a song that incorporates all of their odd, quirky idiosyncrasies - the heavenly vocals, the groovy riffs, the other-worldly synths - and is in fact the finest track they have written to date. The same goes for "Evolution Exceed", which is supremely catchy and kicks off with a monster of a riff. The middle section might be borrowed from "The Celestine Prophecy", but we're not here to discuss self-plagiarism. The problem with this album in general is that it is NOTHING we haven't heard before. The same crystal clear production, the same guitar tone, the same vocal lines, the same lyrical format, everything. And as a consequence, it sounds like a poor collection of out-takes from "Celestial Entrance", and just like a bonus cut's collection, it has only two decent tracks. "United Alliance" isn't bad - maybe a tad predictable - "Spirit Starcruiser" has potential, with a cracking verse but a disappointing chorus, and the epic "Osiris' Triumphant Return" has its moments, but the cover of David Bowie's "Hallo Spaceboy" is embarrassingly awful. Although, had it been an original, it would have been the most interesting track on here.

Pagan's Mind have to move forward. We can only digest "Celestial Entrance" so many times with different cover art, and considering the technical capabilities of Nils K Rue and clan, they aren't short of a brain cell or two, so, surely they could create something truly magical? Devoted fan boys will lap this up no matter what, and if you've never sampled the melodic genius of Pagan's Mind, this is as good an introduction as any (obviously!). But if "Celestial Entrance" was a masterclass of intelligent prog/power metal taught by the top professors at Harvard University, "God's Equation" is the same course taught by domestic science teachers at a community college.

Originally written for www.metalcrypt.com

More like Pervert's Mind - 50%

chaxster, November 21st, 2007

I mean, have you seen that cover?! It's not even arty like Ghosts of Loss, I can see the goosebumps on her areolae, dammit! If my mom found this cd in my collection, I'd have some explaining to do. Presumably something along the lines of why God would devise an equation involving soft porn. Maybe I could pfaff something about the Da Vinci Code and get away with it.

Getting around to the band itself, their first two releases were pretty standard competent power prog metal, but then they happened to fall in the path of the 'third time's a charm' phenomenon and kick it up several notches for the Enigmatic: Calling album. This improvement was thanks in no small part to new arrival, Jørn Viggo Lofstad, also known for doing axe duty for that rascally rasper Jørn Lande. Anyway, end result was that album was jam-packed with awesomely bombastic songs that had me throwing my arms up and either singing praises or singing along quite frequently. I may have looked like Jesus, too.

When I learned that they'd released an album this year with the same lineup, obviously I was pumped, and took steps to hear it out asap. It opened fine with the tinkling of 'The Conception' and all was well. Then what sounded like the Knight Rider theme brought in the title track, and while I tried to bop my head enthusiastically, I couldn't help feel something was missing. You had a decent verse, a catchy chorus, a perfectly respectable solo thrown in, but there were these empty pockets in between that you had to bridge to get across from one to the other. And I didn't care for the melody in the verse being all prancing and keyboard driven. Use that guitar, bitch! Overall, it felt more like a step backward than anything else.

Fine, I'll grant that they're trying out some new things, as evident with the Meshuggah-like riffage threading its way through 'Atomic Firelight', augmented with some digital effects for the vocals. It's just that it doesn't feel natural, and more like they're trying on different styles of music like casual wear. And when they're doing their usual song and dance, it all sounds like they've done the same thing before, only it sounded better then. Hell, 'Painted Skies' practically uses the chorus from 'United Alliance' a few songs back, only with half the speed. There's not a single song that can match up to the fun feel of stuff like 'The Celestine Prophecy', 'Supremacy, Our Kind', 'Taken', 'Resurrection' or 'New World Order'. The brightest spark on the album is their cover of David Bowie's 'Hallo Spaceboy', and even that's missing the ripping keyboard solo on the original.

Everybody seems to be firing on all cylinders, and I can't really fault the singing or any of the playing, which is more the pity since it makes it so glaringly obvious that these wankers can do so much better. I'm significantly disappointed and have to slash the thadiyans, despite the porno cover. I suppose, using the quality equation, I should get my hopes up only for their sixth album now. If you want the best work by these guys, get Enigmatic: Calling and be content.

http://www.kvltsite.com

The cosmic journey has been delayed - 74%

BloodIronBeer, October 15th, 2007

Here is a highly anticipated album. Pagan's Mind fourth album God's Equation. With three stellar albums under their belt, realistically, I had to figure they couldn't keep up the genre defining power-progressive metal forever, and it just seemed to make sense that this was the album where they'd fall somewhere short.

For some reason I expected a slight change in sound. Maybe it was the David Bowie cover and ridiculous song titles. Alien Kamikaze? Atomic Firelight? Evolution Exceed; that doesn't even make sense. But don't judge a book by it's cover they say. Right, so let's get down to it.

The album opens with a spacey acoustic intro The Conception, just what you'd expect from this band. The title track is Pagan's Mind at their finest. Killer riffs, powerful vocals, combined with transcendental keyboard wrapped into a unique and epic package that grabs hold of you. The next few songs immediately ease out of that awesomeness. United Alliance has a couple weak riffs, but is otherwise still up to par. Atomic Firelight, despite the silly name is one of the better songs on this album. However, half the song is done with distortion on the vocals. The melody line in the chorus reminds me of a melody I've heard in Dream Theater songs, in the Scenes From a Memory Part 2 era. So despite being hard hitting and refreshing, it's not quite up to snuff either.

Next the album takes a turn for the worse. The David Bowie cover is very much out of place, and just goofy sounding. Evolution Exceed is a generic darker song which seems to retain some of the cheesy prog rock spaciness of the David Bowie song, with a chorus copy/pasted from another song.

Alien Kamikaze is the real nail in the coffin. Take an exceedingly weak and generic riffs with a simple lowbrow drum beat, add more crappy distorted vocals and you've got a song I truly would never have expected to appear on a Pagan's Mind album. Easily their worst song to date.

Past that point it's really a test of endurance. For the most part, even past the halfway point it's obvious that the band fell a good deal short on this effort. There is some seriously commercial sounding riffs, and the vocals get grating with all the effects. I'm not really sure what the band is thinking, but clearly they're trying for something a bit different, and my advice to them would be to stick to what they do best. Sure, bands should test new waters now and again, especially progressive bands, but this is sounding a bit radio friendly at times, and those are waters no one has any excuse to go near.

In the end, it’s a disappointment but it could have been a lot worse. It's still got it's strong points. And luckily, I can see them coming back from this failure. I'll still be checking out there next album ... this isn't a Nocturnal Rites kind of failure or anything.

I really hate to give a Pagan's Mind release a less-than-stellar rating, but come on, Alien Kamikaze? They were asking for it.