Pagan’s Mind - Full Circle-Live at Center Stage - (9.5/10)
Published on November 26, 2015
Pagan’s Mind are one of progressive power metal’s unsung heroes. Over the last 15 years they released five studio albums, all of which can be considered among the creme de la creme of prog power metal, being able to lay claim to the elusive attribute of “their own sound”, making them instantly recognizable with their mix of spacey progressive metal, thundering power metal and Nils K. Rue’s unique vocals that are the icing on the Norwegians’ science fiction infused sound. Recorded at ProgPower USA’s Center Stage in 2014, Pagan’s Mind made it a memorable night by treating the fans not just to a full 76 minute set of music, no, they added the complete Celestial Entrance album as added bonus, making it a more than worthy candidate for a live release.
And it quickly becomes clear why the name of Pagan’s Mind is so revered among the prog power circles. Embedded into a very clear yet never clinical sound, the Norwegians are able to deliver the full impact of their creations, indulging the fans in the layered compositions that take the powerful foundation of drummer extraordinaire Stian Kristoffersen and bassist Steinar Krokmo and erecting their marvelous skyscrapers, which with all the many layers and facets never get out of hand or preposterous.
With the sound taken care of, the other key factors playing into the success of a live document are song choice and performance and here, too, Pagan’s Mind score on all accounts. Their excellent choice of songs drawn from the remaining four albums already was good enough (plus the outstanding 16-minute instrumental “Full Circle”), but with Celestial Entrance, an album that many consider a bonafide classic of the genre already, in its entirety they pull out all stops and one gets the feeling that this is the way this album is supposed to be enjoyed in any setting.
And finally Full Circle – Live at Center Stage does not just come as a double CD, but also as a DVD/CD combo, BluRay/CD combo, and gate-fold vinyl, which really lets the fans decide which package they want to treat themselves to. One of the year’s best live offerings for sure and hopefully this band will finally see some more much deserved attention!