Pagan's Mind - Infinity Divine
A couple of days ago I was digging through my collection of cds and just happened to come across a somewhat older Dream Theatre album. Full of joy because of this newfound old disc, I happily bounced towards my computer and as I started humming along with James LaBrie, I clicked on the Mozilla Firefox (which is way better than Spywarecrosoft Internet Explorer - if you’re browsing the internet, we’re browsing your computer (ahhh... how I loathe Microsoft)) icon on my taskbar and surfed to the Britney Spears website where I ripped one of her pics off the net and drew a mustache and beard on it in Microsoft Paint (it does have its benefits) - always nice for a good laugh.
After that, I happened to stumble on the website of... Pagan’s Mind.
Infinity Divine, actually the debut of these Norwegian progressive powermetallers, was re-released because after numerous shows the band got asked quite often about older material. Because of this interest, the band and their label decided to rework Infinity Divine in order to make it available to a wider public. Their second studio album, Celestial Entrance, was produced by Dream Evil guitarist and succesful producer (Hammerfall, Synergy) Fredrik Nordström. The original release of Infinity Divine, however, was produced by none other than TNT guitarist Ronny Le Tekro.
To be totally honest: I haven’t heard the original disc, so I can’t really tell you what and how much has been improved for this re-release. Therefor I’ll review this album as a new release.
Prelude To Paganism is a synthesizer instrumental and a nice introduction to the album as well as to Pagan’s Mind itself. The no. 2, Caught In A Dream, is a most beautiful song which sets the tone for the distinctive style of the band. With progressive songstructures like those of Dream Theatre (especially in A New Beginning influences of this band can be heard - the menioning of these kings of progmetal in the intro of this article is no coincidence (HA! You thought I was just fooling around, didn’t you? Admit it!)), Rush and guitarriffs and solos of modern powermetalbands such as Edguy.
The synths sound atmospheric and occasionally come solo-ing forward a bit more to underline their presence such as in Astral Projection, which is about the phenomenon that lets the spirit travel without the body.
Dawning Of The Nemesis is one of the slower songs. Vocalist Nils uses the remarkable stretch of his voice to bring energy and power in this melodic, heavy track.
Despite the unique sound Pagan’s Mind produces, there is only one song that really stands out on the album. Not because it’s better or worse for that matter, but because it’s a King Diamond cover. In At The Graves, Nils knows how to keep that ‘special King Diamond feeling’ (fans of the former Mercyful Fate frontman know what I’m talking about) by perfectly imitating the vocals from the squeeky high, to the raw, screaming notes exactly as the ‘king of the underworld’ does it himself and yet to let his own sound seep very subtly through the whole. A magnificent cover.
When it concerns the instruments, I’d say everything sounds very good. It’s only that the drums didn’t impress me very much on this album, seeing it’s the more standard drumwork. No, I said that wrong. It’s the drumwork one would expect on a powermetalalbum. Yes, that’s better. A pity that not much of the progressive elements have been brought upon the drums (or bass, for that matter).
The artwork is very nicely done, yet it is still the same as that which was used for the cover of the original release of Infinity Divine. I wouldn’t mind seeing something new on a re-release, even if it only was to draw more eyes on old material. A pity the band didn’t think of it as I do.
This was actually the first album I had ever heard from these Norwegians and at first it didn’t impress me that much. But the more I started to listen to it, the more I started to hear how special the style of this band actually is. It is in no way a direct clone of any progressive / powermetalband I know of. Even Nils K. Rue’s vocals don’t directly remind me of a well-known frontman in the genre.
Infinity Divine may well be the progressive powermetal album (or Pagan’s Mind may be the band) you’ve been looking for all this time, for it’s truly a piece of art in which a lot of passion, energy and time has been invested.
Nils K. Rue - vocals
Thorstein Aaby - guitar
Jorn Viggo Lofstad - guitar
Steinar Krokmo - bass
Stian Kristofferrsen - drums
Ronny Tegner - Keyboard
1. Prelude To Paganism
2. Caught In A Dream
3. Infinity Divine
4. Embracing Fear
5. Astral Projection
6. Angels’ Serenity
7. Dawning Of The Nemesis
8. King’s Quest
9. Twilight Arise
10. A New Beginning
11. Embracing Fear 2004 (bonus track)
12. At The Graves (bonus track - King Diamond cover)