Review Summary: it isn't heavenly ecstasy, but it's still a solid release from an incredibly consistent progressive metal band.
In the past, Pagan’s Mind crafted practically ingenious songs that beautifully combined spacey atmospherics, crushing guitars, and superb musicianship. In their last two albums this trend continued, and proved Pagan’s Mind to be on top of their game, as well as on top of the progressive power metal scene. With their albums becoming much better with every release, it seemed that Heavenly Ecstasy
would either be their magnum opus, or would completely disintegrate everything that the band was building up to becoming. Pagan’s Mind is a very solid band, after all, being able to release the same kind of album over and over again, with their music seeming surprisingly fresh every time. Now, with such consistent consistency, it would be expected for them to continue this trend, but unfortunately, Heavenly Ecstasy
isn’t filled with as much ecstasy as we would have liked.
is a hit or miss album to say the least, and this isn’t typical of the band. Generally, Pagan’s Mind albums are solid all the way through, but this album is prone to weaker songs. Of course, the album starts off perfect. With a short, spacey, intro track, it leads into ‘Intermission’, an instant Pagan’s Mind classic. Unfortunately, tracks such as ‘Intermission’ are sparse. Instead, we get songs that make it seem like Pagan’s Mind’s is running out of juice, and may be past their prime. The guitarist sounds bored this time, with furious noodling and incredible riffs only happening occasionally, while the rest of the time he focuses on melody. The band has always made great melodies, but with much less technicality, this is the band’s most mainstream release, which is both bad and good. The negative aspect is that the soundscape is less full and epic in scope, which is a very negative aspect indeed.
The one great aspect of the album is the focus on the lead singer’s vocals, which are as usual, stunningly fantastic. With the riffs playing simpler, the spacey keyboards less engrossing, and the drums with less complex rhythms, 100% of Nils K. Rue’s impressive vocals are allowed empty space to resonate in. The problem, though, is that too much space is left empty, and the band’s once impressive soundscape no longer impresses or draws attention. Sure, great melodies are still formed, but without the typically mesmerizing soundscape, they sound thin. Ultimately, this album is still great, but in comparison to their previous works, it ends as a bit of a disappointment.