Pagan’s Mind

Lance King – ReProgram Review

Lance King – ReProgram Review

“Lance King, the former vocalist of Balance of Power and Pyramaze and pride of prog-metal lovers everywhere, has been too quiet for too long. Running Nightmare Records seems to keep him plenty busy, as his last solo outing was 2011s A Moment in Chiros, but 2019 finally sees the man flexing his golden pipes once again on ReProgram. Backed by a large supporting cast of musicians from acts like Pyramaze, Anubis Gate, and Darkwater, Lance’s second solo outing tracks the kind of highly melodic prog-power style he’s known for, while exploring concepts of self-identity, belief systems and the influences that shape our thinking.” Hail to the King.

Pyramaze – Disciples of the Sun Review

Pyramaze – Disciples of the Sun Review

Pyramaze is a tough nut to crack and an even tougher one to anticipate or graft expectations onto. They released two very well done platters of crisp progressive power metal with Lance King at the helm in the early 2000s, the latter of which, Legend of the Bone Carver, ended up one of my favorite albums of the decade. When Lance left, they acquired the mighty Matt Barlow of Ice Earth fame and released the far heavier, very Iced Earthy Immortal. Then they fell silent and despite rumors of this singer or that joining the fold, no new material was forthcoming. Now, seven years later they finally reemerge from the Danish hinterlands with a new album, new guitarist and a new singer. But what do they sound like after so much time away? Like a completely different band, that’s what.” Are you ready to worship the sun? You better be.

Seven Kingdoms – The Fire is Mine Review

Seven Kingdoms – The Fire is Mine Review

Through hellstorms, hail and snow, Steel Druhm keeps delivering the power metal like a creepy, metal-obsessed mailman in full battle armor. Today’s package includes the classic power stylings from Seven Kingdoms. If you like the super catchy Hammerfall and Gamma Ray sound, this will blow your mind as it did Mr. Steel’s. It seems there’s no end to the power metal destruction he plans to unleash on these here pages in the coming weeks, so batten down the hatches and prepare accordingly.

Lance King – A Moment in Chiros Review

Lance King – A Moment in Chiros Review

Lance King, like Elvis, is everywhere. He’s sang for a ton of bands (Balance of Power, Pyramaze, Avian, Empire etc. etc.), he runs Nightmare Records and still found the time to record and release his first solo album, A Moment in Chiros. For those unfamiliar with his body of work, Mr. King is the quintessential prog-power metal singer. His voice is versatile, powerful and his range is impressive. He sounds equally at home alongside melodic power metal and thoughtful prog-metal. For his debut solo project, he’s brought in elements of both and made damn sure everything is super-duper melodic, even symphonic at times. To assist him in this endeavor, he recruited a mighty host of friends, including members of Anubis Gate, Beyond Twilight and Adagio. The final product (which was apparently written and recorded in only three months) will remind many of Empire-era Queensryche mixed with elements of Dream Theater, Pagan’s Mind, Anubis Gate and of course, Lance’s other units, especially Balance of Power. There are moments where Lance and company shine as bright as the sun and there’s some interesting material here for fans of power-prog. However, A Moment in Chiros struggles with the consistency of quality and this ultimately hurts things, which is a real shame.

Voyager – The Meaning of I Review

Voyager – The Meaning of I Review

Now here’s something quite a bit different! Australia’s Voyager has been tinkering with their odd blend of progressive space metal for a while now. However, here on album number four The Meaning of I, they’ve really hit on the perfect blend of influences and styles. Taking elements of traditional, power, progressive and even death metal, Voyager fuses it all together and the result is an odd, hyper-melodic and unique album that’s as intelligent as it is catchy (and its VERY catchy). As a big fan of their 2009 release I Am the Revolution, I expected great things and even I was surprised by how good this ended up. With traces of Nevermore, Star One, Tyr, Pagan’s Mind, Scar Symmetry, Vanden Plas and Anubis Gate swirling about in a creative maelstrom, you should certainly expect the unexpected. Despite the plethora of influences, The Meaning of I ends up a cohesive and compelling release with one killer song after another and brains til Tuesday. In case that doesn’t have you interested yet, they may be the only metal band currently using a melodica both in the studio and live. Call them spacey-prog or astral-metal but whatever tag you throw on them, they rock muchly. Can you tell Steel Druhm is impressed? He is.

Pagan’s Mind – Heavenly Ecstasy Review

Pagan’s Mind – Heavenly Ecstasy Review

Every now and then I find myself sweating a new release and sincerely worrying a band may have already seen its best days. This is one of those perspiration inducing albums. After three platters of excellent progressive metal that reminded me of the halcyon salad days of Fates Warning and Queensryche, Pagan’s Mind really screwed the pooch hard with their last release, 2007’s God’s Equation. Ditching nearly all of the things they had working for them in favor of a stripped down and more commercial approach, it was one of those albums that leaves fans befuddled, bewildered, betrayed and generally in an foul humor (I won’t go into the David Bowie cover, but it was bullshit ass!). With my confidence and fanboydom thus shaken and stirred, I didn’t know what to expect from these Norwegian metallers. Would it be a return to the prog-tastic spacey glory of their Enigmatic Calling and Celestrial Entrance works or a dash further down the path toward commercial oblivion ah la Krokus (yes, Krokus damn you, they were good once!). After much consternation and intestinal distress, I can report their fifth album, Heavenly Ecstasy is way better than their prior misstep, though it doesn’t fully return to their previous levels of excellence.

Above Symmetry – Ripples Review

Above Symmetry – Ripples Review

Progressive metal isn’t an easy place to be. Let’s face it, much of the world of progressive metal is a tussle between an old guard of old fans (the Neanderthals of Metal) who really like bands that sound like Dream Theater, Queensryche, and so forth, and then there’s kind of everyone else. It’s disparate, difficult to define and often pretentious as hell with little logic as to what is in fashion with which group. This is the natural outcome of genrefication, in my opinion, and part of that is a question of where a band can actually progress to. You’re either not heavy enough or you’re too heavy and you never please anyone. Few bands ever really manage to fall outside of these well-worn ruts in the road, but there are some fantastic bands in those ruts, Above Symmetry is one of those bands.

Aspera – Ripples Review

Aspera – Ripples Review

Progressive metal isn’t an easy place to be. Let’s face it, much of the world of progressive metal is a tussle between an old guard of old fans (the Neanderthals of Metal) who really like bands that sound like Dream Theater, Queensryche, and so forth, and then there’s kind of everyone else. It’s disparate, difficult to define and often pretentious as hell with little logic as to what is in fashion with which group. This is the natural outcome of genrefication, in my opinion, and part of that is a question of where a band can actually progress to. You’re either not heavy enough or you’re too heavy and you never please anyone. Few bands ever really manage to fall outside of these well-worn ruts in the road, but there are some fantastic bands in those ruts, Aspera is one of those bands.