Nowadays it’s not uncommon for bands to focus their shows around a particular album, especially if the album has some significance in their career or if they are celebrating a particular anniversary related to that album. Whatever the case may be, sometimes a band will do a show where they play an album in full and then maybe follow up with a second set of their other songs. I’ve seen this happen a lot lately and a few months ago, I went to a show where one of my favorite bands did something similar, by playing three sets with their new album being played in full live for the first time as the second set. The band Iwill be focusing on played one of their albums in full live last year and decided to record if for a live release and that bands name is PAGAN’S MIND
Formed in 2000 in Norway from the band SILVERSPOON
, this re-named Progressive/Power Metal quintet released their debut CD “Infinity Divine”
the same year. Over the years that followed, they recorded four more albums totaling five with their recent album being “Heavenly Ecstacy”
which was released 4 years ago in 2011.
In August of 2014, they launched a crowd funding campaign to fund the recording of their next live release which was due to take place a month later in September of 2014 and they were successfully able to reach 163% on the campaign meaning they had loads of money to use on the recording. The resulting recording, “Full Circle - Live at Center Stage”
is the focus of this review and I am here to see what the result of a crowd funded campaign sounds like so let us dive off into it shall we Clocking in at approximately 2 1/2 hours across 2CD’s, “Full Circle”
captures the Norwegian Progressive Metal outfits performance that took place at Center Stage Atlanta on September 11th 2014 during the bands three hour headline set at ProgPower USA XV where a total of two sets were played. The first set features their second album “Celestial Entrance” being played in it’s entirety followed by a second set of songs taken from their other releases.
As the concert begins, the tension is built up with the crowds chanting for the band while the instrumental opening “Approaching”
from their second album plays in the mix and then after about 2 minutes of music and an MC introduction from the bands promoter, the concert really gets going with the song “Through Osiris’ Eyes”
which is the second track and first vocal song on the “Celestial Entrance” album and it’s here where the music of PAGAN’S MIND
and the energy of the crowd comes to life for what promises to be a great evening. Throughout the remainder of the first disc and set, the songs of “Celestial Entrance”
are brought to life on the live stage and the fans who attended the show and indeed us the listeners of this CD/viewers of the DVD are treated to some sweet sounding Progressive
Metal music complete with heavy guitars, powerful drumming, symphonic keys, funky bass riffs and punchy vocals. Because the entire album is being played, that means we get to hear all of the songs as they are played on the album complete with all the intros, outros, fillers and everything else in between.
In addition to the two songs I’ve already mentioned, the other songs we get during this first set include the punchy “Entrance Stargate”
, the dark and symphonic “…Of Epic Questions”, the heavily progressive “Dimensions Of Fire”
, the punchy and mystical “Dreamscape Lucidity”
, the heavily melodic “The Seven Sacred Promises”
, the epic two part instrumental “Back to the Magic of Childhood” which is slow and beautiful for the first part but then gets heavy and symphonic for part two, the short but beautiful piano and vocal duet “In Brilliant White Light”
, the heavily melodic and symphonic “Aegean Shores” and the albums heavy epic closing track “The Prophecy of Pleiades”.
During the second set/disc, we are treated to more PAGAN’S MIND
material which this time is a mixture of songs from their other albums including “New World Order” and “Enigmatic Mission”
from the third album “Enigmatic: Calling”, “God’s Equation”, “Hallo Spaceboy”
and “United Alliance”
from the fourth album “God’s Equation”
and “Eyes of Fire”, “Intermission”, “Walk Away In Silence”
and “Live Your Life Like A Dream”
from the fifth album “Heavenly Ecstasy”
. On top of these 9 songs from their other albums, a brand new 15 minute instrumental entitled “Full Circle”
is performed and I assume it was written for the concert as an exclusive treat for the PAGAN’S MIND
fans which if that is the case, it is both excellent and kick-ass awesome. Hearing the material from their other albums on top of hearing their second album being played in full live, reminds me a little bit of what HALESTORM
did this year when they played their new album in full live, on top of an additional set filled with songs from their other albums, so getting to hear PAGAN’S MIND
do something similar is both awesome and refreshing.
If the inclusion of a second set on top of an album being played in full live wasn’t enough to impress you, then the energy of the crowd will you as you can hear/see them rocking out and chanting along with the bands music, while punching their fists high up in the air, which is what a great show should be all about. Both the band and the crowd should do what they can to blend with one another and have fun together, and that appears to be the case here, as you can detect an obvious unity/connection between PAGAN’S MIND
and their fans.
As far as the production is concerned, it is very well mixed for a live album in this genre as it sounds tight and together, meaning you can hear and enjoy every song that this quintet play during their headline set at one of the biggest Progressive Rock & Metal festivals in the world. Throughout both discs of the CD version of this live concert, we are treated to some excellent Progressive Rock & Metal songs from PAGAN’S MIND
and even if you’re not a big fan of the genre, then I would recommend giving this concert a listen/watch depending on which version you choose to pick up.
Bottom line, the “Full Circle: Live At Center Stage”
concert recording from PAGAN’S MIND
is an excellent addition to the collection of fans of the band, fans of Progressive Rock & Metal or fans who like live Rock & Metal music. Even if you’re not keen on the genre or are a total newbie to the Progressive genre and the band, then I highly recommend you pick this up, crank it and rock out like mad.