Pagan's Mind - LIVE: Underworld 2011

Heavenly Ecstacy Tour
London - May 20
Capacity 500

Opening up for Pagan's Mind tonight are London-based melodic metal band Neonfly. Bluntly, Neonfly aren't particularly impressive at all. The band don't have particularly interesting or noteworthy songs, and the singer's high pitched voice grates after only a few tracks. A scream of 'Does anyone here like AOR?' should tell you all you need to know. Whilst the band play, the venue is noticeably empty apart from a few lines of people at the front, and a group of people messing around at the back. Neonfly should be forgettable – though there is the nagging feeling that, like Black Spiders, we'll be hearing from Neonfly again and again in the near future. Unfortunately.

Apparently tonight is sold out, but judging from the wealth of space on the Underworld's dance floor and balcony, this seems very hard to believe. The turn out is instead comfortable – enough people to feel like the night was decently attended, but certainly not crowded. Given the Underworld's one way access to the floor, this can only be a good thing.

Good turn out or not, it's pretty clear that Pagan's Mind have a strong, dedicated following; the band open up their set with the as yet unreleased Eyes of Fire, with the crowd reacting very positively to the band's new material. With a strong sound and plenty of skill on display, Pagan's Mind might be a cult band but it is evident why the band are so fanatically loved. Intricate but surprisingly immediate material, crossed with terrific musicianship and an unmistakable vocal style make Pagan's Mind one of the best prog-power metal bands in Europe.

Heavenly Ecstasy has just been released on the continent, but is still a few days away in the UK. The fact that the fans are cheering for songs they haven't (supposely) heard yet is jokingly remarked upon by singer Nils K. Rue. Given the album's recent release, the band are in jovial spirits – there's even champagne being passed around. As Nils explains, tonight was almost canceled due to an injury the singer received recently, but the band soldiered on with the dates regardless. The injury is noticeable – Nils is much less spry than one would normally expect, but this doesn't take away from the show too much.

The set does have quite a few songs taken from Heavenly Ecstasy, as well as the excellent God's Equation. The majority of the set is taken from these two albums, although there's quite a few early tracks as well. There's a few instrumental pieces – including a comical keyboard solo – though these don't come across as too self-indulgent. Understandably, the biggest cheers are left for the encore, in particular Through Osiris' Eyes, unsurprising given its popularity.

Other than perhaps The Final Countdown sneaking its way into the keyboard solo, rare track Evolution Exceed and some wine splashing around, Pagan's Mind don't really offer much in the way of surprises. What they do offer though is a thoroughly entertaining and interesting set, excellently played and executed. There's not much else you really need from a night, really.

“ Intricate but surprisingly immediate ”

Setlist: Eyes of Fire / Enigmatic Mission / Walk Away In Silence / Aegean Shores / Keyboard Solo / God's Equation / United Alliance / Farewell / Hallo Spaceboy / Evolution Exceed / When Angels Unite / Intermission // Approaching / Through Osiris' Eyes / Alien Kamikaze

Written by James Donovan
More: 2011, Gigs, Power Metal, Progressive,

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