After being teased with the unbelievably stellar riff from “New World Order” on a preview that was briefly on an intro to Pagan’s Mind’s website earlier this year, to say I had high hopes for this album would be a major understatement and I’m happy to say that those hopes were certainly not dashed with the final product, easily one of the most amazing power/prog releases this year. For those not familiar with the band, they got off to an impressive start a few years back with their first album “Infinity Divine,” which put them on the map as a band to contend with on the power metal front. With their follow-up, “Celestial Entrance,” we saw much more of a prog influence creep into the music with more than a hint of Dream Theater thrown into the song writing, while keeping the power metal edge intact. With “Enigmatic: Calling,” we see a perfect continuation of that progression with improved songwriting and virtuoso performances all around.
I have to say right away that if you were even slightly intrigued with “Celestial Entrance,” this album will absolutely not disappoint and will certainly draw you into the thinking of many that this is a band that has quickly evolved into one of the most talented bands on the power/prog metal front. The album begins more than impressively with “The Celestine Prophecy,” a guitar-heavy epic that certainly continues the band’s tradition of opening an album impressively enough to command attention. Continuing with the album’s first single, “Enigmatic Mission,” the band does not let the intensity of the album die down in the slightest bit. I have to add that the instrumental breaks on most of the songs on this album are nothing short of mind-blowing, especially on “Enigmatic Mission” and “New World Order,” a track that overall qualifies as the best power/prog song I’ve heard this decade. “Supremacy, Our Kind,” the third track, begins with even more blistering guitars than the album openers and then transforms into a mid-tempo ballad that builds in intensity, switching back and forth from dreamy keyboard balladry and powerful vocals delivered over smoking guitars. Just when you think they can’t keep up this pace of greatness, we move into “Entrance to Infinity,” a little more on the mellow side, but keeping with the epic sound. This song starts with rather mellow sounding opening verses, moving to an epic sounding chorus with an almost jazz-fusion instrumental interlude before becoming addictively melodic in the final chorus.
If you haven’t figured out from the song titles, “Enigmatic: Calling” pretty much continues along the storyline that was the theme of “Celestial Entrance,” speculation that an alien race created mankind as some sort of twisted galactic experiment. While neither qualify as a concept album per se, this theme permeates the lyrics and general feel of the music on both albums, but they really perfect this musically on “Enigmatic: Calling,” especially on tracks like the sinister, yet powerful “Taken” and equally jarring “Resurrection: Back in Time.” To top it all off, just when you think the album can’t get any better, in Pagan’s Mind style, they save the best for last with “New World Order,” the longest song on the album, clocking in at almost 8 ½ minutes, and easily the greatest song the band has recorded to date. As I mentioned previously, this has got my early vote for song of the decade so far and this song alone is worth buying the album for! (not there’s even an ounce of fluff on the album!) Starting innocently enough with a lone keyboard mirroring a melody from the chorus, the song breaks into an epic drum march very reminiscent of Queensryche’s “Anarchy-X” from Mindcrime and then breaks into one of the greatest guitar riffs ever written building it with epic keyboards before going to its opening vocals. There is nothing about this song that I don’t like from the opening to the lyrics to the jaw-dropping three minute instrumental about halfway into the song. This album is an absolute must have for fans of the heavier side of Dream Theater who enjoy hearing plenty of power in their prog metal and the sci-fi storyline will certainly appeal to Ayreon fans. As if “Celestial Entrance” weren’t powerful a enough album, Pagan’s Mind have certainly come into their own with “Enigmatic: Calling,” making this one an absolute must for metal fans – easily one of the most powerful metal releases of 2005! Get it NOW and watch for their new DVD later this year, which was shot at the “Enigmatic: Calling” album premiere party, so it will contain performances of songs from all three albums!