In the year of 2000, the Norwegian music scene, thus mostly known for its Black Metal, brought up PAGAN’S MIND. Formed by Nils K. Rue on vocals, Stian Kristoffersen on drums, and Thorstein Aaby on guitar (1971-2007), and later joined by Jørn-Viggo Lofstad (guitar), Steinar Krokmo (bass) and Ronny Tegner (keyboards), the band quickly established itself worldwide with their second album in 2002, Celestial Entrance, in co-operation with successful producer Fredrik Nordström (DIMMU BORGIR, HAMMERFALL). For this album, PAGAN’S MIND deepened the band’s progressive style from the debut, Infinity Divine, but topped it all off with filigree Power Metal elements and exciting arrangements. The album gave the band much deserved attention, and elite festivals as ProgPower USA and ProgPower Europe, as well as Sweden Rock Festival, invited PAGAN’S MIND to play in 2003. Celestial Entrance scored massive attention in the industry as well, and Stian Kristoffersen was invited to play drums for FIREWIND, Nils K. Rue joined Canadian EIDOLON, and Jørn-Viggo Lofstad became Jørn Lande’s closest partner for his band, named JORN.
The final mix of the band’s third album, Enigmatic: Calling, was once again done in well-proven co-operation with Fredrik Nordström. Produced by Lofstad, the band sounded more melodic, yet harder. After its release in 2005, PAGAN’S MIND played more prestigious festivals as well as returned to Sweden Rock Festival, ProgPower Europe and the newly established ProgPower UK. It was unforeseeable that the album stormed the Norwegian album charts shortly after its release, but that only affirmed the talented work of the band. In 2006, the band did a headliner tour in England.
PAGAN’S MIND’s idea for the next step was to incorporate none other than Stefan Glaumann from Toytown Studios in Stockholm, Sweden, well known for his work with RAMMSTEIN, PARADISE LOST, WITHIN TEMPTATION and BON JOVI. The result of the co-operation, titled God's Equation, once again produced by guitar player Jörn-Viggo Lofstad, surpassed even the highest expectations. God's Equation was a musical giant consisting of groove, melody, intelligent heaviness and ambitious song writing. Skillfully and cleverly, all musical essences of what constitutes progressive Heavy Metal were joined here. The album saw the band combine Lofstad's signature riffs, now being one of today's most important and influential guitar players due to his technique and trademark sound, with catchy melodies and Tegner's keyboard magic, with a production and mix that gave the band a unique expression.
Following the release of God's Equation, celebrated by bringing the roof down at the ProgPower US festival in Atlanta, the band hit the road in November 2007 with legendary Prog Metal veterans FATES WARNING. This stint was followed by three weeks with BRAINSTORM in March 2008, and a week of UK dates with SONATA ARCTICA. After a successful appearance at the Waldrock festival in Holland in July 2008, the band headlined the ProgPower Europe festival and treated their fans to a more than two hour set, followed by another European tour in November 2008 where a DVD titled Live Equation was recorded at Rockefeller Music Hall in Oslo. This disc was released by the band's own label in September 2009, and a tour of USA and Canada followed, including another monsterous performance at the ProgPower festival in Atlanta as a part of the “returning heroes” anniversary concept. Live Equation manifested what an established and professional live act PAGAN’S MIND has become.
Back home after the massive touring for God's Equation, the band put all energy into writing the next studio album. A further co-operation with Limb Music seemed no longer possible, and after the completion of the new album and discussions with different labels, the band eventually signed to Hanover-based SPV. Released in May 2011, again with guitar player and main songwriter Lofstad in the producer's chair and a mix overseen by Glaumann, Heavenly Ecstasy gained amazing reviews worldwide, and became “album of the month” in several important Metal magazines. The single “Intermission” gave the band its first gold disc in Sweden, and after a headline tour in the UK and Benelux, the band was invited to play the main stage at the Graspop festival in Belgium, along with SLIPKNOT, JUDAS PRIEST, WHITESNAKE and others. After teaming up with SYMPHONY X for a European tour in September and October, the band ended 2011 with a few monumental gigs in their home country as well as another stint in Netherlands and Belgium.
Currently, the creativity flows and PAGAN'S MIND works on material for the next album, which might as well be two albums recorded at once; showing why the band jokingly calls itself “True Norwegian Hard Hitting In Your Face Space Metal”. Lofstad, by now well established as a world class guitar player, producer and songwriter, says: “We might show the band's more melodic side with one album, in line with our two latest releases, but we also intend to go back to exploring our more epic and progressive side as well. We have the material to make it happen; 2013 will be another exciting year for PAGAN'S MIND!”
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