Pagan
Black Wash


4.0
excellent

Review

by Chamberbelain CONTRIBUTOR (198 Reviews)
July 18th, 2018 | 19 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Disco powered blackened punk'n'roll.

“Black Wash” does exactly what any debut album should do for whichever band is behind its creation: it pronounces a powerful statement of intent. Across the eleven tracks on offer, Australia’s own Pagan cram an unholy mixture of disco, hardcore and metal into a can and spray-paint a dizzyingly decorative clash of colours onto a blank canvas framed by jagged punk rhythms. On paper, this fusion shouldn’t necessarily work, but Pagan has created an electrifying debut album which remains coherent despite launching their audience curveball after curveball.

Imagine an underground punk show in a claustrophobic venue, the pungent scent of youthful adrenaline is in the air, limbs are flailing in every direction. And attached to the ceiling of this punk venue is a massive shining glitterball covered with corpsepaint. This is the soundscape that Pagan embodies. As rebellious and brutal as it is accessible and upbeat, Pagan’s music is irresistibly danceable. Jazzy riffs corkscrew their way around chunky bass sections and short, sharp shocks of drum fills in “Death Before Disco” which also features a fiery chorus. Elsewhere, the band playfully stops the onslaught of Kvelertak-y riffs in “Silver” to let the bass join Pagan’s groovy antics only to end the track on layers of textured melodies that dance throughout the night. Aside from the grooves in other songs such as the swirling “Wine and Lace” and the joyously frantic “Year of the Dog” which hack into your senses and force you to move, the band’s kinetic nature is enhanced further by the fact there are few moments of rest across “Black Wash”. Other than the album being bookended by an eerie intro and desperate outro, Pagan grant no one the luxury of taking a respite.

Furthermore, “Black Wash” is a candid, wild and absolute whirlwind experience spearheaded by a vocalist who commands a humongous presence- which is saying something considering the size of the grooves this album contains. Nikki Bruman’s vocals come at you with a force strong enough to peel your eyelids back. Her care-free approach to yelling furious lyrics directly into your face throughout the whole album- with the exception of a smattering of tender moments during the shredding “Imitate Me” and the infectious “The Greatest Love Songs”-is admittedly, one directional. However, her brazen and breathless voice compliments the youthful, sprightly manner of the music that flanks her and also hones the jagged edge that “Black Wash” brandishes. Such a direct style might be hard for some to swallow initially, but, give Pagan time and you’ll soon be hooked under their spell.

Debut albums are the sounds of a band making a statement; sophomores are when they fulfil that statement. After digesting “Black Wash”, it seems that Pagan’s statement of intent is to pronounce that their sound has no restrictions. On a first attempt, they’ve successfully mashed disco with punk ‘n’ roll to create an unstoppable force full of infectious grooves and manic vocals. With that unexpected level of professionalism, it’s impossible to predict which direction they will go next time but, for now, Pagan has released one of the most exhilarating albums of 2018.



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user ratings (9)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
schoonda
July 18th 2018


1418 Comments


great review man. I've heard bits and pieces of this band but never really delved further, will jam today.

Digging: colourblind - Move Like You

schoonda
July 18th 2018


1418 Comments


haha okay this is way heavier than I expected, still got some pretty cool things going for it

Dewinged
July 18th 2018


12011 Comments


Summary made me veeeery curious. Great write up as always Chamb.

Digging: Rata Negra - Justicia Cosmica

schoonda
July 18th 2018


1418 Comments


Not fully getting the disco vibe but the further I get through, the more I'm enjoying it.

Chamberbelain
Contributing Reviewer
July 19th 2018


112 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cheers dudes. This will probably have a place in my too 20. I really hope this band gets some more love because they've definitely got something good going on here.

Digging: Sylvaine - Atoms Aligned, Coming Undone

schoonda
July 19th 2018


1418 Comments


there's a stack of aussie bands that don't get enough love here i'm afraid

StickFeit
July 19th 2018


998 Comments


Digging this

Digging: Amigo the Devil - Everything Is Fine

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
July 21st 2018


8013 Comments


there's a stack of aussie bands that don't get enough love here i'm afraid

Irrespective of genre, I might add.

Digging: Suffering Quota - Life In Disgust

DashSnowblind
August 1st 2018


4 Comments


This is really excellent, I love it. Thanks for a terrific review of an album I would have missed!

Chamberbelain
Contributing Reviewer
August 1st 2018


112 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

No problem. I'm a bit gutted they aren't getting much attention on here because I think this is one of the best debut albums this year.

Essence
August 17th 2018


6236 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this is a good review



album jams

verdant
Staff Reviewer
August 17th 2018


2288 Comments


hell yeah. saw this band at a festival by complete accident and was enamoured. good rev

Essence
August 22nd 2018


6236 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this needs way more love, this absolutely kills

DungeonBoy
August 22nd 2018


4901 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

oof, like when you accidentally leave a sharpie in your pocket.

Digging: Vouna - Vouna

Essence
August 22nd 2018


6236 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

what

DungeonBoy
August 23rd 2018


4901 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

you get the dreaded black wash.



Also this is a pretty fun record. I dig it

DungeonBoy
August 23rd 2018


4901 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Also, this is like if Kvelertak was good, and that good Kvelertak had a baby with Blood Command. Thanks for reviewing this, and good job, but there isn't any disco on here bud. Except for a track called Death Before Disco, if that's what you're referring to

zaruyache
August 25th 2018


19820 Comments


this sounds niceee

DungeonBoy
September 28th 2018


4901 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I like this album. It's good. The riffs, production, and music are enjoyable. The vocals are amazing for a song or two, but holy smokes do they get monotonous throughout this whole thing.



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