Pagan – Black Wash

Pagan’s long awaited debut album is about to be released and we found ourselves wondering if the world is ready, as the power that these four from Australians have produced is truly electrifying.

By Martin Frank

Some are calling it black metal and we have to agree, it fits perfectly when you have a possessed banshee screaming out the lyrics. Pagan are not for everyone though, with Nikki Brumen sounding like a cross between a crazed Suzie Q and Rush’s Geddy Lee with some early screaming Marilyn Manson thrown in for good measure taking the tracks to another level. We’re not entirely sure that screaming every song is completely necessary though, as the lyrics do tend to become lost and the words are often unheard.
Having said that this album is fun, and the music does exactly what we want it to do. It’s explosive, powerful and at times even fills the room, with plenty of chords to dance to in hells disco. The band also features Xavier Santilli on lead, Dan Bonnici on bass and Matt Marasco on drums – these guys are on form all the way through, masterfully commanding the tracks behind Nikki’s vocals.
Black Wash is filled with truly awesome tracks – Death Before Disco is devilishly heavy with Matt’s drums crashing through the tune making your head nod, and Nikki’s cries are not so much vocals because her words are a lost voice crying out in the storm created by the band. Together it works somehow. Imitate me is again a clever track, having punk patches and a dance theme all within the Pagan crescendo that will have crowds of fans jumping in the mosh pit and dancing in the wings.
There are so many great tracks here that get better and better after listening, Blood Moon is heavy and hard, whereas Year of the Dog and The Greatest Love Songs have others in the band harmonising and sharing the vocals and it gives us a break from Nikki’s screaming which after a few tracks we were starting to find slightly irritating. We’re positive that the lyrics are good – we just don’t ever get a chance to hear them. Marilyn Manson stepped away from the screaming and in doing so revealed interesting and exciting lyrics, we’d like to think Pagan’s songs are the same. We would scream along with them if we knew what to scream!
Wine and Lace towards the end of the album is incredible, an atomic bomb of a track that explodes in your face and leaves you for dead – it’s great and is just the sort of thing to boost your energy making you want to join in with their Pagan lifestyle.
Pagan are a storm coming so be warned, batten down the hatches and lock all the doors – you can either hide in the cellar and under the bed or wear you big boots, favourite torn t-shirt and jeans and go out and face it. Sure, we think we should hear more of Nikki’s vocals, but when the storm comes we’ll be there ready to be sacrificed to their Gods in a slaughter of music and banshee screaming.