Pagan – Black Wash (Album Review)

Pagan – Black Wash
Released: 6th July 2018

Pagan Lineup —

Nikki Brumen // Vocals
Xavier Santilli // Guitar
Dan Bonnici // Bass
Matt Marasco // Drums

Pagan Online —


Melbournian rock quartet Pagan are no less than enigmatic and their debut album is no different. A collection of emotional metal disco moments, Black Wash manages to suck the listener into their own emotional rollercoaster of addictive dance and no less addicting contemplation.


Pagan manage to fuse the upbeat and nostalgia reeking riffs of older rock, scratchy yet undeniably catchy vocals à la black metal, heaped with a thick coating of relentless punk energy. The closest comparison would be a bastard of Blood Command, first album Kvelertak, and the drumming of Death from Above, if it were all made in a grimy discotheque hidden in the heart of a desert.

My favourite thing about the album is the bass. It’s so prominent and drives all the songs in the dirtiest, grooviest way possible. ‘Blood Moon’ and ‘Year of the Dog’ both feature prominent contributions by Dan Bonnici as he continually pumps energy into the songs like a davening madman. Bonnici’s dedication allows Xavier Santilli to weave his magicks over the rest of the albums, bewitching his guitar with that pure rock energy that makes the songs so damn fun to dance to. Be they riffs that make you want to headbang or jump around like one possessed, Santilli has you covered.

Whilst the weavers of magick may be the strings, the true invoker of it all is Nikki Brumen. Screeching vitriol from the top of church spires, her voice echoes off the darkly grim streets below. Loud and coarse enough to rot the timbers of any building in ‘Imitate Me’ ricochets between deep and throaty growls to that trademark yell that has cemented my faith in anything they’re selling. That song not only shows Brumen’s skills, but also those of Matt Marasco. Let me tell you, the drumming on this album is punk as fuck, but this song… This song is a mind blower. Marasco’s work on the hi-hats and toms flirts between danceable and upbeat to absolutely crushing.


Wondrously unique and inexplicably intoxicating, I have been trapped in the liturgical mires of the ‘Church of Black Wash’ and don’t expect to be let out any time soon. Tell Jesus I said hi and that I’m too busy dancing to answer his calls.

Standout Tracks —

Imitate Me, Blood Moon, Year of the Dog

pagan black wash

Pagan – Black Wash tracklisting

1. Il Malocchio Si Apre
2. Death Before Disco
3. Silver
4. Imitate Me
5. Holy Water
6. Blood Moon
7. Year of the Dog
8. The Greatest Love Songs
9. Wine and Lace
10. Fluorescent Snakes
11. Il Malocchio Si Chiude

Rating: 5/5
Black Wash is Out Now via EVP Recordings. Grab a copy here
Review by Dylonov Tomasivich

Revisit Pagan frontwoman Nikki Brumen co-hosting Wall of Sound: Up Against The Wall right here


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