Pagan Rhythms works because it’s inventive on multiple levels. Musically, it takes sizeable dollops of its constituent parts, but mixes them with an economy that reminds us that in the right hands less is indeed more. So while Night Terrors initially explodes with the kind of riffery and gruffness that’ll turn the heads of Mastodon fans, it eventually refines its punishment to a lean drive that’s no less captivating. Elsewhere, the sublimely-named Armageddon Honkytonk & Saloon highlights the album’s eerier leanings, deepening the mood with a liberal use of the kind of spooky samples Rob Zombie would pour in by the bucketload.
And then there’s the narrative, which is as propulsive as the tunes themselves. At a time when we’re discussing the attention span of listeners and their patience for listening to albums chronologically, it’s exciting to come across one that’s as compulsively consumable as the TV shows people will happily binge watch. Raw, raging and refined, Pagan Rhythms is a ride you won’t regret taking, again and again.
For fans of: Gojira, Mastodon, Exodus
Pagan Rhythms is out now via Century Media