Review by Mark B.
How does a band sound very much like Pennywise, yet not? When the frontman happens to be ex-Pennywise vocalist Jim Lindberg, the comparisons are going to be quite difficult to avoid. This review is no different, and yet it is.
Admittedly, the album does sound quite similar to Pennywise (which isn’t such a bad thing), and yet it doesn’t. Luckily, instead of rehashing past glories and giving us Pennywise: Redux, Lindberg and Co. build on the foundations of punk to present the masses with a polished, slightly poppier (and to be clear, I DO NOT MEAN POP-PUNK) and highly anthemic sound that wouldn’t be out-of-place being played on hard rock stations across the US, yet still rocks ass. In other words, music that places emphasis more on precision and melody without sacrificing the sound and attitude that made Lindberg such a strong presence in punk.
From the start of the opening track “The System,” the Black Pacific successfully distances itself from the land of Pennywise. With the first 20 seconds exhibiting strangely effected and treated guitars, it prepares you for the double time slam that will inevitably rear its head. And when the moment arrives, the vocal harmonies step it up a notch, being layered just over the punk throw down between the guitar and drums, letting you enjoy both the tune and moshing frantically without giving yourself a booming headache.
The rest of the album continues on with this pace, led by the renewed vigor ringing from Lindberg’s vocals and one hell of a rhythm crew (drummer Alan Vega from Good Guys in Black and bassist Davey Latter from Everest). Their musical chemistry oozes through such stand-out tracks, like the slam danceable “When It’s Over”, the sweet highway-cruising rock of “Defamer”, the industrial tinge of my personal favorite track off the album, “Ruinator” and the closer “No Purpose”, which is the most reminiscent of Pennywise, with Lindberg even name checking his final Pennywise album in the chorus Reason to Believe. Then again, you couldn’t possibly go wrong with any track on the record, so judge for yourself.
It would be a crime not to mention one of the main elements that make this album such a stand out: Jim Lindberg’s surprisingly fantastic guitar work. In fact, that dude can shred his fucking ass off. Who knew? It is expansive playing, covering both crunching and experimental territory, injecting the songs beyond wall-to-wall simple chord progressions, smothered in metal zone pedal distortion. It makes you wonder why Fletcher Dragge (of Pennywise) hogged all the guitar glory in the former musical entity for himself. Maybe that’s the reason we now have the Black Pacific…dun dun dunnnnnn!
In any event, I would recommend that you to get your asses to the store and pick-up the debut self titled LP by The Black Pacific A-S-A-FUCKING- P!
Rating: Kick Fucking Ass. Definitely renewed my interest in punk rock…make that well made smart punk.