15 Jan 2016

Oranssi Pazuzu: "Värähtelijä"

Soothing tales of the mind's echoing paranoia
Is there such a thing as progressive black metal? Whenever anyone adds just a tiny bit of free thinking into the stale melting pot known as modern black metal everybody has a nervous breakdown tossing the term "post black metal" at it like it cures cancer. But if there's any band out there that deserves a defining term at all, it surely is Oranssi Pazuzu. Since their debut in 2009 they've been in a state of constant roiling evolution, never quite content with their style, always pushing borders. Every album since then has had something different going on, and every time they've got new material coming out it's bound to be surprising.

For this release the Finnish group has teamed up with studio-genius Julius Mauranen who's known especially for his work with lo-fi and shoegaze bands, lending a certain expectation to the sound and propensity of the arrangements on the album.

Oranssi Pazuzu is a band whos horizons are vast. They take cues from all manners of groups, old and new, but mix it all together to form something unique and exciting. Their fourth album, "Värähtelijä", finds the Finnish ensemble drifting through space towards their ultimate destiny, toying around with drawn out space rock elements as if possessed by the potent spirit of Hawkwind. A thick wall of sound approaches through soundscapes sprawling with mind-tearing instrumentation. "Värahtelijä" spreads out like a fog, covering impressive ground but ultimately always converging on the same spots and returning to the inherent black metal style that lies at the very core of their music along with their darling psychedelia.

"It's a breathing entity, alive with tumultuous frequencies and currents, reverberating with cosmic purpose."

Though tempos are high, although of fluctuating intensity, the album isn't inherently furious in disposition, but rather esoterically chaotic in the same way experimental jazz and freak-out psychedelia from the sixties is. It's a breathing entity, alive with tumultuous frequencies and currents, reverberating with cosmic purpose. The Finnish group never makes the same album twice, and as such the band effectively recoils at the very notion of tradition.

With this type of music you often see minutes spent on building up an atmosphere with no other real purpose, but there's not a second wasted on "Värahtelijä". Every individual element makes up some minuscule but essential part of the bigger picture, an impressive feat for an album exceeding 70 minutes in length. Their hypnotic basslines provides the foundation on which the guitars, effects and vocals build to form the eldritch leviathan that is Oranssi Pazuzu's fourth album. Though the shoegazing eerieness is their prime forté, other tracks like "Hypnotisoitu viharukous" and "Valveavaruus" sound more like echoes of a decadent symphony long forgotten. There's variation to be found, but only to such an extent that the album still sounds like a wholesome unit.

Oranssi Pazuzu sets the bar high for the coming year. A strong start to 2016 for sure.
For fans of Deathspell Omega and Dodecahedron.


Released in 2016 by Svart Records (Europe)//20 Buck Spin (North America)


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