Review by Vinny for Oranssi Pazuzu - Mestarin kynsi (2020)
As the boundaries and edges of metal and music in general continue to be pushed and stretched, almost inevitably the influence of the past moves along with this innovation regardless of the pace or momentum at the time. It's fair to say that roots go along way back and unless you are going to do something really avant-garde and genre defining (genre-creating perhaps?) the relevance of influence is a key component in most band's repertoire regardless of how unique their approach or sound. I should go on record here as saying I like Mestarin kynsi very much. I like its boldness, its depth and its refreshing approach to structure.
Another reason I enjoy the record so much is because it reminds me some damn much of Hawkwind that there's times when i have to check I am not listening to Space Ritual. Like Hawkwind, I feel Oranssi Pazuzu are an acquired taste, not for everyone perhaps but when you do avant-garde this well then you can afford to be niche with your audience. Mestarin kynsi goes beyond mere psychedelia and atmosphere though, it plays like a macabre dance ritual overall. Some soundtrack to the most bizarre of rituals that aims to shift the very fabric of time around you.
What the album does brilliantly is shift through gears effortlessly, jumping from deep atmospheric incantations into progressive structures and dark, black metal intensity in the course of mere minutes yet never letting anything slip out of place, maintaining the revs in gear so nothing feels like it is running away with itself. For all the expansion in tracks there's still the feel of a foot hovering over the brake pedal at all times ready to ease up when required without ever needing an emergency stop.
Melodies soar as leads burst like solar flares on tracks and the atmospherics cleverly track these bursts superbly, raising songs to new heights. The whole album has a feel of organic growth, like a jam session started in the 60's that is still going some sixty years later. It doesn't feel bloated though, which was my main concern going into the record. Although some tracks do stretch the nine or ten minute mark, overall the album is listenable in one sitting and often feels like variances on a theme as opposed to always being unique tracks each time. I'm sold.