Review by Vinny for Oranssi Pazuzu - Värähtelijä (2016)
Once more unto the breach as I take on my second Oranssi Pazuzu full-length. The first foray into their discography saw a shiny gatefold vinyl copy of Mestarin Kynsi arrive in the post such was my level of enjoyment from it. On the basis of that experience I approached this record thinking I knew what to expect having digested the aforementioned release over many sittings. Although probably near impossible to predict let alone map, an Oranssi Pazuzu record does come with some discernible traits. Chaotic yet progressive structures, scathing black metal assaults and dense atmospherics, drenched in waves of psychedelic hysteria and near cosmic lengths of reach. All of these are present virtually on track one on Värähtelijä.
There's nothing pretty about anything OP have done (I suspect - yet to experience all of their discography). Their 2016 album is absolutely terrifying yet immensely impressive at the same time. Throughout its seven tracks there is an ominous sense of being lulled into a false sense of security by the calmer, more organised passages that crackle with the tension that comes with knowing that an imminent disruption to this equilibrium is due. Things never feel settled on this record and that makes for a unique listening experience. As such, it is an album that bristles with tautness bordering on sheer panic. Sometimes the follow through of that threat never comes within the track that it starts to build in, instead you find yourself peering at the counter to see if a particular track has gone away or if the same one has taken some unearthly shift and you are yet to be hit with the next disorientating impact.
You can almost be forgiven for thinking that at times, two different tracks are playing. Like when you are streaming music and accidentally start an album on YouTube through the same audio source. This is the real clever bit as since the album overall has minimal direct black metal links, the ethos of the harsh and scathing nature of the genre is substituted by the band deploying the psychedelic sounds as direct contrast to rhythms or tempos to develop this sense of opposing forces or interests. The wavering sounds of a keening organ-like effect throughout the title track is a mesmerising example of this. What starts off as playing like some dark soundtrack to some Scandanavian detective drama soon takes on a real otherworldly slant. Likewise, the stabbing strings of Hypnotisoitu viharukous invoke this same sense of distraction from core elements of the track to offer unique contrast.
When in full on riff mode, the band are slapping Opeth-esque licks on the table like playing cards in a hi-stakes game of poker. Although they play their cards close to their chests for the most part of each track, I would suggest that the crippling combinations that (somehow) form such inspiring structures are down to one or two cards up their sleeves also.
Two records into the discography and I am completely sold on Oranssi Pazuzu. Their brand of psychadelic black metal with progressive influences is perhaps a genre all by itself, but wherever your genre boundaries land on this one it is still one of the best records to come out of Finland in the last decade, indeed maybe even out of Europe as a whole.