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Oranssi Pazuzu - Mestarin kynsi CD (album) cover


Oranssi Pazuzu

Experimental/Post Metal

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siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic
5 stars With a name that refers to an orange colored Babylonian demon, the Finnish band ORANSSI PAZUZU sounds as if it just moved to our planetary system after leaving the Oort Cloud and more than any other modern metal act has brought the term psychedelic metal into the vernacular while more or less making the final case for its inclusion as a bonafide subgenre of the greater extreme metal universe. Although this band was formed as far back as 2007 in Tampere, Finland, it has remained underground like a collective of bottom-feeding fungi that are only visible to those who venture into the dark recesses of the musical universe however album after album this band has grown in stature by crafting a collision of sounds that acts like A.I. as it self-replicates and learns how to perfect itself after every incremental step.

While there was never any doubt amongst the true believers who have been following this band over the last several years that this collective has latched onto the visionary possibilities that can only expand beyond its wildest dreams, perhaps nobody was expecting how quickly this band emerged from the Finnish fens of the great Scandinavian north has wrested itself into the top position of black metal's highest ranks. With only its fifth album MESTARIN KYNSI ( Finnish for 'Master's Fingernail' ), ORANSSI PAZUZU has struck the perfect balance between the dramatic and calamitous sonic terror of black metal fury with the darkest psychedelic head trips that portend an ominous demonic summoning as if they have found the perfect musical formula to terrorize the astral planes. Talk about a scary trip!

Embedded with a hypnotic minimalistic post-rock style of cyclical grooves and rhythms bringing pioneering forces such as Swans and Neurosis to mind, ORANSSI PAZUZU amplify the psychological effects by taking things up several notches and crafting a true state of visceral anguish expressed in recurring loops of sound that find sonic experimentation and dark avant-garde ambience to frightening new arenas. While the team of Jun-His [Juho Vanhanen] (vocals, guitar), Korjak [Jarkko Salo] (drums), Evill [Ville Leppilahti] (keyboards, synthesizer, organ, effects, percussion) and Ontto [Toni Hietam'ki] (bass) remains solid, this cast of darkness has found the replacement of Ikon [Niko Lehdontie] who takes the place of long time guitarist Moit. With a set of six sprawling tracks, ORANSSI PAZUZU has taken the possibilities of psychedelic black metal back into the realms of the Oort Cloud with sonic swirls of scary atmospheric backdrops and effects that envelop every thumping bass groove, every raspy vocal rage and every thundering percussive backdrop fortified by guitar antics from the deep.

Having been based in the aesthetics of black metal since its inception, ORANSSI PAZUZU has grown more confident in its ability to weave a tapestry of electronic intimidation with suffocating eddies of sonic pulsations balanced in a perfect production where a twinkling drone effect envelops the sonic assault like a black hole and the musicians are left to compete behind a resonating wall of sound. In many ways it seems that the results of the ORANSSI PAZUZU experiment have also found the logical conclusion of the pre-OP sounds in the experimental post-punk act Kuolleet Initiaanit. Going for the psychic jugular, MESTARIN KYNSI is designed to craft the ultimate darkened cloud over the world with the one/two punch of heavily distorted black metal in conjunct with eerie atmospheric spectral slices of astral angst.

Keeping the ORANSSI PAZUZU steeped in the Finnish language only adds to the frigid cold alienation of MESTARIN KYNSI which takes the expected route of post-metal styled guitar riffage drifting into expansive terrains while subtle variations of rhythm, pitch and dynamics slowly ooze their way in and out of the scene but this album takes on various new personas by engaging in many moments of non-metal moments by taking unexpected turns into what almost sounds like black techno. The most shocking development is the third track 'Uusi Teknokratia' which offers a pounding groove as if The Prodigy or Infected Mushroom had seized control and steered the musical flow into a psytrance induced Krautrock fueled black metal frenzy. If blackened Kraut-metal hasn't been coined as of yet then surely it could find a nomination after an album like MESTARIN KYNSI.

While ORANSSI PAZUZU seems unable to deliver a substandard album, it is utterly amazing at how this band has continued to progress its experimental psychedelic infused metal craft into ever tighter fine-tuned epic compositions that have found the perfect balance between the most extreme metal bombast and the lucid dreaming airy ambience that sounds as if it has broken Earth's orbit and set loose in the expansiveness of outer space. Somehow knowing exactly when to break the monotonous spell and take nosedives at hairpin speed precision into progressive fits of rage, this is one band that defies all logic and keeps you on your toes throughout this exhilarating turbulent ride. Having shown even greater potential with the band's latest collaboration with Dark Buddha Rising as The Waste of Space Orchestra, ORANSSI PAZUZU demonstrates clearly how they can now stand on their own two feet and conquer the extreme metal world with a distinctly unique sound that doesn't let up until the very last notes of the frightening drone-fueled closer 'Taivaan Portti' ceases its metallic orotund hysteria. Needless to say, this one exceeded all expectations. All bow down to the new metal masters.

Report this review (#2374485)
Posted Saturday, April 25, 2020 | Review Permalink
4 stars 15/12/2020 - Revisiting my most liked albums of 2020 has invited some reappraisals of my initial thoughts and feelings. While I stand by everything I previously wrote, the balance between the brilliant songwriting and uncomfortable vocal elements has shifted decisively in favor of the brilliant songwriting. The music here is simply otherworldy and undeniably progressive in any very positive sense of the word. Mestarin kynsi is essential listening in 2020 and onward.

--- Full disclosure: I listened to this album genuinely wanting to hate it. Count me as one of those people who barely considers experimental atmospheric black metal as music. But regardless of how you might feel about black metal or the various kinds of atmospheric post-rock sub genres out there today, there is still something irresistible about this record. Every song on this record is a clinic on how to skillfully layer music and build tension. And unlike so much of the music in this sub-genre, the ambience actually contains discernible melodious musical ideas.

However, the tragedy of this record is the insufferable and suffocating black metal vocals. Time after time, vocalist Ontto insists on interrupting the band's groove with the most grating black metal vocals you've ever heard (outside of the lo-fi traditional black metal). It's not that harsh vocals wouldn't work with this music at all, it's the specific style, timing, and perhaps mixing of them that is so off-putting.

Oranssi Pazuzu are clearly an exceptional and envelope shattering group. And while they certainly don't owe it to anyone to change or adapt their sound in anyway, I genuinely regret that their vocal choices are going to deprive a larger audience of hearing what actually makes this band so exceptional.

Report this review (#2374984)
Posted Monday, April 27, 2020 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Honorary Reviewer
2 stars This 50-minute long album is not for the faint-hearted as Finnish Act Oranssi Pazuzu create something which is experimental, dark, and to be honest just plain weird. This is their fifth album since they came together in 2007, and their name is taken from 'Oranssi', meaning 'orange' in their native Finnish language (the colour of cosmic energy) and 'Pazuzu' is the ancient Mesopotamian demon of the wind. So, they are orange cosmic demons of the wind, maybe. For the most part they are combining post rock and atmospheric black metal in a manner which also uses both space rock and krautrock, and while Neurosis are a point of reference so are many others such as Swans. It is eccentric and experimental, yet while there are passages which do make sense there are plenty of others where it feels like the band is just treading water with no emotional build or direction.

The production is deliberately cloudy, and although the bass stands out the guitars tend to fall into a buzzsaw background, while the black metal vocals sound as if they have come from the early Nineties as opposed to the present day. One of the issues I have with it is down to the choice of keyboard sounds, as there are times when it sounds as if they have been sampling Eighties games and it just comes across as twee as opposed to threatening or exciting and does nothing to move the music in a positive direction. I do get the impression, certainly when they move far more into standard black metal territory, that they are quite a different beast in concert, and while I can see myself checking them out if they were in town, listening to this again for pleasure is another matter altogether. Reading the biography this band ticks a lot of boxes for me, so I was looking forward to it, but the overall result is too messy, with a lack of direction.

Report this review (#2447253)
Posted Saturday, September 12, 2020 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Mestarin Kynsi" is the 5th full-length studio album by Finnish, Tampere based act Oranssi Pazuzu. The album was released through Nuclear Blast Records in April 2020. It´s the successor to "Värähtelijä" from 2016 but although there have been four years between the two album releases, Oranssi Pazuzu have not layed low in those years as they released the 2019 Waste of Space Orchestra collaboration album "Syntheosis". An album where Oranssi Pazuzu collaborated with members of fellow countrymen Dark Buddha Rising. There´s been one lineup since the predecessor as guitarist Moit has been replaced by Ikon.

Stylistically the material on "Mestarin Kynsi" is psychadelic blackened rock/metal, influenced by 60s/70s krautrock and spacerock artists like Hawkwind, (early) Pink Floyd, and Can, but with an occasional metallic edge and black metal type screaming vocals (screaming out Finnish language lyrics). The music is raw, repetitive, and hypnotic in nature. Sometimes building from a low volume opening to a loud noisy climax, and other times just full-on rocking from the opening to the end of the track (an example of the latter is the closing track "Taivaan Portti").

The sound production is not lo-fi, but it´s deliberately made to sound like it was recorded live in the band´s rehearsal space, while all the members of the band were trippin´ on bad acid. It´s a savage nightmarish affair which sounds like it was born from endless drug-fueled jamming. There are both mellow and more noisy moments on the album, and some of the latter are so noisy and messy that the wall of sound of drums, two guitars, bass, organ, and vocals, drown each other out, and has the effect that the music becomes a white noise drone (again "Taivaan Portti" comes to mind as a good example of that). I´m sure it´s exactly the effect the band were aiming at, but it´s not for the faint at heart, and it´s not exactly easily accessible music.

So "Mestarin Kynsi" is an album to the listener who enjoys jam-like, repetitive, and hypnotic music. There is structure here, but not regular vers/chorus structures. It´s continuously moving and evolving structures and you´ll have to listen a long time for reoccuring themes or conventional hooks. In that respect the material on "Mestarin Kynsi" is highly experimental, which of course isn´t a surprise if you´re familiar with the band´s preceding releases or their influences. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

Report this review (#2461734)
Posted Friday, October 30, 2020 | Review Permalink
4 stars Listening diary 24th February, 2022: Oranssi Pazuzu - Mestarin Kynsi (avant-garde psychedelic black metal, 2019)

This one's finally starting to click for me - a relief of sorts, since Värähtelijä is one of my favourite albums of all time, and the fact that I wasn't quite getting this one was threatening to put me in the pile of edgelords who complain about bands they like getting famous. I can definitely see why this one caused Oranssi to blow up, but it's not because it's more accessible, it's because it's more bonkers. There's far less of the atmospheric black metal style here, instead they've gone into some even more bizarre fusions including krautrock and synthesisers, and the psychedelia is turned up to 10. It's nowhere near as immersive as their previous records, and perhaps that's why I didn't latch on as easily, but the atmosphere is traded for some incredibly muscular grooves, and the overall creativity of the album couldn't be higher, especially for modern metal.

7.2 (6th listen)

Part of my listening diary from my facebook music blog -

Report this review (#2710161)
Posted Tuesday, March 15, 2022 | Review Permalink
Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams
4 stars Love such a fantastic psychedelic experimental metal from Finland. "Mestarin Kynsi" was released in 2020 as the fifth full-length album of a Finnish metal act ORANSSI PAZUZU, who call themselves a psychedelic / black progressive metal band. Actually this is my first ORANSSI PAZUZU's creation that sounds more experimental, slashing, and melodic than a dark stoner project DARK BUDDHA RISING from the same province. Guess there would be some progressive metal fans who feel not only avantgarde or depressive but also funky, garagey, or rather dreamy via their soundscape. Although the distorted voices are slightly cheesy, their basic musical appearance is quite colourful, wonderful, and delightful. Such a practical, pragmatic element can be heard through the beginning of the first shot "Ilmestys".

Based upon deep, heavy, grangey performances by the rhythm section, what an impressive explosion the keyboard / synthesizer-oriented quirky sound emissions are. Their melodic and rhythmic lines are not so complicated nor destructive enough to drive our head into insanity but every single phrase sounds quite bombastic and framboyant. Musical kicks are consistently tasty and flowery. The similar texture can be felt via the following track "Tyhjyyden Sakramentti" featuring smooth, soothing guitar playing. Sentimental, emotional touches are pretty impressive. Not only their definite extremity but also their intensive experimentalism and revolutionalism unleash our potential. The latter phase produced with heavy industrial keyboard revolutions are wonderful. My favourite.

The third attack "Uusi Teknokratia" is another surrealism. On speedy rhythm turfs, complex melodic appearances dance into madness. An uneasy atmosphere between loud sound distortions is very challenging. Psychedelic freakout essence here and there is also lunatic and fantastic. The terminal part launches a similar vein to lengthy reverberations sometimes heard in Krautrock for us. This one can be grabbed through the former part of the following section "Oikeamielisten Sali" (as if we would listen to "Trixie Stapelton 291" by FILLE QUI MOUSSE). The middle of the song sounds more devastating and dissecting though. And bright instrumental seasonings go forward massively. In "Kuulen Ääniä Maan Alta" , excessive explosive keyboard performances are pleasant and enjoyable. They remind us of another side in the Finnish electronic scene or something. The last "Taivaan Portti" is a kind of perfect death metal. Occlusive continuous post-metallic missiles attack our inner mind. Sadly it's the most plaintive one all around the album.

There are pros and cons for this opus apparently but I feel they did a good job. Finnish experimental metal rules, let me say.

Report this review (#3034202)
Posted Saturday, March 30, 2024 | Review Permalink

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