Album Review: ORANSSI PAZUZU - Mestarin Kynsi
Artist: Oranssi Pazuzu Album: Mestarin Kynsi Genre: Psychedelic Black Metal Review by Alex Logan When asked about the most important learning from a religious or spiritual scripture to live day by day, which famous leader said – ‘just let it take you, it will take you and the route has been planned ahead. The seeds have been planted there for it to take you places. But on the other hand, the interpretation of that is yours’? Anyone? Not surprising. The answer is no famous leader has ever said that – spiritual or religious. Unless that famous leader is Jun-His. And ‘Mestarin kynsi’ is the scripture.
By making the visionary statement, the vocalist and guitarist of Finnish five piece Oranssi Pazuzu encapsulates everything that this genius audible scripture can deliver to any listener. Typically shifted with a standard ‘psychedelic black metal’ label, this album builds on a developed maturity to present a unique and obscure expedition that turns the curious heads of the most disinterested. The principle of ‘you should never judge a book by its cover’ rings strong - not only because the cover is still a mystery (even to the band) but the global chart success across multiple continents is a growing testament to how essential this listen really is. The voluntary indoctrination kicks off like you’ve just woken up, teleported from what we know on Earth. "Illmestys" begins as you are taking in your surroundings, where surety means nothing. The flow is driven by funkily distorted sounds echoing a bullfrog as godly wrenching vocals enter the fray stunningly. The voice is contextualised as an overarching higher power with the synthesiser playing a major accompanying part to the saz’s droney ambience. This opener has an unsettling creep throughout that concludes with samplers pouring from every corner, unleashing a torrent of tranciful dereliction, ending in a calamity of fuzzed squeak.
For most, "Tyhjyyden sakramentti" is a welcome reprieve. Elegantly water-rippling, the calming start places us in a quiet, desolate sanctuary. The feeling of the unknown lurks ever-presently through the built up tirade of layered distortion, that eventually unravels into a swelling punk and orchestral breakdown that to the very end continues to mystify the audible ecosystem.
The band’s first official music video and stand out track on the release, "Uusi teknokratia", has immediately present from the get go the eeriness of a horror movies’ credit roll mashed with a circus of ill-feeling. Leaving the listener completely on edge, a spiral of claustrophobic discontent rings throughout and attaches like a bad smell you can’t shake. Crushing breakdowns release an avalanche of real groove, brilliantly accompanied by those shrieking live strings. Ultimately interrupted by a well intervened sample-filled coda that brings us to the core chaos of the song, the feeling of being followed is at the forefront of your consciousness throughout.
One of the key features of the songwriting process throughout was the band’s desire to test the sound in the live environment before tweaking it in the studio later. This authenticity is evident in "Oikeamielisten Sali." A mesmerising introduction that resembles a funky camel ride into an oasis odyssey, the very Eastern-minded base evokes imagery of ancient ceremonies being conducted in front of the ruling family. That notion starts to develop into a real hub of multiple layers dragging your attention each way. Imagine feeling at ease in a warped psychedelic vision travelling at speed, as passages feature more traditional black metal yet drift off into beats of woodwind-infused Japanese gaming sounds from the 1990’s. The musical complementation shines throughout and fades sublimely into "Kuulen aania maan alta."
Met with a surprising techno-Nirvana-like groove, the maturity of the song throughout really propels this hymn as more traditionally headbanging and industrially-familiar yet more spine-tinglingly melodic than anything else on the album. Smartly transcending and mystical in its rabbit-hole drop and radical tempo change, it’s the perfect build up for the all mighty conclusion. The apocalyptic ending reverberates seemingly endlessly as "Taivaan portti" is by far the heaviest track on the album. It is in essence the final chapter of the religious enclave we have been trying to avoid and escape throughout. Charismatic groove and vroom from the strings fills every spare silence in the ecosystem sound with slick audible gear changes. No stone is left unturned as the white light becomes the focal point to the very end.
Simply - there is something for everyone here.
While the sound resembles similar experiences projected by close friends Dark Buddha Rising and Belgian psychedelic rockers Wolvennest, Oranssi Pazuzu has finally broken the barrier that allows extreme delights like this to be rightly illuminated through granular and superb optimisation of its audible versatility and creation that should truly grab any listener’s attention. It allows for engagement, relation or emotional evocation through a mind-bending blend of visionary, mood-changing, agile black metal fused with historical and modern strands of strings, electronica and synthesiser. ‘Mestarin kynsi’ showcases the potential to be a revolutionary reference point in new infusion within black metal as a genre - that will no doubt open the floodgates to new ears and minds. In line with the famous Australian phrase ‘You’ll never never know, if you never never go” - just let it take you. Who knows – maybe you’ll end up a spiritual leader…with a scripture.
Mestarin kynsi is out now via Nuclear Blast Records.
Oranssi Pazuzu Bandcamp: https://oranssipazuzu.bandcamp.com/