Space operas are a timeless bit of cinematic storytelling that never seem to get old or tired. Soaring past stars, watching great battles, and meeting characters from other times and dimensions is a huge part of the drama, and it makes for a captivating time that helps you forget your worries for a while.
It’s not that Waste of Space Orchestra are here to usher in a new Star Wars or something, but the music packed into “Syntheosis,” their imaginative, explosive first record, should be enough to keep imaginations working overtime to the point of sweating blood. That sounds like what the 10 musicians from Oranssi Pazuzu and Dark Buddha Rising who comprise this project had when they dreamt this material for a mystery performance at last year’s Roadburn and then hit the studio to reinterpret their creation. Three characters—The Shaman (voiced by Vesa Ajomo), The Seeker (Juho Vanhanen), and The Possessor (Marko Neuman)—go on a deep search for knowledge as the three beings are sucked through a portal into outer space. After their struggles on their path, they’re forced to melt their minds and experiences together to become one collective consciousness. This story is told amid a pit of psychedelic space metal, black metal, doom, and many other elements, making each trip in this nine-part journey a bend that’ll keep you guessing to the end.
“Void Monolith” opens the record with quiet, trippy sounds, making you see stars before the track bursts open with guitars sprawling all over. Whirry and strange sounds envelop, amping up the drama and turning right into “The Shamanic Vision,” Ajomo’s cut that opens with rustic acoustics and drums circling. Finally, monstrous screams barrel through the gates as the keys sweep over everything, making minds race. Strange air enters the atmosphere as gurgly growls return, the drums sets the frantic pace, and the track ends in dust. “Seeker’s Reflection” focuses on Vanhanen’s role beginning with steady percussive waves, cool riffs boiling, and wordless calls rousing the ready. A sci-fi feel warps the edges of the song as melodies swell, and the sounds flood the space like a cosmic nightmare. Zaps, fire, and chaos boils over, setting the stage for “Journey to the Center of Mass” that starts jazzy and chilled out. A trance-inducing, hypnotic vibe is achieved right away, pushing the journey through the first half of the song before doom clouds arrive to darken the area. From there, the track gets vicious, landing blows and setting up a bizarre ambiance that spreads, bubbles, and destroys. The madness liquefies and turns into a mind-altering space of chimes and fuzziness that ushers the track to a black hole.
“Wake Up the Possessor” is Neuman’s cut that begins with spooky keys and a female voice out front entrancing and bringing a heavy sense of eeriness. The savage growls then land, with the other voice carrying behind the carnage and the bass work buzzing and driving. The pace sweeps before opening into a storm, the shrieks utterly destroy, and a brief pullback gives way for some hearty bellowing before the tracks chugs out. “Infinite Gate Opening” moves us further along in the story with growled chants, the drumming burning a pathway into your head, and a strange atmosphere that fills the room. That drills into a total psychotic breakdown, a complete mind-fuck that dwells in galactic noise and tension. “Vacuum Head” is heavy and aggressive, with the bass playing smearing, noise blaring, and the tempo drilling into the earth. The track gets raucous with crazed shrieks, the drumming rounding out, and the spirit bleeding into the stars. “The Universal Eye” has stinging noise, sounds that swirl around planets, and a transmission that fades out and heads into the 13:25-long closing title track. Synth butts heads with burly playing, harsh shrieks, and painful shots that damage the mind. Once the track returns to earth, the playing goes doomy and sludgy, pounding away along with the animalistic growls. The music continues to double down with the noise spreading its wings and soaring off into the distance.
Hyperbolic as this may be, you’re not bound to find a record the rest of the year, or at any time, that will sound anything like “Syntheosis.” Waste of Space Orchestra may have been born out of the desire for experimentation, but they’ve hit upon something that’s trippy and completely fucked up. This is a space saga that goes outside the human mind, defies everything you know physically and spiritually, and delivers a new experience every time you spend the more than 70 minutes with this animal.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/wasteofspaceorchestra
To buy the album, go here: https://www.svartrecords.com/product/waste-space-syntheosis-album/
For more on the label, go here: https://www.svartrecords.com/