PICK OF THE WEEK: Oranssi Pazuzu continue warping alien sounds on mind-melting ‘Mestarin Kynsi’

We’ve all had those transformative live experiences when we see a band and somehow leave our bodies and enter into an experience that’s much deeper than just seeing artists perform songs from their catalog. I remember the first time seeing Neurosis and somehow starting on one end of the crowd and ending up on the other with no realization I had even moved. I was sober.

I had one of those this past October when I went to Detroit to see psyche black metal explorers Oranssi Pazuzu in a building that, at first glance, seemed far too small for their sound. Maybe it even was, but when they opened up and started playing, everything changed, and I was instantly pulled into their performance and not let go until 90 minutes later. I’d have already been excited for the band’s new fifth full-length “Mestarin Kynsi,” but witnessing them in their element catapulted their importance to me. I had no idea when I dug into these six songs that I’d be taking an adventure with them I couldn’t have anticipated. Their penchant for krautrock-fueled black metal remains intact, but their further tunneling into thick electronics and electrifying hypnosis makes this record one that can both numb your mind and devastate your body and soul through and through. The band—vocalist/guitarist Jun-His, guitarists Ikon and Moit, bassist Ontto, synth/organ/effects wizard Evill, drummer Korjak—explores and expands over 50 minutes that’ll feel like they fly by in half of that as they run roughshod over your brain.

“Ilmestys” opens the record and sounds like the awakening into a higher dimension as noise swirls around you, and Jun-His’ maniacal wails ravage everything in front of him. The track keeps swimming with a strange pace that warps minds, while a gigantic burst emerges out of alien winds, as keys melt off to meet the twirling riffs. At the end, the guitars roar like a mechanical beast while synth rains down before an abrupt end. “Tyhjyyden Sakramentti” runs a healthy 9:37 and whirs along with looping bass, letting your head swim in the stars. Creaky growls jolt as the song opens up fully and speeds into curves, leaving you hanging on for dear life. A synth fog envelops, lulling you into serenity before shrieks waylay you, and the track starts to race and hiss. Guitars round up as keys create a storm, everything turns dangerously, ending in a pit of hell. “Uusi Teknokratia” runs 10:20, the longest track on the album, and it, too, centers itself deep in the cosmos, bringing strange echoes and heat, overwhelming as the electronic elements work their magic. Voices repeat in the fray as trance-like playing settles in before the calm is ripped apart, and sparks fly. The bass crawls beneath the din as noise wafts, and everything disappears into the clouds.

“Oikeamielisten Sali” is ushered in by thick keys as hypnosis unfurls, popping into a cool drive before shrieks arrive, and ugliness segues into a deeper realm of chaos. The synth flutters in space, which isn’t a surprise, but this time is digs deeper into the unknown. A strange ringing meets up with a power surge as the music piles in the poundage, and the track disintegrates into static. “Kuulen Ääniä Maan Alta” reveals mechanical weirdness and Jun-His defacing with his monstrous roars, while the lower end pulsates, and thick basslines barrel their way into the scene. Electronic waves and near-carnival keys amplify the insanity on the other end of the line, while momentum burrows deeper into a vortex, the music shimmers, and strange clouds slowly fade. “Taivaan Portti” closes the record with noise hanging like a swarm of insects before the drone is pummeled to death with a charring pace and shouts that scar mentally and physically. It feels like your brains are being splattered as a series of blasts send panic flying before the cacophony slowly starts to wind down, machine-like winds clear the debris, and the remnants of the multitude of alien fires burn away.

It’s almost cliché to describe a band with a sound that delves from the norm as indescribable, but Oranssi Pazuzu are a band that really must be experienced—especially live—to be fully understood. Even then, there are dark clouds. What they achieve on “Mestarin Kynsi” defies even their most ambitious twists and turns and continues their immersive exploration to the far beyond. There’s not another band like Oranssi Pazuzu, and they’ve morphed into a form no other band should even try to replicate for fear of going mad.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/oranssipazuzuband/

To buy the album, go here: https://shop.nuclearblast.com/en/shop/index.html

For more on the label, go here: https://www.nuclearblast.com/en/label/