Review Summary: Finnish psychedelic black metal about aliens from space; think about that for a second.
So, another chapter in the book of space metal is written. Oranssi Pazuzu is a young Finnish psychedelic black metal band whose world of lyrics and musical inspiration revolve largely around the vastness of space. At least, thats what they want us to believe.
Now the thing about Oranssi Pazuzu is that, when it all comes down to it, they don't know how to play proper black metal. They even said that themselves. Most of these guys were members of a long-running surrealistic rock band and had no metal background in music before they saw Emperor live and decided they wanted to make "dark music". Frontman Jun-His and bassist Ontto gathered some musicians and thus a refreshing debut album was born. That was four years ago.
The first thing that hits me about Kosmonument is that the psychedelica has been punched up some knots. You have wailing guitars at low-volume, alien noises eminating from somewhere beyond and fitting with a string of fast-paced drumming and guitar punishment, you have a sound that fans of Weakling or perhaps Sólstafir could appreaciate; most notably in the third track "Uusi Olento Nousee" (meaning roughly "A New Creature Rises"). What surprises me about, both that track and throughout the album, is the number of doom metal aspirations thrown about; after a sudden surge of lightning-fast strumming and drum banging Pazuzu will, with no warning, suddenly turn the speed down to minimum level and just drag you through the mud with the slowness acknowledged mostly to bands like Bongripper and Cough.
And that caught me by surprise because, compared to their debut effort "Muukalainen Puhuu" which sought to single out a solitary riff, jamming on it and then returning on it throughout the album, giving this cohesive feel and turning the album into a journey into a new style of black metal, the deal with "Kosmonument" seems to the emphasis on the psychedelic feel and the images and visuals you can form if you snap on a pair of headphones and just zone out. You have tracks like "Luhistuva aikahäkki" (roughly, "Collapsing Timecage") and Andromeda (meaning, well, yeah, you get it) to kick home this fact.
Both tracks have a base of distorted metal but is warped with spacey guitar work and cymbal hits that just pack them with punch. As I said, if you are already a fan of the more progressive or psychedelic aspect of black metal, like Sólstafir mentioned before or even DarkSpace, I will almost gaurantee that you could find lots of good listening hours in this album.
All in all, I must say that I was very surprised with how much I liked this LP. I am still on the fence on whether I enjoy this second effort or the debut more but I am pretty sure that Kosmonument will make my list of top releases this year, simply because Oranssi Pazuzu managed to do what they did four years ago; give a refreshing touch to an age-old genre like black metal.