Review Summary: Oranssi Pazuzu progress in strides while still holding on to the artful anger that personifies the genre
Space rock and black metal in theory make for strange bedfellows, but -- aesthetics aside – their commonalities are more than you'd think. Hear me out, I know, I know. While the bleak minimalism and somewhat bestial nature of black metal flies in the face of the effect driven wankery and massive tonal walls of space rock, both are at thrive off of the same open ended and indifferent atmosphere, as deep within their respective walls of reverb is an echoing emptiness. Sure, on one side it's an internal reflection of nihilism and on the other it's an outward and nerdy celebration of science fiction as sound, but if the recent upsurge in outside layered influences in atmospheric black metal, or the last decade of Enslaved's career, have taught us anything, it's that sometimes such contrasting art forms can come together in the most surprising of ways. To prove this, all one has to do is listen to Oranssi Pazuzu. The Finnish black-progsters combine the ethereal metaphysical bleakness of black metal with the lonely yet stunning vastness of the heavens in such a way that it feels as if they are one and the same.
is a constantly evolving and ever complex listen. It's raw and unforgiving production melds gracefully with haunting synth flourishes that shift and recollect in stunning cacophony that is just as personal as it is otherworldly. Since the band keeps its atmospheric focus with its electronics, the guitar work found on the record acts as a contrasting rhythm section to the drums. It's a hypnotic web of syncopated madness. This manifests instantly in opener “Vino Verso” as the rhythmic interplay between the two instruments acts not only as a framework for sonic experimentation, but also as a powerful drone that anchors the space like atmosphere back down to Earth. That's not to say that all of the haze and beauty on Velonielu
rests solely in the synthesizers. The soft/loud dynamics and built upon a series of creeping interludes that recall the cascading delay of Cave-In's Jupiter
, albeit in a reworked, more solemn display.
is an absolutely stunning achievement. At a time when more and more direct outside influences are leaving their mark on black metal as a whole, Oranssi Pazuzu progress in strides while still holding on to the artful anger that personifies the genre.