Oranssi Pazuzu
Värähtelijä


3.5
great

Review

by Robert Davis CONTRIBUTOR (288 Reviews)
March 30th, 2016 | 41 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The pieces are there, but do they all fit? Judge for yourselves.

The increasing hype surrounding Oranssi Pazuzu has been admittedly annoying for me. There's nothing that the Finnish experimental/psychedelic black metal group have done that countless other groups playing the same musical style haven't. I mean, yes, what Oranssi Pazuzu have done throughout their career is notable and successful enough to get them some underground airplay, but not so good that they can be safely called a game-changer for the ever-expanding world of Scandinavian extreme metal. Now that that's out of the way, let me be honest to everyone about my perception of Oranssi Pazuzu: Their work leans more towards a collection of jams, rather than actual songs, and this for me couldn't be any more realistic than describing the band's latest effort, Värähtelijä. Sure, there's an abundance of influences and different sounds to be found here, but at heart I think what really makes the band's core influences comes alive is simply their eagerness to let a psychedelic black metal jam roll out into a (sometimes) strained 10+ minute length. Is this a bad thing? Considering the musical direction of Oranssi Pazuzu's previous work, Valonielu, probably not. But at the end of the day, it simply depends on what you like or what you don't like of the band's output.

The most striking thing you'll find with Värähtelijä is that the black metal part of their sound isn't as prominent any more. Matter of fact, you can only find it obvious in two of the album's seven tracks, being "Hypnotisoitu viharukous" and its successive counterpart, the 18-minute monster that is "Vasemman käden hierarkia". But here's something you may find strange, even conflicting to believe: These are by far the two best songs of Oranssi Pazuzu's latest album. The reasons being are simple. They both provide a seemingly endless array of spiritual energy, explosive musicianship and ambitious songwriting which, if I'm being honest, isn't fully realized elsewhere. It's not that there's a complete lack of these aspects in, say, opener "Saturaatio" or the title track, it's just that if you're the sort of listener looking to feel musical adrenaline and actually enjoy what you're listening to, it will seem most impressive with those two aforementioned songs. That said, the general impression you can get with Värähtelijä ranges through many different emotions. It simply depends what you get out of the album by the end. There's enough musical versatility to impress even the most cynical of black metal fans out there, at least something which will get an eyebrow-raising moment out of every listener devoting a hour of their free time to the record. "Lahja", for example, is almost tribal because of its background ambiance and the unsettling whispers coursing throughout the song, and the album's closer, "Valveavaarus", evokes some sort of distinctive trance which wouldn't sound out of place in a standard acid rock album from the late 60s.

However, what the biggest problem with Värähtelijä is that there seems to be too many eggs in one basket. Oranssi Pazuzu have really taken it upon themselves here to craft many sounds, some of which usually conflicting with one another, and incorporate them somehow into a track which barely exceeds ten minutes. It's not so much the components of the band's musical direction, it's more how they are put together under the guise of a complicated albeit mesmerizing songwriting ethic. In terms of effort, Oranssi Pazuzu have almost outdone themselves with this latest album. Yet consistency, in the process, seems to have gone out of the proverbial window. Take the opener "Saturaatio", for instance. The instrumental build-up evokes quite a few influences, yet only a few manage to reach top priority, and everything else-the inaudible vocal effects, the wispy atmosphere, the almost non-existent bass work-seems lost in a cacophony of everything, which at times amounts to a whole lot of nothing. Another song which provides this unfortunate flaw is the title track, which begins as if to create a storm of raw, vicious black metal sounds, but ends up sounding confused and muddied because of Oranssi Pazuzu's seemingly endless ambition. The title track is in fact worse affected, because by the end there's more lacklustre moments to consider than there are impressive ones. The entire song seems to build up via a repetitive guitar chord and trance-laden synthesiser effects, but it never quite gets to its destination. Even the slight moody change of swirling psychedelia towards the end (strangely evoking parts of the Suspiria soundtrack) can't really pull it out of the rut it got stuck in halfway, and it's thankfully up to the successive song, "Hypnotisoitu viharukous", to re-engage the band's explosive musical menace.

Oranssi Pazuzu seem to have manufactured quite a few puzzle pieces here, but only a few of them actually make sense. There's a lot of things happening, but what Oranssi Pazuzu have forgotten is how to connect everything to make consistency matter more than the sum of the album's parts. Ambition and influential musical direction is undoubtedly in abundance here, but it unfortunately doesn't provide spectacular effects without any sense of what a "song" requires, in the traditional sense of the word. Then again, nothing about Oranssi Pazuzu has ever quite matched up to any sense of "tradition". Maybe that's what Värähtelijä proves best-that Oranssi Pazuzu will continue to defy musical logic by mixing things, twisting them into confused moulds and putting out complex music. They've excelled themselves here, that's for sure, but they've also forgotten to not get ahead of themselves.



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user ratings (193)
3.7
great
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PsychicChris (5)
While I am unfamiliar with Oranssi Pazuzu’s past works, their fourth album is easily one of the be...


Comments:Add a Comment 
linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
March 30th 2016


2620 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

c/c is welcome as always.

Digging: We Lost the Sea - Triumph and Disaster

DungeonBoy
March 30th 2016


7008 Comments


"a cacophony of everything, which at times amounts to a whole lot of nothing." my thoughts exactly on this album/band. I admire the tribal BM blend but it's all a bit too claustrophobic for me most of the time. The parts where this album actually breathes are quite enjoyable. I agree with your thoughts of it being too jammy as well. Great review!

Digging: Alcest - Spiritual Instinct

owen
March 30th 2016


5147 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

BM Swans

TheBarber
March 30th 2016


3849 Comments


I quite like this and review is spot on

Digging: Esoteric - A Pyrrhic Existence

ChoccyPhilly
March 30th 2016


11941 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Ahh yes, finally a review for this.

I agree about the too many eggs in one basket but the opener is probably my favourite metal song this year so far

Digging: Allelic - The Smoke of Atavistic Fires

adr
April 1st 2016


12033 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

this drags and some ideas doesn't work for me, also the last song is shit.

Pretty good overall tho.

Wizard
April 4th 2016


20228 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Your whole opening paragraph is the reason why I love them so much. They jam out and make some funky pysch metal. I don't need themes or predictable song structures to keep things interesting and I think you should have gone into this with that type of mindset.



Do you enjoy older Pink Floyd albums? This has a lot in common with the Sid Barrett years.

linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
April 4th 2016


2620 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Do you enjoy older Pink Floyd albums? This has a lot in common with the Sid Barrett years.



Not as much as I used to admittedly, I prefer the post-Barrett years.

someguest
April 10th 2016


29931 Comments


This intrigues me. I'll give it a spin today.

someguest
April 10th 2016


29931 Comments


BM Swans


I hear/feel it too. I love this two tracks in.

ChoccyPhilly
April 10th 2016


11941 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is probably the best in their discog

someguest
April 10th 2016


29931 Comments


"Vasemman käden hierarkia" is a contender for song of the year.

ChoccyPhilly
April 10th 2016


11941 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Saturaatio >



But I do love the Sunn influences bleeding through on Vasemman

YetAnotherBrick
April 29th 2016


6691 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I basically agree with this review, it's just that the parts on this album where everything falls together right are so good. Vasemman is definitely the best, but i think the runner up is actually the title track. Vasemman barely edges it out just because it has so many different soundscapes to offer. but the title track is such a perfect balance of heavy and trippy. i think folks who like psych but don't get into metal would even appreciate it

ScuroFantasma
Staff Reviewer
May 26th 2016


11746 Comments


Superb review, I should give his a go.

Digging: Mercyful Fate - Melissa

DoctorVelvet
August 12th 2016


179 Comments


Worth checking out this album first? Or should I explore starting somewhere else?

ScuroFantasma
Staff Reviewer
August 13th 2016


11746 Comments


Explore what? This band?

magicuba
October 21st 2016


1418 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I am really likeng the music, I am not fully convinced by the vocals

Digging: Liturgy - H.A.Q.Q.

magicuba
October 22nd 2016


1418 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

honestly this is fucking awesome

magicuba
October 23rd 2016


1418 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

guys are you kidding me? this is sooo underrated, where is the sput hype???



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