Review Summary: Blackened-doom progressive psychedelic space rock--hey wait, come back!
With a name like Waste of Space Orchestra and a string of descriptors like “blackened-doom progressive psychedelic space rock,” you’d be forgiven for already hating this. But hear me out. Featuring all
of Finnish black metal wizard Oranssi Pazuzu and their drone counterparts, Dark Buddha Rising, Syntheosis
is a sum of its parts; an unwieldy pedigree from metal’s weirdest recesses. I’m not going to pretend that this isn’t an indulgent side-piece--it is. But Waste of Space Orchestra have elevated their debut above the masturbatory ego-trip that it could have become.
What began as a one-off live performance commissioned by Roadburn Festival in 2018 has grown into one of metal’s most original experiments of the year. Their beginnings have lent to an improvisational feeling, where unexpected laser zaps crash into expected black metal; where space-rock cadences bounce upon on a bed of drone. Born from 10 musicians who themselves were already so excessive
the album is full of droning interludes, wobbly synths, and theremin (maybe? I don’t know.) It’s like a phoned in 80s spin-off film called Oranssi Pazuzu in Space
. As eye-roll inducing as it sounds Syntheosis
takes all of this and whips it into a long form psychedelic suite. As a cohesive experience the band does its best to recycle riffs and themes, but throughout the album’s 65-minute runtime its difficult to keep any of that straight. The album moves between hypnotic tribalistic rhythms of drone and electronics, to blackened fury with waterfalls of gnashing guitar and berating percussion. It’s just a weird and beautiful beast.
is a wealth of surprises. For those averse to indulgent names, absurd genre bending, and anything “progressive,” the album may come as a revelation.