Friday 9 January 2015

Oranssi Pazuzu - Valonielu

Finland keeps producing amazing bands. More progressive than their Scandinavian neighbours and with a keen eye for individualism. One of the main reasons for this shift in musical quality has been Finnish label Svart Records, whom on this occasion with North American brethren 20 Buck Spin, brought to life the third-full length from Tampere's Oranssi Pazuzu back in 2013. Valonielu features six-tracks brimming with progressive black metal that has more in common with USBM than it does with the ice-cold, anti-human take of those of their home continent.


1. Vino Verso
2. Tyhja Tempelli
3. Uraanisula
4. Reika Maisemassa
5. Olen Aukaissut Uuden Silman
6. Ympyra On Viva Tomussa

More than ever, I crave both engaging music and the time to immerse myself in it. Alas, it’s all the more difficult to find time now, which makes it all the more special when it comes along. I’ve been meaning to sit down with this album for a long time! I’ve read so much about Oranssi Pazuzu in various publications and immediately they seem very captivating. Opening song Vino Verso appears amidst a swathe of sci-fi effects and off-kilter progression. I appreciate that sci-fi might not be the right kind of comparison for the sound on Valonielu, but each to their own. Vino Verso isn’t a speed-laden BM song and it doesn’t need to be. It builds your curiosity with it’s other-worldliness.

Both the album opener and Tyhja Tempelli are relatively short compositions (in black metal terms anyway). Both feature plenty of melody, especially the latter thanks to excellent guitar and electronic effects. While Oranssi Pazuzu may be adept at writing shorter songs, they excel when it comes to more progressive and sprawling numbers. Uraanisula starts with calming acoustic guitar but quickly changes take completely, with space-age blips and low-slung guitar. Again, majoring on OP’s mid-paced tempos, it captures the haunting beauty of the band perfectly. So much so, that it would be unfair to lumber them solely with the black metal tag. The improvisational sliding guitar highlights their propensity for random jazz break-outs and keeps you on your toes. 

I really like the mixture of mid-length and longer songs. Not enough bands mix it up. You either get twelve mid-paced numbers or four-five epics. Oranssi Pazuzu gives you both and with Reika Maisemassa, they add more jazz to the equation. By now, the breathe of variation on this record hits you. It’s trippy without being pretentious and fits in completely alongside the rest of the album. They go from that to a more industrial sound on Olen Aukaissut Uuden Silman. It holds a more straightforward black metal appeal during the verses but still retains OP’s trademark melodic feel. There’s a lot to be said for the if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it adage that so many bands stick to these days. Thank god for bands like Oranssi Pazuzu.

They close Valonielu with one final epic in the form of Ympyra On Viva Tomussa. As the wind blows up to a new extreme outside my window, all is calm and the anticipation builds in the same way that this song does. Magical moments are few and far between in our increasingly sensationalist world, but this is one of those moments. The song does away with the space-age sound effects and takes on a more earthly feel. You could easily set this music to a night stood watching the Aurora Borealis. Imagine that sensory experience! Oranssi Pazuzu don’t rush things during the build-up and the climax is more of a release because of it. It’s fifteen minutes of pure, unadulterated musical pleasure that has to be heard in it’s entirety. Yes it’s heavy and yes it features no pop-sensibilities for the hipsters to enjoy, but it’s true and from the heart. It’s not something that you own, it’s something that owns you. 

Stream Valonielu in all it's majesty here:-

You can buy Valonielu in both digital and physical form from Svart Records here - and from 20 Buck Spin here -

Oranssi Pazuzu Facebook -
Svart Records Facebook -
20 Buck Spin Facebook -

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