Sunday, September 11, 2016
This is one of my favourite albums of 2016, and it's by Finland's ORANZZI PAZUZU (which means 'Orange Demon', I am reliably informed). The name of the album: Varahtelija, released on the excellent SVART label out of Finland (certainly one of my fave imprints on planet earth, reissuing all kinds of stoner, Black Metal, Nordic hardcore, free jazz, weird prog/fusion, psych and all in between. I am not on a retainer for stating this: what they do is a very good thing). And then there is Oranssi Pazuzu (excuse me if I simply refer to them as 'OP' from now on). They're a Finnish quartet, and this is their fourth album. I've also been getting myself familiar with two previous efforts, 2013's Valonielu and 2011's Kosmonument, and to me they represent one fucking great band evolving, progressing and getting better with each release.
OP are nominally a 'Black Metal' band, but such a genre now carries such a broad umbrella of sound under its wing that it can be almost impossible to peg just exactly what a BM band is. I used to cover a fair bit of BM in this blog about a decade ago - and nothing too wildly outside of the big names (Darkthrone, Burzum, Immortal, Enslaved; as well as US BM such as Weakling and Leviathan), other than some detours to the likes of End from Greece, Idjarn and Striborg (the last two I haven't listened to since BC - Before Children) - but I must admit I've barely given the 'genre' a listen in the last 9 years. Fatherhood may've been a deciding factor in that (you can't play that shit in the house when you have infants - it just doesn't work), but it could also be just a part of my listening habits: I tend to go through phases of a certain genre/sound, beat it into the ground for a few years then move onto something else, only to revisit that sound again years down the track (the same thing has happened with my total obsession with post-war R & B/blues/rockabilly from a number of years back - that obsession will come back).
So! To kick back and ensconce myself in some real-deal BM, even if it is of the 'arty' variety as slung by OP, almost feels like a breath of fresh air. OK, let's call OP a 'psychedelic BM band', for whilst grimness abounds, blast beats are had and growls can be heard, it's mixed up with a *gulp* almost post-rock sensibility, some of this sound like the orchestral sheets of sound you might get on a Godspeed disc, with Hawkwindish synth swirls, Flippery dirges and a hypnotic, cyclical churn not one thousand miles removed from the acid-fried goodness of a Miles ca. Agharta/Pangaea. Christ. Now that description probably just makes OP sound like a mish-mash of record collectors' wet dreams, but for the record: I am not and never have been a record collector; and 2) these comparisons are merely projections from my mind and very likely don't reflect the influences nor intent of the band. In other words, their ideas are their own. I still like noisy, anti-social shit when it's done well (and boy, it's the worst when it's done poorly), and OP appear to be serious in intent. They're not out there being 'extreme', 'radical' and trying to offend: it's simply about beautiful noise. They are one of the best things you will hear in 2016.
Below is an older dirge which you should sink your ears into...