Värähtelijä marks Oranssi Pazuzu’s fourth foray into the outer reaches and the Finnish band pull no punches in creating a record that melds tripped out cosmic rhythms with the distinct aesthetics of modern black metal. Oranssi Pazuzu aren’t your typical Finnish black metal band and with their music they set out to push the boundaries of what the genre should sound like and found themselves a niche. Psychedelic landscapes unfold before you with the opening chords of “Saturaatio” painting an image of kaleidoscopic magic on your retina before frontman Jun-His allows his voice to unfurl over it all in harsh, piercing screams. It’s in his voice that the black metal sound is most present, as the music below throbs with krautrock influences and fantastic otherworldliness.
It’s a tactic that follows through Värähtelijä but doesn’t overstay its welcome – Oranssi Pazuzu are adept at allowing the music to complete a journey and that journey stays interesting for the duration. Long, epic songs are entwined with shorter odes but each composition lays a groundwork for this band to build on. The martial beats that close out “Saturaatio” feed their way in “Lahja” and its underlying, malevolent tones. The track has a dissonant edge to it and the off-kilter vibrations rear their head in “Värähtelijä” with a buzzing introduction that adds layers of sound to a jazz-like beginning. Cyclic movements are the order of the day in this track and the repetitive motions create a hypnotic aura that seduce the mind. As before, inflections are carried into the next track and the curious buzz of the title track flows into “Hypnotisoitu viharukous” and its hard, heavy flashes of guitar. Higher pitched keys are interspersed with screams and the atmosphere takes flight into disturbing territory giving the album an unusual, almost horror movie vibe.
There’s a definite sinister edge to Oranssi Pazuzu and it’s felt in the undercurrent of the songs. Set back in the shadows are little pieces of synth/keys that snake their way into the subconscious, not overtly present in the progression of the track, but an almost subliminal message of terror lies beneath the main event. “Vasemman käden hierarkia” and its epic seventeen minute running time is a prime example of such a trick and it’s not until the song completely gives way to the creeping, staccato pulses that the ominous feeling becomes all too apparent. It’s truly disturbing and once the song begins a slow build towards dizzying heights, it’s difficult to remove that skulking, menacing tone from your brain or the vibrant cosmic pictures conjured by the tripped out sounds.
It’s all very strange indeed and Oranssi Pazuzu aren’t an easy band to get to grips with. There’s a bizarre cohesion to their weirdness, though and it works in such a way as to seep under the skin and reveal more elements on repeated listens. This isn’t a one-time only record and the eccentricities are delightfully abstract and well worth the time spent. Värähtelijä is a textured, soulful journey into the furthest realms of consciousness, leaving its unsettling imprint for a long time after the music has ended.
8.5 / 10
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