Oranssi Pazuzu – Värähtelijä (Svart Records/20 Buck Spin)Wednesday, 2nd March 2016
Interesting how the black metal fibers continue to stretch and bend into different directions as time progresses. One of the more interesting shifts of late, is the introduction of psychedelic and jam influences that Oranssi Pazuzu brings to the table. Värähtelijä is about as trippy as they can come.
There’s a lot to like about Värähtelijä. Despite having an overall accessible sound, the black metal teeth remain intact, which keeps things firmly in the metal realm. Merging psychedelic rock (with plenty of synths and effects), post-metal (a la Isis), and black metal is not the most simple of tasks, but Oranssi Pazuzu weave them together quite effectively. You are never quite sure what to expect around each bend, and sometimes the atmosphere can get rather eerie (“Vasemman Käden Hierarkia”). The droning, repetitive element is meant to bring the listener into a trance-like state, which has its positives and negatives. It’s easy to lose yourself to Värähtelijä with its many enticing features, but it’s just as easy to snap out of it. The 70-minute album is just too much, and the length of tracks actually gets to the point of boredom occasionally. The riffs stick around past their prime, even for a drone band, upon the first track “Saturaatio.” The layers of sound effects and synths do their best to keep this from happening, but it shouldn’t feel like a task to listen start-to-finish, which Värähtelijä unfortunately does.
Despite some real “wow” moments along the way, Värähtelijä doesn’t hold its momentum as well as one would hope. Points for uniqueness and originality keep this one on the “worth a shot” category, and many will sing the band’s praises for their approach. But what you have hear is really the equivalent of a black metal jam band. You appreciate the talent, but unless you are completely baked, you might not get everything out of what the album has to offer.