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Album Review: ORANSSI PAZUZU Valonielu

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Oranssi Pazuzu (Orange Pazuzu, in the Finnish) don’t easily fit into any particular genre, which makes their music hard to describe. Psychedelic? Yes. Bizarre? Oh, yeah. Aggressive, menacing, disturbing? Very much so. Is it black metal, or some other genre? Is it too slow to be black metal? If so, I don’t know what else to call it. Experimental post-black metal psychedelic sludge? Fuck, there are too many categories and subcategories. I’ll dispense with the categorization, and instead say that Oranssi Pazuzu’s Valonielu is worth your time and attention not because it’s weird or psychedelic or heavy, but because it’s a damn good album.

The strange thing about Oranssi Pazuzu’s music is how repetitive it is, and that this repetition works as a strength. The opening track, “Vino Verso” (Askew Sprout), exemplifies this perfectly. Lacking a traditional verse-chorus-verse structure, the song instead bludgeons the listener with the same percussion-heavy rhythm for almost five minutes. What keeps this from becoming irritating are multiple layers of effects; the guitar wanders freely through a nightmarish soundscape, intertwining with and complementing the keyboards until a strange, unified sound is achieved. It’s relentless, and hypnotic.

You’re ready for a break by the time you reach the third track, “Uraanisula” (Molten Uranium). And you’re given a break in the form of a brief, peaceful guitar interlude. But then the song grabs hold of your ears and pounds away for another ten-and-a-half minutes, adding a tremulous bass effect that could liquify your bones at high enough volume. Vocalist/guitarist Jun-His delivers a scathing vocal attack, which is all the more terrifying because I can’t understand a word of it. The layers rise into a near-cacophony toward the end, but the whole never falls apart, never becomes uncontrolled.

Then you come to “Reikä Maisemassa” (A Hole in the Landscape), which is exactly what it sounds like. This is the kind of music neglected spirits would perform in clubs in the Underworld or in purgatory, any place where the damned and doomed congregate. Relax, sit back, and enjoy the fact that you’re stuck in purgatory for eternity, it’s okay. Oranssi Pazuzu has the musical score covered.

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I’ve struggled to come up with another band to whom to compare Oranssi Pazuzu, and it has been a fruitless undertaking. Even comparing Valonielu to the band’s preceding two albums would be a pointless endeavor. They’re one of those bands who draw upon eclectic and varied influences, and end up creating their own distinct sound while defying all attempts at classification. If you haven’t heard Oranssi Pazuzu’s brutal aural assault, you’re missing out. Valonielu is well worth your attention.

Valonielu will be available in North America October 15 from 20 Buck Spin, and October 11 in Europe from Svart Recordings.


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