Oranssi Pazuzu – Värähtelijä

finland

Oranssi is Finnish for ‘orange’, meanwhile Pazuzu is the demon in The Exorcist – an Assyrian demon of the cold winds that bring fever and disease. I half promised myself not to mention Trump here this month but come on, an orange demon? Anyway, this is an incredible record, from the opening droning, jangling guitar it grabs your hand and drags you on a vertiginous ascent up the mountain through ancient dark forest (of course) into its own weird world of distorted post black metal/psych/prog explorations. Hammer horror burning church organ and wah wah guitar arrive bringing some ‘Vanilla Fudge meets Black Sabbath on a dark and stormy night’ vibes before settling into a churning ritual groove under a wash of eerie noises, and that’s just the first track. As is the way of their tribe the band only seem to appear on stage or deep in the dripping woods, unsmiling in long hair and battered black clothes. No corpse paint, cartoon weapons or studs but visually they’ve also gifted us a dreadful logo and some pretty ropey album art in the past. Their music leaves a lot of black metal’s genre clichés behind, there’s some growling vocals but not too much, and it’s not florid enough to be accused of being prog either. Like fellow Finnish metal mentalists Circle it’s quite hard to pin down their sound, but they have a welcome abundance of imagination. I’m sure there’s plenty of other reference points I’m unaware of, but they’ve hit on a magickal combination of elements that charms me immediately and completely where others taking the same path have merely tested my patience. ‘Lahja‘ comes in on pattering percussion and ringing xylophone that’d be at home on a Tortoise record, at least until the thick descending guitar riff and growling come in – after which it gets pleasingly wild and discordant before coming to a surprisingly neat and sudden stop. More post/math rock guitar puzzles on the moody pacing beast of the title track are followed by the thrashing metal ‘Hypnotisoitu Viharukous’, a blast of crashing drums and a glorious avalanche of sliding guitar and howling vocals but even here they find room for contrast with gentler moments and a surprisingly pretty, if brief, synth melody popping up. It clears the brush underfoot for the epic 18 min ‘Vasemman Käden Hierarkia’ (‘left hand of the hierarchy’ apparently) which holds both the most familiarly black metal sections of the record and endlessly inventive shifts in percussion alongside pools of ambient calm and mandatory spectral choirs before surrendering to the cleansing flames of the supernatural fire that must end all things. Like you do.

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