Cosmic DMT Black Metal: Exploring Oranssi Pazuzu


Written by: Apothecary
Published: 10.07.2019


Sitting in 2019 looking back on the course of my journey through the metal of this current decade, I have to say that one of the developments I'm happiest to have witnessed has been the slow but steady rise of psychedelic black metal. Once I got my first taste of this "sounds weird on paper but works really great in application" genre fusion, I couldn't have enough, and if there's one band I have to thank for that, it's definitely Oranssi Pazuzu. First discovering them in 2011 around the time they released their sophomore Kosmonument album, the overwhelming feelings of joy and "I'm so happy this exists" toward the music these Finns had crafted was almost instant on my part.

The time has come, then, for an exploration of this enigmatic group's discography, in the vein of the "Getting Into" articles begun by Metal Storm's own Baz Anderson and recently continued by ScreamingSteelUS. Mini reviews of each release and my hot take ratings below. This article will also cover Oranssi Pazuzu's collaborative efforts in the form of Atomikylä and Waste Of Space Orchestra.








THE MAIN DISCOG

Muukalainen Puhuu (2009)



Oranssi Pazuzu crash landed onto the planet of left field black metal in 2009 with their debut album, Muukalainen Puhuu (that roughly translates to "alien speak" or "alien language" in Finnish). Considering what came later, in all likelihood this is probably the one Oranssi Pazuzu album most grounded in an actual black metal sound, as later albums would become noticeably "bouncier" and embrace the psychedelic influence more. That being said, there's still enough trippy meddlings at play here to make this meal distinct, tasty, and worthy of attention. Tracks such as the opening "Korppi" feature relatively straightforward black metal riffage, but get further embellished by airy atmosphers and melodies and the thick, pulsating, and somewhat funky delivery of bassist Ontto. Occasionally tracks that are more psychedelic-oriented and even somewhat krautrock-ish do rear their heads as well, particularly "Dub Kuollen Porton Muistolle." All around, Muukalainen Puhuu is a powerful debut that established many of Oranssi Pazuzu's trademarks, and would serve as something of a blueprint for the band deciding to focus more on the black metal or more on the psychedelic aspects of their sound in the future.

Apothecary's take: 8/10.




Split with Candy Cane (2010)



The next effort from Oranssi Pazuzu would come in the form of a split EP with their fellow countrymen in Candy Cane, a bizarre, Avant-garde type metal band whose sound is… difficult to describe, to put it simply (more of them here, if you're interested). The Oranssi Pazuzu side of this split can almost be seen as something of a bridge point between their debut and the upcoming Kosmonument that would drop the following yeah. Like the former, it's a bit raw and abrasive at points, and still mostly grounded in black metal, but it's also a lot more groovy and heavy on its electronic elements, aspects of the composition that would be developed farther on Kosmonument. The catchiness level is significantly higher here than on the debut, opener "Ole Muukalainen" being quite the banger. All four Oranssi Pazuzu tracks from this split were subsequently re released as the band's Farmakologinen EP in 2017, but it's essentially the same material.

Apothecary's take: 8/10.




Kosmonument (2011)



Now we come to the album from Oranssi Pazuzu that is still probably my favorite. Whether this is because it was the one that I first heard from the band or not I'm not sure, but revisiting this album even 8 years after its release, I'm still not quite as impressed by anything else in their discography. In comparison to its predecessor, one of the noticeable differences on Kosmonument is the increased keyboard presence, made clear right from opener "Sienipilvi" and its swirling, dense atmosphere of electronic effects and other psychedelic mayhem. I enjoy this album a lot because, to this day, it still seems to be Oranssi Pazuzu's darkest and most ritualistic, in a way that almost seems to sonically recreate that sort of "vast empty horror" feeling of deep space. Everybody seems to be in top form on their respective instruments, the guitar riffs are both catchy and even oddly danceable at points, and the two instrumental tracks offer an interesting, more meditative shift from the rest of the more upbeat, riff heavy songwriting. Near flawless release and a crowning achievement for the psychedelic black metal style.

Apothecary's take: 9.5/10.




Valonielu (2013)



Next up from the Orange Sumerian Wind Demons was 2013's Valonielu, an album that once again went in a noticeably different direction than those preceding it. With this one, for the first time Oranssi Pazuzu's sound actually appeared to be leaning more towards the psychedelic flirtations than towards the black metal, maybe in about a 60/40 ratio. Far more kraut and space rock influenced than Muukalainen Puhuu and Kosmonument, Valonielu was a bit "looser" in the sense of feeling a little more free flowing and jammier than Oranssi Pazuzu's earlier efforts, especially on the massive closing track. While not a bad release by any means, the fault I remember finding with Valonielu upon its release (which I somewhat still do) is that it's a little too short for its own good, and I also think it could have benefited from a wee bit greater black metal presence. That being said, even if I consider this to be the weakest of Oranssi Pazuzu's full lengths, that's still not really saying much, and my complaints with it are ultimately pretty minor. Still a worthwhile investment for any fan of the trippy black metal jamz.

Apothecary's take: 7.5/10.




Värähtelijä (2016)



The most recent full length from Oranssi Pazuzu features my least favorite of their album covers, but also some of my absolute favorite music of their entire discography. Funny how that happens. With Värähtelijä Oranssi Pazuzu seemed to go for a bit of a synthesis of sounds, taking the more jammy, bounce-oriented style of Valonielu and injecting it with a bit of a greater dose of black metal, speed, and aggression. The result was basically the album that I had wished Valonielu had been after I first heard it: dense and heavy as hell but also still warm, inviting, and drenched in the signature Oranssi space cloak. This album struck a fantastic balance between more atmospheric, "loose" deliveries like "Lahja" and the title track as well as a more pounding, riff heavy delivery such as on "Saturaatio" or the massive "Vaseman Kaden Hierarkia." Further still, the drumming on Värähtelijä may possibly be the best it's ever been on an Oranssi Pazuzu album. All in all, this album is a pretty great sum up of everything the band have yet done up to this point, and really raises curiosity for where they may go from here.

Apothecary's take: 8.5/10.




THE COLLABORATIONS DISCOG

Atomikylä - Erkale (2014)



Around 2011 or so the guys in Oranssi Pazuzu began closely associating with another purveyor of dreamlike, psychedelic metal within the Finnish metal community: the mammoth drone doomers in Dark Buddha Rising. Although the compositions these two bands come up with may sound very different from one another, there is a common ground of otherwordly atmospheres and psychedelic ritualism that runs between them, making them ideal collaborators. The results of camaraderie between Oranssi Pazuzu and Dark Buddha Rising eventually spawned Atomikylä, composed of Juho and Toni of Oranssi Pazuzu on guitar and bass, and Vesa and Jukka from Dark Buddha Rising on additional guitar and drum duty.

The debut of this new band surfaced in 2014 in the form of Erkale, which is, to put it simply, a journey that requires an accompanying oxygen tank. Oozing of Oranssi Pazuzu's signature psychedelic deliciousness but also packing a colossal punch in the form of Dark Buddha Rising bringing their doom talents to the table, the album was as good a blend of these two parties as one could've hoped for. The drumming here is an especially exceptional aspect of the songwriting, as is is the almost jazzy, free flowing guitar work that much of the time feels improvised.

Apothecary's take: 8.5/10




Atomikylä - Keraily (2016)



The second, and to date most recent Atomikylä album was released in 2016, not long after Oranssi Pazuzu had dropped Värähtelijä. Keraily is noticeably different than Erkale in that it sounds a lot closer to the sound of Dark Buddha Rising than it does like a 50/50 combination of both Oranssi and DBR. I personally enjoyed the album a lot less for this reason, as the focus on plodding doom riffage without the same atmosphere of Erkale there to complement it makes the music a little monotonous. It's still a decent release, with the drumming again drawing particular attention, but I think it could have been better balanced out with regard to the sound of both bands. Whereas Erkale was about a 50/50 ratio between the sounds of Oranssi Pazuzu and Dark Buddha Rising, Keraily is more 80/20 DBR to Oranssi.

Apothecary's take: 7/10.




Waste Of Space Orchestra - Syntheosis (2019)



Fortunately, the union of Oranssi Pazuzu and Dark Buddha Rising would yield a much more impressive release after the somewhat lackluster Keraily. The story behind its surfacing is easy enough. At Roadburn Festival 2018 in the Netherlands, Oranssi Pazuzu and Dark Buddha Rising, who had both appeared at the festival previously, were invited to do a commissioned set, composed of material written specifically for Roadburn. As things would turn out, fan demand for this special occasion to be put to tape, or to result in further recordings, ended up being one hell of an incentive. Sure enough, off to the studio the Oranssi and DBR boys went again, finally gracing listeners with the Waste Of Space Orchestra's Syntheosis debut earlier this year.

Whereas Atomikylä only featured 2 members from both Oranssi Pazuzu and Dark Buddha Rising, Waste Of Space Orchestra features all ten members of both bands, understandably resulting in a sound that is much more immersive and expansive. The "Orchestra" in the band name isn't exactly too unmerited either, as many moments throughout Syntheosis, particularly in the use of organ, do indeed give off an almost orchestral vibe, albeit a highly trippy and delirious one. In the space of just over an hour, the members of both bands craft a journey with Syntheosis that not only goes through the best of both aspects of their sounds, but that also seems to transcend them as well, becoming a new entity that isn't quite Oranssi Pazuzu or Dark Buddha Rising, but something else entirely. While Atomikylä felt like just a 50/50 blend of both bands, Waste Of Space Orchestra feels more like the genuine creation of a new entity.

Apothecary's take: 9/10.




CONCLUSION (THE PSYCHEDELIC WARLORDS DISAPPEAR IN SMOKE)

So why should you listen to Oranssi Pazuzu if you haven't yet? Quite simply, it's because their music is so enjoyable from a large number of different angles, and while certainly not for everybody, I'd find it a little hard to believe that most people couldn't end up enjoying at least some dimension of their sound. You want upbeat, more orthodox black metal deliveries, that are still trippy and weird as heck? Go to their debut. You want the "horrors of space" album that's a little more dark and vortex-like? Go to Kosmonument. You want the space rock heavy album? Valonielu's in your corner. Looking for more of a 50/50 blend of that bouncy space rock sound with the black metal? Värähtelijä's got you covered. Maybe you're even wondering what Oranssi Pazuzu would sound like if they were a bit more doomy and repetitious? No worries, their work with the Dark Buddha Rising guys can answer all such inquiries. Truly, this is a group of musicians who have demonstrated commendable talents not only in the consistent quality of their work but also with their dedication to evolving their sound with each subsequent release, as no two albums I've covered in this article really sound too much alike. I can't sing the praise of the Orange Sumerian Wind Demons highly enough, and hope with these words that some unfamiliar to them may be inspired to give their cosmic DMT black metal formula a whirl.







 



Written on 10.07.2019 by Comforting the disturbed and disturbing the comfortable since 2013.


Comments

Comments: 13   Visited by: 55 users
11.07.2019 - 00:04
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Indeed one of the most unique and innovative bands of the 2010s. Curious to see where they'll go to next.

Didnt they have another EP as well?
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Take off those stupid glasses and kiss me
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11.07.2019 - 00:06
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Written by RaduP on 11.07.2019 at 00:04

Didnt they have another EP as well?

The other 2017 one, I may add some thoughts on that one to this later but for right now I want to get a sense of exactly when the tracks on it were originally released. Someone said on the thread for it that they're old tracks as well, just ones that were only available to Finnish audiences until the release of the EP.
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Now who should I call? Should I call Mr. Strawberry?
No, I don't think I'll call Mr. Strawberry. I don't think he's taking calls.
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11.07.2019 - 00:10
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by Apothecary on 11.07.2019 at 00:06

The other 2017 one, I may add some thoughts on that one to this later but for right now I want to get a sense of exactly when the tracks on it were originally released. Someone said on the thread for it that they're old tracks as well, just ones that were only available to Finnish audiences until the release of the EP.

Saw that too but couldnt find a source
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Take off those stupid glasses and kiss me
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11.07.2019 - 00:33
nikarg
Old Nick
Written by RaduP on 11.07.2019 at 00:10

Written by Apothecary on 11.07.2019 at 00:06

The other 2017 one, I may add some thoughts on that one to this later but for right now I want to get a sense of exactly when the tracks on it were originally released. Someone said on the thread for it that they're old tracks as well, just ones that were only available to Finnish audiences until the release of the EP.

Saw that too but couldnt find a source

Here it is (the source).
The second song in this EP is my favourite of theirs.

Nice work with this article, Che.
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11.07.2019 - 00:33
lparsons13
Very well written round-up. Will add this band to my list of ones to try.

Is this sort of article common here? I'm new to MS and still finding my way around, and I find these kind of articles useful so hoping there are lots more
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11.07.2019 - 04:14
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Written by lparsons13 on 11.07.2019 at 00:33

Is this sort of article common here? I'm new to MS and still finding my way around, and I find these kind of articles useful so hoping there are lots more

Yeah there are a good few of them hanging around. Like I said in the beginning here, our "Getting Into" articles were started by Baz Anderson (who's kind of inactive now but left a great legacy), and ScreamingSteelUS, our current Editor In Chief, has done some as well. Links to some good ones below

Getting Into Sigh
Getting Into Anaal Nathrakh
Getting Into Alice Cooper
Getting Into Enslaved
Getting Into Blind Guardian
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Now who should I call? Should I call Mr. Strawberry?
No, I don't think I'll call Mr. Strawberry. I don't think he's taking calls.
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15.07.2019 - 00:23
ScreamingSteelUS
Editor-in-Chief
I really enjoy what I've heard from Oranssi Pazuzu over the years, so I look forward to using this as a guide to learn their music in greater detail. Nice to see you joining the party on this format, too.
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Row, row, fight the power
Djently down the stream

I'm the Agent of Steel.
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15.07.2019 - 15:57
Bad English
Masterchief
Its good band, its not BM for trOO Norsk jävel BM fans what thinks taake plays omly BM, its not. This is band what is made for listen in calm place what you call home. I like it even I prefer a bit different BM
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Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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15.07.2019 - 17:30
matt4815162342
If you are into psychedelic black(ish) bands, I definitely recommend checking out the underground Polish band Entropia. In only a couple of years they've evolved from quite generic post-black metal on the first record Vesper to the one of most interesting and captivating record of the last year (IMO) on their latest release Vacuum.
http://metalstorm.net/bands/band.php?band_id=8227&bandname=Entropia
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22.07.2019 - 16:16
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Written by matt4815162342 on 15.07.2019 at 17:30

If you are into psychedelic black(ish) bands, I definitely recommend checking out the underground Polish band Entropia.

Yes indeed, got turned onto them a while back with Vacuum. Great band!
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Now who should I call? Should I call Mr. Strawberry?
No, I don't think I'll call Mr. Strawberry. I don't think he's taking calls.
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29.07.2019 - 20:06
Gesualdo
Great work as always, Apothecary. Going deeper into this right now.
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11.09.2019 - 06:21
Lord Slothrop
I finally procured all of their releases and would say, after multiple listens, that Kosmonument is my favorite. But that could change tomorrow, of course.
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15.09.2019 - 15:18
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Written by Lord Slothrop on 11.09.2019 at 06:21

I finally procured all of their releases and would say, after multiple listens, that Kosmonument is my favorite. But that could change tomorrow, of course.

The Oranssi discog is pretty consistent, so they are indeed one of those bands where like.... every time you say one album is your favorite, your conscience kinda nudges at you like "yeah, but what about that one over there?"
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Now who should I call? Should I call Mr. Strawberry?
No, I don't think I'll call Mr. Strawberry. I don't think he's taking calls.
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