Experimental Black Metal + Finnish Progressive Rock x Psychedelic Drone = Oranssi Pazuzu
Bordering Sweden, Norway, and Russia, little old Finland seems to gain collective influence from its historic neighbours around the Baltic Sea. This gives the country its complex and rich musical heritage, and Oranssi Pazuzu are the most forward-thinking band there right now.
The band are an experimental progressive black metal outfit who challenge the perceptions of modern metal music. ‘Värähtelijä’, their fourth full-length, was a personal highlight of mine in 2016. It’s an uncomfortable, yet equally thrilling listen. Throughout, they explore the nebulous outer limits of Scandinavian black metal, but weave it deeply into their extracurricular interests.
Traces of 70’s prog, space-rock, and much more linger into the festering Finnish soundscape, giving them an incomparable, almighty sound, that petrifies with it’s elephantine and monstrous force. Above is the opening track ‘Saturaatio’, a twelve-minute chronicle that exhibits these multi-genres superimposed onto each other to form something altogether unsettling and stimulating.
The first part of their name, 'Oranssi', is taken from the Finnish word for 'orange'. The second part, 'Pazuzu', is borrowed from a powerful wind demon first named in Babylonian mythology. This steeped interest in folklore is one of those many extracurricular topics that gives the band it’s intelligent and highly developed new spawn of ‘hard-to-sub-categorize’ metal music.
Perhaps the closest comparison you could find are Emperor. Often viewed as the most critically-acclaimed of the Scandinavian black metal scene, Emperor combined classical music with norwegian folk, and folded that into their cavernous black metal sound. Often viewed as the thinking man’s black metal standard bearers, they bear the closest resemblance to our modern Finnish counterparts. In parts, Emperor’s ‘In The Nightside Eclipse’ gives us an insight into the leverage and influence of others in the scene. Others who, like Oranssi Pazuzu, weren't afraid to push the boat out, but have done so to the total extreme.
Overall, this is hideous and freakish music… but its cosmic fluidity is so captivating, and it entices you into its cold, blackened world. Welcome to the dark side. You’ll probably need a coat.