Photo: Oranssi Pazuzu
by Paul Attard Music Obscure Object

Oranssi Pazuzu | Mestarin kynsi

July 27, 2020

Mestarin kynsi is Oranssi Pazuzu’s grandest achievement, a cohesive nightmare symphony of mystical dread.

Located somewhere near the depths of the Mariana Trench and dragged thousands of nautical miles beneath visible light exists Oranssi Pazuzu’s Mestarin kynsi, a ferocious, mystical album that could be more likened more to a tour of the River Styx than a reflection of anything resembling reality. The Finnish psych-metal outfit has been down this less-traveled road before, though their previous efforts have never quite had the acidic bite that their most recent release carries. Lead vocalist Juho “Jun-His” Vanhanen still sounds like the Baba Yaga if it chain-smoked a lifetime worth of Marlboros in the span of a few days, and the band’s galaxy-brained plunges into atmospheric space rock are as seismic as ever — their strengths, here at least, come from the interplay between disparate sonic elements that cohere into a vision of all-encompassing dread. 

The suffocation begins with “Ilmestys”: the track progressively constructs electronic textures while building rhythmic intensity with an ominous guitar riff, all right before taking the final plunge into an anxiety-induced fervor. “Uusi teknokratia” doesn’t play quite as coy, revving up with some weighty instrumentation before embracing Krautrock soundscapes (all as Jun-His screeches and bellows into the void, his words coming off like sandpaper on one’s ears); a mid-break section, with stuttering synths and a muted choir of outsider voices, interrupts only briefly. The push and pull of the track — the central dynamic that yo-yo’s listeners between ardent affected states — lumbers about as gracefully as one can expect from music this unwieldy, nearly out of control. But it’s within that space of uncertainty where Oranssi flourishes as composers of halting unease, finding territory to corral the seemingly fractious features of the divergent contemporary metal scene into a nightmarish symphony of pure perturbation. 

Published as part of Obscure Object | Q2 2020 Issue.

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