On their fourth full-length album, Oranssi Pazuzu prove to be masters of the slow burn. In a way similar to Swans or Burzum, likely huge influences on these Finnish metallers, each of the seven tracks on here is often based on a single idea or two that is built up over the course of the song. The results aren’t always heavy in the traditional sense but they often have an alienating but hypnotic effect on the attentive listener.
This experience is further enhanced by the effective instrumentation. In a nice twist, the rhythm section is the group’s major source of strength as the bass introduces the droning mantras while the drums sustain them in a swelling tribal fashion. From there, the guitars and keyboards still shine though it is often more as the icing on the cake.
It also helps that the band works in several different genres such as world music, jazz, and psychedelia under its doomy black metal umbrella. Songs like “Saturaatio” and “Hypnotisoitu Viharukous” may be the easiest for extreme metal listeners to get a feel for due to their heavier rhythms but they allow their exotic influences to come out. That said, the ambient tracks like “Lahja” and the title track actually provide the most foreboding textures.
Of course, the album does have its challenges. While the compositions never feel directionless, seventy minutes of them can be an exhausting listen. “Vasemman Käden Hierarkia” in particular is an effort due to its near eighteen-minute runtime though it does have a lot of quality moments. The vocals tend to be sparse and remain distant even when they show up, but the Finnish lyrics arguably make that an irrelevant issue.
While I am unfamiliar with Oranssi Pazuzu’s past works, their fourth album is easily one of the best to be found in 2016. The eclectic styles it pulls off allow for listeners of multiple backgrounds to feel equally uncomfortable but its monolithic incorporation of them allows for consistency. Highly recommended for those looking for metal bands pushing the genre to its limits in the 2010s.