Published Apr 20, 2020Their name aside, there's always been something different about Oranssi Pazuzu. Maybe they've always been too weird for most people to stomach. Mestarin Kynsi probably won't change many minds, since it's the strangest thing the Finns have ever put their name to. Six tracks, none under seven minutes, and a bizarre blend of black metal, psychedelics and space sounds. It's even crazier then it sounds.
Most folks trying to put a new spin on black metal usually default to the old "piano-over-vampiric-screeching" bit (see: Myrkur). More recently, the wave of atmospheric hipster "blackgaze" bands led by Deafheaven threatened to turn the genre inside out. Not Oranssi Pazuzu though. They're too unique to fit comfortably into any one scene. Sure, there's the influence of Blut aus Nord, Wolves in the Throne Room and other experimenters, but none sound quite like these guys do.
There isn't anything particularly heavy about songs like "Tyhjvyden Sakramentti" and "Oikeamielisten" other then their abrasive vocals. "Oikeamielisten" even dabbles with some vaudevillian melodies that wouldn't sound out of place on the next Ghost record. It's just that every time Oranssi Pazuzu start to make too much sense, they pivot and go all in on something else.
Therein lies the problem. With nothing to hold onto or make listeners tap their toes, much of Mestarin Kynsi passes by without making an impression. If the heavy bits were a bit heavier, or the psychedelic parts a bit weirder, Oranssi Pazuzu could be one of the most interesting bands in modern black metal. But so far, they're stuck on the fence, feet in both yards, trying to synthesize something brand new.
Mestarin Kynsi is best enjoyed as an oddity. If you're the kind of person who cranks Swans to terrifying volumes or still likes the occasional Sunbather binge, this could be the one for you. (Nuclear Blast)