Review: Oranssi Pazuzu – Värähtelijä

Karhu takes a look at everybody’s AOTY 2016.

Oranssi Pazuzu took form after the dissolution of the surrealistic rock band Kuolleet Intiaanit. Sometimes described as a black metal version of that band, OP’s debut combined psychedelia, trippy-jazz and avant-garde-ish prog with black metal. On their gargantuan sophomore, Kosmonument, the band abandoned all notion of trippy playfulness and went to a darker place. Valonielu found Oranssi Pazuzu embracing prog, doom and even sludge while still managing to sound like the same band.

The album here at hand, Värähtelijä, is darker and more massive than its predecessor – hearkening back to Kosmonument in many ways. It was there that the band began to truly utilize ambient soundscapes and a noise influence, and it is here that they have fully integrated both into unique approach. Värähtelijä is neither a black metal album, having abandoned most traces of that genre (only appearing in a very small portion of the riffwork and the vocals), nor a stoner album, never having really embraced that genre. Describing it as a proggy combination of these two is hitting as close as it gets.

“Saturaatio” opens the album pretty much exactly as you’d expect; an enthralling jangle of guitars joins waves of noise, slowly adapting into clearer soundscapes. One of the album’s strengths is the rhythm section; usually Ontto and Korjak sound like they were part of a Neurosis-inspired jam band whose parts have been added to an entirely different band. This quickly becomes apparent in the first five minutes leading to a short but eerie break before reviving the first part, only now with a stronger emphasis on the groove. Before it ends, “Saturaatio settles for the band’s “cosmic” side, with burning synths on top of everything, growing smaller, quieter – entering the void…

…only to find themselves surrounded with restricted drumming lifted from a tribal feast, speeding chimes and distorted guitar lines over hypnosis-come-sound. Lahja may be the least metallic song the band has ever recorded and its placement here is perfect. I’ve been a fan of the band since pretty much the beginning and never have they had such a one-two-punch before. Could the rest of the album possibly meet the standards set by them? Yes, and no.

No two songs are alike on Värähtelijä, and each has a place of its own. No other songs form such a special relation to each other, only to the album. On any other album this wouldn’t be a flaw, and calling it a flaw might be a stretch even here, but the connection forged by the opening two songs leaves an imprint impossible to evade. As if the band had recognized this themselves, the slow-burning title track that follows spends its entire eight-minute run time unlocking the album again.

I know that Svart Records is fond of vinyl, and I understand the band is as well. On many occasions thinking like this has led to better totalities, but here it also rears an uglier face. Värähtelijä seems too vinyl-centric in its construction. Two songs of different nature are delegated to each side with the exception of the gargantuan “Vasemman Käden Hierarkia” taking a whole side to itself, acting like another Oranssi Pazuzu album in miniature size within Värähtelijä. It seems listening to the album through any other medium hinders it. Yet if not for one, little eleven-minute bother called “Valveavaruus”, it would undoubtedly end up as my favorite OP album.

A great deal of my dislike of the song actually stems from the excessive length of the record. On its own “Valveavaruus” is an enjoyable, albeit too long, song, but when forced at the end of the 70-minute long Värähtelijä, it becomes almost an irritation. It’s reminiscent of the way the band brought closure to Kosmonument, but less strictly a soundscape. The way it demands attention is more akin to a full-song, and as such it takes discipline not to completely skip it.

However, now that we are this far I must emphasize that despite the god-tier first side, the rest of the album is no slouch. Every song is powerful, memorable and great on its own right. Maybe it’s due to the hopes and expectations directed at it, but tearing at its flaws seems even easier than usually, whereas saying anything of note about its great many pros seems almost impossible. The album is well designed even the aforementioned flaws. Its limitations are magnified only by its greatness, and for this it deserves…

4/5 FLAMING TOILETS OV HELL

NEW_TOILETSCALE_4_of_5

Give the band a like at Facebook if you haven’t yet and tell them The Toilet sent you. Check them out and buy the record at Bandcamp, or in case you want a physical copy order a CD or an 2LP.

Written by:

Published on: March 11, 2016

Filled Under: Metal, Reviews

Views: 1144

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  • COAL ROLL

    To me these guys are more of an acquired taste than a universal crowd-pleaser.

    • Dubs

      I wouldn’t disagree. I think that first line was intentional hyperbole.

      • COAL ROLL

        I bit the clickbait.

  • The video for Lahja was pretty unbelievable. I have not seen a video in sometime that caught my interest as much as it.

    Interesting listen, Beargod.

    GL

  • I bought it, but after a few listens it pretty much just bores me. I keep expecting it to explode at some point but it never does.

      • Ancestors of FFDP?

        • Pretty much.

          • CyberneticOrganism

            Vinnie & Dime never got into that faux military badass posturing that FFDP is so fond of.

          • Boss the “Hoss” Ross

            They just wanted to drink, jam some metal and have a good time.

          • Dubs

            Man, have you ever watched the Vulgar home videos? They sure did a lot of both.

          • Boss the “Hoss” Ross

            Yes I have and yes they did!

          • Speaking of bad ass postering, our coyote hunting group is doing a night hunt tonight. 4 guys, 2 shotguns, a M1 Grand, and a AR15. Should be fun.

          • Boss the “Hoss” Ross

            Badass! I want to join so bad.

          • Rob M

            Well, if nothing else FFDP knows their market

          • Hahaha!

          • BADASS POSTURING >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

            HAHAHAH

            *POUNDS A NATTY LIGHT*
            *SMASHES CAN ON FOREHEAD*

          • CyberneticOrganism

            *wears camouflage bandana*
            *passes out in afternoon sun*
            *makes late child support payment*

          • i almost got my ass kicked (srsly) by a redneck on a float trip for putting a Pantera CD into the boombox. because someone had played “Walk” earlier in the day. silly McNulty took that as a sign they liked heavy merol. nope, just the song “Walk”

          • CyberneticOrganism

            Yikes, never get between a redneck and his shitty music of choice

          • this boi had to walk on home 🙁

          • CyberneticOrganism

            Wok on home, boy. Mmm… wok.

          • Rob M

            *ends up play “Walk” on repeat for the next 8 hours

      • CyberneticOrganism

        #getchapull #ridefordime

    • Rob M
  • Eliza

    I did not expect to enjoy this album as much as I do when I first started listening to it.

  • Everybody’s AOTY 2016?

    • Stanley

      Cough, splutter, nope.

    • Sir Tapir The Based

      Mine at least.

    • Rob M

      Nope…but I predict more than a couple of places will be riding their dick for the next nine months

    • Celtic Frosty

      No. I do like the album quite a bit, though.

    • Boss the “Hoss” Ross

      No

    • Eliza

      It’s just March.

    • Nope

    • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

      Not even close. And fuck that dumb video too.

    • DVRKBEVRD

      mmmmm i doubt it. top 10 quite possible

    • more beer

      Certainly not on mine. Personally I am finding it extremely boring.

      • Boss the “Hoss” Ross

        What’s on your list?

        • more beer

          The Destroyer 666 for sure. New Primitive Man split. There is more let me think about it. But I don’t really make lists. If I like something I listen to it. If not I don’t.

          • Boss the “Hoss” Ross

            Solid.
            I was just curious to know what was spinning at more beer’s house so far this year.

          • more beer

            There’s always something on.

    • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

      I’d be surprised if this wasn’t one of the albums the blogosphere collectively raves about and writes extremely uninformed statements about.
      Kinda like Deafvaven circa Sunbather.

      • Rob M

        I almost guarantee it. Nothing against Oranssi Pazuzu, but this is exactly the kind of band the metal world likes to get worked up about

      • DVRKBEVRD

        But deafheaven so to shut everybody up with new Bermuda

      • Count_Breznak

        Well, unlike Defefen, this one is actually good. But a bit too slow overall. Needs blasts.

      • CyberneticOrganism

        Da Favin’

      • Óðinn

        Yup. Last year, Mgla and Deafheaven were the darlings of the Metal blogosphere. This year it will likey be Oranssi Pazuzu.

        • Rob M

          Throw in Myrkur and youve pretty much hit the blogosphere trifecta

  • Vault Dweller

    I’ve been meaning to check this out, and the interesting way in which you reviewed it has actually gotten me even more interested. I’ll have to spin this at some point today and see what I think.

    PS your writing kicks ass, very well done man.

    • BearGod>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

      Siitos.

  • Stanley

    This Finnish goodness should be arriving on my soaking wet doormat later today.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQ8iXRQvoqw

    • Very nice.

      • Stanley

        A recommendation from the highly esteemed Karhu no less.

        • Indeed! Still need to get my hands on this before it sells out again. Too much shit as always.

    • That is a lot more green than I was expecting.

      • Stanley

        I must admit that the album cover is a little on the strange side. I guess they took the picture on the one day of the year that they have actual daylight in Funland.

        • Pretty neat take on the album cover though. Much different than its counterparts.

    • Rob M

      Hell yeah…that was a great EP

    • Another Finnish band for you. Got this EP the other week, good shit.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSegb3ME5OQ

      • Stanley

        Added to the list.

        • It’s very short. 2 songs, 1 for each side of the 7″. Worth it though, tracks rip! Reminds me of a faster Satanic Warmaster.

        • Also, the name of the band is named after a Finnish sniper who killed 505 men, the highest recorded number of confirmed sniper kills in any major war.

          • Dubs

            That dude’s story is pretty incredible.

          • Yeah, I enjoyed reading about him.

          • Rob M

            Have you ever read up on Carlos Hathcock…that dude was a legit badass as well

          • Nah, not thoroughly at least.

          • Rob M

            Some of the stories about him are pretty crazy..among other things, he supposedly shot an enemy sniper in the eye right through his scope

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carlos_Hathcock

          • Stanley

            I just read about that Finnish dude. He preferred to use metal sights as it made him a smaller target for enemy snipers.

          • Iron sights>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

          • Stanley

            Yes, I hear the coyotes shoot back.

          • Not gonna lie, if we kill a yote with the m1 grand, it will be a evening worth celebrating! Those m1 grands, iron sights, are banging fun.

          • Dubs

            I’m just a pacifist wiener, but isn’t it “garand?”

          • It is, but it is easier to type it as it is normally pronounced 🙂

          • Stanley

            When I was a nipper, I was in the ATC. We used to shoot these Enfield 303s. Scared the shit out of me the first time.

          • If it makes you feel any better I still get a little nervous around ppl shooting high powered rifles

          • Stanley

            We only ever shot them prone and you had to be 14 to use them, otherwise it was just the 22s.

          • Dubs

            A friend of mine in college got drunk and intentionally shot himself in the leg with a 22.

          • Stanley

            What a plonker.

          • What a plinker, lol.

            Stupid, man. Why? On a bet?

          • Dubs

            Some folks don’t make great decisions drunk.

          • DVRKBEVRD

            yes i dont!!!

          • So it was not on a bet? Not even for money? Or a TV or something???? He was just trying to be a badass?

            maxlol

          • Dubs

            I’m pretty sure that’s how it went.

          • *Waves*

          • Stanley
          • Boss the “Hoss” Ross

            Yes they are.

          • Rob M

            Finnish guy was definitely legit…got to wonder what his farthest shot was with just iron sights

          • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

            That dude was no human, and I know a few people who could go on about him for hours on end
            (I think I’d do p well me’self).

          • What is his name??

          • Wow, man.

          • Yeah, really incredible. Guy lived to be 96 too! What a run.

          • Dubs

            After losing an eye, even.

          • His whole left side of his face pretty much. Crazy!

          • Rob M

            The band Achren did an EP about that guy a few years back with the same title

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yI2sTmxxuXw

          • DVRKBEVRD

            thought it was just tapirs nickname

          • Stanley

            What’s the name of the Jude Law movie about a sniper?

          • Rob M

            Enemy at the gates

            EDIT: I think it was based on a book called War of the Rats

          • Edward/Breegrodamus™

            That was a good one.

          • Stanley

            Yep. I liked that too.

          • Tis, Ed Harris is in that one if I recall too.

          • Dubs

            He was the Nazi sniper, right? It’s been a long time since I last saw it.

          • Rob M

            Yeah…its basically him and Jude Law hunting each other

          • Stanley

            Have you seen “Our World War” on netflix? It’s 3 separate stories of the first world war and it was put out by the BBC. Excellent stuff.

          • Rob M

            I havent…I’ll check that out though

          • I think so, it’s been a long time since I saw it too.

    • Eliza

      Great stuff. And that channel is awesome, I’ve recently subscribed to it as well.

    • DVRKBEVRD

      so does mine! along with their Blood Red Fog split!

    • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

      My favorite CC record.

  • Boss the “Hoss” Ross

    I really dig how honest this review is. I sampled the album when it first came out and liked what I heard, but I need to give it a proper examination.

  • CyberneticOrganism

    Extremely digging that second track. Great review, bear.

  • This is a very well rounded and thoughtful review, Karhu. I really liked your objectivity regarding the long lenght songs and how it structures.

    This is cool because I want to check the record and your review wasn’t exaggerated at all. In that way I will not get caught in the wave of over-praising on the blogosphere. Great job, Super Bear.

  • Tight review Beargod. I probably cannot endure the runtime of this due to my attention span but the use of the chimes and synths over the tribal drumming in the music vid caught my attention. I’d like to check those first two tracks based on the description.

    • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

      The first two combined are about as long as a grind LP, yoi might just be up to it 😉

      • Edward/Breegrodamus™

        BEAR GRIND

      • 10 minutes I can do, 70 is like asking me to wait in line forever to get a small cup of soup.

  • DVRKBEVRD

    this is an album (and band) that requires a good sitting down with. i hear new shit every time i listen to it.

    my only complaint (not even really a complaint) is this album doesnt have as many hooks as Valonielu did.

  • Dubs

    Thanks for this review, Bear. When I’ve listened to this album, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it, but as Dorkbeard and others here have noted, the lack of hooks and its formidable length have worked against it for me. Each listen for me has been an enjoyable experience but one in which I zone out and lose track of what’s going on on record. Maybe I need to sit with more focus and really pore over it, or maybe it will be a grower for me. Either way, it hasn’t quite hit the peak it has for others, but I would definitely say it’s good.

    • DVRKBEVRD

      definitely a grower, not a show-er.

      • Dubs

        That moment when a grower finally clicks for you is something special.

        • DVRKBEVRD

          thats what . . . she . . . said?

  • Hubert

    The brickwalled production hurt the album a bit. I still enjoy it, but the length is less tolerable because of it.

    • DVRKBEVRD

      I didn’t see this album having that problem

      • Hubert

        I do, at least in repeated listens. It’s not as immediately noticeable as some albums, but it does bother me now.

        • DVRKBEVRD

          huh. my vinyl copy is very quiet. and, for all the nuanced sounds on the album, everything is audible. their drums have always been tracked modern like that tho

          • Hubert

            That’s probably the thing. I’ve only listened to it on Spotify so far.

  • Stanley

    So what IS everyone’s favorite album of the year so far? It’s been pretty slim pickings for me. The standout so far is Destroyer 666’s Wildfire.

    • Rob M

      Probably Irkallian Oracle, but yeah…I think its been a slow start so far

      • Haven’t heard all of it yet.

        • Rob M

          Im honestly stumped on what else has really done it for me so far…maybe new LVTHN or that Hostium you turned me onto, but pickings have been kind of slim

          • Shit, yeah that LVTHN album is great. Yeah, not much. Did you listen to that new Midnight Callings album?

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_ALIS6gov4

          • Rob M

            This is new to me, but I like it

          • Great suffocating production fits the content so well.

          • Rob M

            Ha…thats exactly what I was digging. I was checking out some band called Blight and the production was much cleaner on it…When I paused them to play this I realized why the other band wasnt quite clicking for me

          • Stanley

            I was replaying LVTHN the other night and I thought most of the songs sounded the same. They seem to use the same chords and riffing style in each song.

          • DVRKBEVRD

            ie black metal? lol

          • Stanley

            Ha ha. Nah, they have their own style, but it’s the the same style.

          • And I’m fine with that.

          • Stanley

            Alright, dammit, I’m going to listen to it again right now. All of it. My Indignation was my favorite track.

          • Hey man, If you don’t dig it you don’t dig it bro. I try not to force stuff on.

          • That album is vicious. I guess I don’t pay attention too much to the riffs. Drumming is phenomenal though.

          • Rob M

            I thought it was pretty crushing myself, but I can see how it might get a bit same-sounding for others

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            I can see that, with the same kind dissonant chord progressions and structure.

          • Stanley

            Yes, except the monstrous riff at about the 3 min mark in My Indignation. It really stands out.

    • Hubert

      Conan’s revengeance still gets regular listens from me, it’s doom so I don’t think you’ll like it.

    • Batushka’s Litourgiya.

      This is of course on GL’s Fashionably Late Albums of The Year List.

      GL

      • Hubert

        Technically last year m8

        • … thus the Fashionably Late, Goat !

          • Hubert

            It’s alright m8, better l8 than never.

          • My transformation to a black metal “fan” has taken almost two years, so I am behind.

          • Hubert

            I understand, Black Metal is hard to love, but it’s very much worth it.

          • Rob M

            Got to agree with the goat…you kind of have to want to like black metal before it clicks

          • I am not sure it is “wanting” to like it, but rather exposing yourself to many different bands till you get acquire to a sounds that tickles your fancy. Then, you can kinda grow from there. That was my experience anyway.

          • Rob M

            Admittedly there was some of that for me as well, but it started out because I knew I wanted to like it. There was something that kept pulling me back to try it over and over again

          • Stanley

            Yes. The frost bitten riffs!

          • Rob M

            Hahaha…Those actually took a bit for me to find. The lower production and the screechy vocals took awhile for me to come around on, but now I cant imagine black metal any other way

        • Sir Tapir The Based

          Yeah but GL is very slow.

    • Dubs

      I’m currently on a quest to find a black metal album I think you will like.

      • Stanley

        There’s a couple that are coming soon.

    • Probably that new Hostium or Inverloch album.

      • Stanley

        I still need to get Hostium. I blew my budget with that Panphage stuff.

        • Nice!!! Panphage is killer. I didn’t order those. You’ll have to let me know how they are.

          • Stanley

            I’ve heard most of the demos but what is interesting is how they have packaged them and added intros by that dude who is going to be on the new split (Thul). This tune is magic.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5we-D7-Vy70

          • Oh yes! I’ve played this video so many times.

    • DVRKBEVRD

      that Destroyer 666 album, Borknagar, or Oranssi (not much has tickled me so far this year)

      • DVRKBEVRD

        o & Skaphe

        duh

    • To be honest one of the releases this year that I seem to be listening to a lot is that Impurity / Sex Messiah split.

      https://nuclearwarnowproductions.bandcamp.com/album/impurity-sex-messiah

    • MAGRUDERGRIND!

    • For me, right now is probably between Abbath’s self-titled and Nadra IWon’tSpellThatIcelandicName.

      Since my… uh… pirate thingys… got blocked on my work I just rely on Youtube and to be honest, Youtube streaming sucks to me because my connection. So those two records are the one I’ve spent a little bit more time replaying. Nadra was nameyourprice, so I took advantage of it.

      • Boss the “Hoss” Ross

        Abbath!

        • A-SHES-OV-THE-DAMNED!

          trácatrácatrácatrácatráca goes those blast beats.

          • Boss the “Hoss” Ross

            Those horns!!
            Is that your favorite track?

          • So far I’m between that one and Fenrir Hunts.

            Ocean of Wounds isn’t bad either, it have a lot of groove.

          • Boss the “Hoss” Ross

            Solid choices!
            I really like Root of the Mountain.

          • I really love the drumming and how it blend with the guitars. Is a very rhytmic record, very busy, and it still breathes with the fills and the really tiny stops on the instrumentations. The mixing is superb.

          • Boss the “Hoss” Ross

            Excellent description Link! I completely agree.

    • Chthe’Ilist

      • Rob M

        Damn, forgot about that one. That was a strong album

    • Boss the “Hoss” Ross

      Abbath or Spaceslug. Depends on my mood. I have a feeling Barbarian will kick my ass when it drops though.

      ABSOLUTE METAL!!!!!

    • Waynecro

      I’ve really been digging the new Wormed album.

    • more beer

      It is a very good album.

    • BOLT THROWER

    • CT-12

      I can’t stop listening to Spektr’s “The Art to Disappear”. Feel like that album sort of flew under the radar for some reason, but yeah man, it’s already easily in my top AOTY for sure. https://agoniarecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-art-to-disappear

  • Waynecro

    This is a really great review. Thanks!

  • Zeke

    funny, i’d say the first two songs are the weakest songs on the album besides the final song that I usually skip. btw, this is definitely my favorite album that I’ve heard this year