By: Daniel Jackson
Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 26/2/2016
Label: Svart Records |
20 Buck Spin
Taking the album “as is”, ‘Värähtelijä’ contains flashes of brilliance, plenty of greatness, but a general need to be a bit more concise and efficient. It’s not every idea that deserves five minutes of exploration. In fact, very few ideas deserve that kind of focused repetition. Still, there’s no doubting that Oranssi Pazuzu are one of the few truly unique metal bands going in 2016, and that counts for a lot.
‘Värähtelijä’ CD//LP//DD track listing:
4. Hypnotisoitu viharukous
5. Vasemman käden hierarkia
Oranssi Pazuzu is:
Jun-His | Vocals, Guitars
Moit | Guitars
Korjak | Drums
Ontto | Bass
EviL | Keyboard, Percussion
Oranssi Pazuzu is a band that has always favoured innovation and originality over instant memorability in their music. That’s not to say that the two are mutually exclusive. To my ears, the band’s debut album, ‘Muukalainen Puhuu’ was rich in both departments, playing with fresh ideas, while crafting songs that have stuck with me for nearly seven years now. While it’s difficult to determine whether ‘Värähtelijä’ will have that same kind of staying power over time, I’d argue that the album is at its best when those two components are present at the same time.
In that sense, ‘Värähtelijä’ is often excellent, but also a bit distracted and prone to flights of fancy. Taking album opener “Saturaatio” as an example; the song is always interesting, even as it gets stuck in something of a constant loop. The band might add a slightly different or new layer here and there, but it takes nearly five minutes to really make a distinct break from its early pattern. For some listeners that’s going to be seen as being to the band’s credit. In my case, I feel like the band labours the point at certain spots in the album.
“Lahja” represents another issue I have with parts of ‘Värähtelijä’: some of the songs spend a long time building to a climax that just doesn’t pay off strongly enough. “Lahja” builds in a way that recalls Neurosis’ classic ‘Under the Surface’, albeit with the requisite Oranssi Pazuzu spin. The problem is that the crescendo never truly peaks. It just gets to 75% and then retreats to a softer dynamic. The song still has merit in spite of this, but it definitely loses something without that big moment. The album’s title track suffers slightly from the same problem.
Where the album really picks up in the second half, “Hypnotisoitu viharukous” has a similar flow to “Saturaatio”, although here the pattern is more engaging and urgent, and it also manages to wrap things up and feel complete over the course of five and a half minutes, which is to its great benefit. “Vasemman käden hierarkia” is the longest song on ‘Värähtelijä’, but it’s also its most diverse, which gives it a distinct advantage over the songs on the first half. The song grooves, contorts, glides, and rages through the early minutes. The song eventually breaks to brood in some eerie ambience before recovers and finds its stride in the closing minutes, making for a real journey rather than feeling like you’re something of a musical treadmill.
I think my overriding concern with ‘Värähtelijä’ is its length. Very few albums in history have ever warranted that kind of duration. A bit of judicious editing, getting this album down to fifty minutes would have done wonders. Taking the album “as is”, ‘Värähtelijä’ contains flashes of brilliance, plenty of greatness, but a general need to be a bit more concise and efficient. It’s not every idea that deserves five minutes of exploration. In fact, very few ideas deserve that kind of focused repetition. Still, there’s no doubting that Oranssi Pazuzu are one of the few truly unique metal bands going in 2016, and that counts for a lot.
‘Värähtelijä’ is available digitally here and a CD/LP copy here. For those in the
you can order here USA
FFO: A Forest Of Stars, Hail Spirit Noir, Nachtmystium, Ved Buens Ende