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Black Metal '68 - 74%

ConorFynes, July 26th, 2016

Oranssi Pazuzu are one of the most singular and strangest experiences I've had in black metal. Although four excellent albums have proven their craft many times over, I swear they're the sort of band that might have seemed like a pure gimmick on paper. A fusion of black metal with vintage psychedaelia has been tried before-- most notably in the form of Nachtmystium-- but no one ever attempted a blend as full-bodied and integral as this. I'm sure they'll end up having their would-be copycats at some point, but the fact remains that Oranssi Pazuzu have tread into murky waters no one else explored or even knew existed.

While the dark aural enshrinement of "true" black metal already carries a psychedelic connotation with it, merging the BM aesthetic with trippy 1960s space rock could seem like a conflict of interest. The vintage psychedelic wave was driven by carefree youth and the essential desire to connect with other beings. I shouldn't have to explain how that conflicts with black metal. In any case, it's clear where Oranssi Pazuzu draws the line on Muukalainen puhuu. Summertime free love is replaced with a nightmarishly surreal haze. They're a style-powered band above all, and a large part of what made them great from the start was their obsessive dedication to their fusion.

Oranssi Pazuzu would jump around with their sound a bit on later albums. On Muukalainen puhuu, the split between styles feels almost perfectly balanced. There are times here where it's unclear whether I'm listening to black metal with psychedelic influences or the other way around. That ability to bend genre to the point of sparking debate surprisingly isn't something most experimental metal bands have ever really proved capable of other than a superficial level. Such as it is, Oranssi Pazuzu managed to leave a pretty instantaneous impression on me when I was first introduced to them. Between the off-kilter surf rhythm, blackened rasps and 1950s sci-fi horror theremin, "Korppi" was a fucking trip the first time I heard it. It still is. From whatever depths they dredged this sound up, there's no doubt it leaves a pretty indelible impression once it sets in on your ears.

The brilliant concept is fleshed out with an authentic execution. Oranssi Pazuzu sound like they're just as drugged out and misanthropic as they should. As a pure expression of style, Muukalainen puhuu may still be the most striking thing the band has ever done. Appropriately dazzling material is featured here as well; it's doubtful whether they've written another tune as definitive as "Korppi", and some of the slower jams (see: "Kangastus 1968") hit their mark perfectly. In hindsight however, I think Oranssi Pazuzu may have gotten more caught up with their style than they were with writing really substantive material. Compared to albums they've released since, there's always been something about Muukalainen puhuu that held me back from really loving it. They never really let loose here as much as I'd like to have heard from them, and the slower jams, finely tuned as they are, are a bit sleepier than I'd have liked to hear. Nevertheless, every album they've put out since has its roots here, and each of those have made due on the lofty promises they offered up here. Even if Oranssi Pazuzu have gone to even greater heights, this would be a tough experience to ever forget.

An Engaging and Original Work - 90%

CrimsonFloyd, June 25th, 2011

Oranssi Pazuzu is one of the strangest, most original and quirky black metal bands I have ever heard. All the basic elements of black metal are present—tremolo riffs, lush synth, raspy screams—but they have been transformed into something totally alien. The frigid atmosphere of classic black metal is replaced with an aesthetic more suited to (as the cover suggests) deep space.

Oranssi Pazuzu integrates many psychedelic elements (think early Pink Floyd— such as jangly guitars, trippy synths and stretches of dissonant ambiance—into their metallic foundation. They also integrate many elements of jazz—and not only the avant garde stuff that we are used to seeing infused with black metal, but also more standard jazz. Indeed, there are a few songs that are basically bar room jazz tunes with black metal vocals! Elements of surfer rock and dub round out the odd concoction that is Oranssi Pazuzu.

These fusions are as strange as they sound and certainly take some time to get used to. It is especially odd to hear a black metal rhythm section that is so groove oriented. However, having such funky rhythm section gives the songs an especially addictive quality. The album is full of rhythms that stick in your head and draw you back for another listen. In addition to extremely unique and imaginative music, the vocals are quite noteworthy. Jun-His’s dry, lizard-like growl is the perfect accompaniment to the strange music.

While “Muukalainen Puhuh” contains many experimental moments, the first and last tracks show that Oranssi Pazuzu can produce more straight forward metal song s that are as addictive as their experimental counterparts. The opener “Korppi” is an orgy of infectious tremolo riffs and spooky synths grounded in a visceral, pulsating rhythm. “Kerettilainen Vuohi”, the closer, centers on a slow, devious, Sabbath style riff engulfed in shimmering keys, which loops and loops before decaying into a sea of ambient noise.

With “Muukalainen Puhuh,” Oranssi Pazuzu strikes an excellent balance between challenging and indulging its audience. It is extremely melodious, but at the same time intricate and complex. It is original, while giving a nod to the past. It is diverse, yet has a unified aesthetic. Like putting together a great puzzle, putting the pieces of “Muukalainen Puhuh” together over numerous listens is simultaneously a challenging and pleasurable experience.

(Originally written for http://listenwell-nocturnal.blogspot.com/)

Potential Masters of BM retro-psych Universe here - 87%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, March 9th, 2010

An unusual band-name, was my first thought and for a moment I had a vision of an animated Easter Island statue thing creeping between rows of citrus trees in a grove somewhere in a hot, hilly semi-desert country under an intense blue sky. "Oranssi Pazuzu" is Finnish for "Orange Pazuzu" and Pazuzu may be a well-known figure on this website: originally an Assyrian mythological being who was king of the demons of the winds, the bringer of storms and droughts, he became one of the demons who afflict the girl Regan in the famous movie "The Exorcist" and those of you who have seen this movie may recall an early scene in which the Max von Sydow priest character confronts a vision of Pazuzu while on an archaeological dig somewhere in Iraq. He's also been in the Exorcist movie sequels which I haven't seen, has turned up in various video and computer games and cartoons, and even appeared in Marvel Comics so he sure gets around a lot without leaving carbon emissions in his wake. Strong knockout whiff of sulphur maybe but no hydrocarbon stuff for those alarmed at all that travel.

Oranssi Pazuzu traffic in a combination of black metal and retro-psychedelic space ambient music of a cold, malevolent, alien bent: the psychedelia is very late 1960's or early 1970's, about the same time that "The Exorcist" was made, with a washed-out and slightly acidic sound and a very spaced-out atmosphere verging on derangement. The black metal element in some songs sometimes gets reduced to the super-gravelly death-rattle singing and occasional vibrato guitar chord passages because the psychedelia gets painted quite thickly with layer upon layer of spooky background effects, some of which might be familiar to people raised on a diet of old B-grade sci-fi and horror flicks from the 1950's to 1970's. Then there are howling demented guitars which are sometimes deliberately off-key and not always melodic: sometimes they dribble constant raindrop tones and other times they wobble and wobble to the point where they're driving you bonkers. There is also crazed drumming which in some early and middle tracks like "Myohempien Aikojen Pyhien Teatterin Rukoilijasirkka" can be defiantly thrashy. But pride of place should be given to vocalist Jun-His who could have come straight out of a long-forgotten grave just for this recording: his voice is so inhuman, his throat so full of rocks and grit, you can believe he sings with the authority and approval of Lord Pazuzu himself. Singing constantly in Finnish lends an extra manic air of the kind that used to be the preserve of extreme rock bands in Japan. I guess Finnish and Japanese with their grammatical structures and many vowel sounds have that edge where singers can gabble on and on in a way not possible in English, and just by its length and consistency the gabbling acquires the demented air that is needed on recordings like this one.

Highlights are hard to pick as the whole album isn't just a soundtrack to an imaginary deranged psychotic space horror film, it could stand for the movie itself. Visuals and any hammy acting appear spontaneously on the screen behind your eyes when you shut them and the theatrics get wilder and more extreme as the music pushes further out into its self-made black abyss. "Korppi" is a strong starter that paints that spaced-out bleached ambience with the intense sunlight that makes your eyes blink and squint from too much sudden light and sea-salt exposure. A shrill high-pitched wobbling drone of the B-grade sci-fi movie staple kind drapes itself over the out-of-tune spacey guitar tone drops, the thick synth tones and the tribal percussion thump-thumps. From then on the music leads us on an increasingly hysterical path, the vocalist gloating at our discomfort as he rattles away like a tourist guide from Hell. Surprise after Hammond organ horror surprise gets sprung on us. A hilarious moment arrives with "Kangastus 1968" which at first makes out like intimate space lounge music with Jun-His a bit too up-close-and-personal (and probably uncomfortable trying to do a black metal Harry Connick Jr impersonation) before going jaunty and triumphant against an eerie drunken, floating space ambience. The aforementioned "Myohempien ..." is theatrical in parts, alternating between bursts of thrash and quieter, more static passages where repeating guitar riffs threaten to turn hysterical.

The last three tracks are Oranssi Pazuzu going all-out campy movie soundtrack and theatrical. "Dub Kuolleen Porton Muistolle" is like a little suspense thriller, the vocalist in thoughtful, almost philosophical conversation mode and the guitar riffs growing more ringingly hypnotic and dreamy while po-faced bass and drums steadily urge you on under the trance-guitar spell. Possibly the best song on the album in that it keeps you rapt all the way through with magical guitar licks that sparkle and make lights dance before your eyes. The title track is an all-instrumental ambient piece, strangely spaced-out and soupy at the same time: the album's momentum does break with this track as it's slower than the other songs but in the OP scheme of things, it's breathing space that builds up to the last track "Kerettilainen Vuohi". This one doesn't promise much more than psychedelic post-rock at first but two instrumental passages make up for the early stodge: the first guitar break builds up suspense with the help of thumping drums and the second instrumental trip is a strange one where watery wobbly effects attempt to guide the music into some new zone of the universe but everything disintegrates into aimless trancey ramble. Sounds like a terrible thing to happen to an outro track but in my interpretation of the album's intent, listeners are meant to stay lost in space so the disintegration is deliberate.

Admittedly there are moments throughout "Muukalainen Puhuu" where our orange fiend friends fall into a default 1970's classic hard rock mode where the black metal element is reduced to the vocals, the music just coasts along and listeners' attention may start to sag, and only the weird loopy space atmosphere and occasional Hammond organ campiness save the music from falling back to Earth. OP need to get a better balance between the BM and the space lounge stuff: the most obvious thing might be to include BM acid guitar shower scenes but that's probably been done to death by other bands mixing BM and psychedelia and we want OP to be original and stay demented. Probably more thrash or some blackened death metal influences may be of help here. More Hammond organ for the cheesy horror movie atmosphere and to enrich OP's sound and maybe even using theremin for space music effects and as a contrast to the Hammond organ (in sound the organ is usually warm and cosy; the theremin can be quite cold and piercing though from overuse in old B-grade sci-fi flicks it can also sound camp) will help to keep OP on the straight and narrow path, fruitcake-nutsoid though it be. If these guys can get the BM / psychedelia balance right they will be well on the way to becoming Masters of the psyched-up psycho BM Universe, with huge starfleets of enraptured followers in tow heedng the, uh, unsiren-like siren call of Jun-His as he and his fearless fellow fiends go to strange places most of us don't even know about let alone explored.

Oranssi Kool-Aid - 85%

OzzyApu, December 4th, 2009

What does it feel like to be adrift in space? The stars far and distant, your co-workers in the pod looking on as you cling to one small cord, and the rest of your civilization watching from below. It’s a pretty daunting feeling and very few people have felt such a gut-wrenching, ulcer sparking nightmare. It may be peaceful when watching it, but I hardly doubt it’s anything to be comfortable about; consider everything that’s going on while you float in such a void of nothingness between shards of rock in an expanse of emptiness: no one can hear you, you can hardly breath, everyone who put you up there is counting on you, and one slip-up or malfunction will cause a slow, agonizing death.

Pretty scary stuff, and as I sit here in my room listening to this album, those are the thoughts that pop into my head… well, that and the camera transition as if it was a dream sequence or a flashback. Right now I’m listening to the second track – actually, it just shot out; I feel as though I have no control over the events unfolding – I’ve just opened Pandora’s Box, and apparently it was black metal all along (no wonder those idiots in the past never had a chance). If I were to take a hit and kick back on my bed, then I’d expect an eel to show up at my door selling cupcakes. This represents the wishy-washy-wooshy patterns of the guitars, surging through the atmosphere with their clean aura of power. It’s spiritually enticing, throwing colors passed your head at the speed of bullets firing from the barrels of rifles; even if they hit you, it’ll just sparkle with horrible N64-like textures. Their spacey, psychedelic rhythms are meant to trip me out like crazy, but I’m no lightweight.

I’d rank the hash factor between Ice Cube’s The Predator and Snoop’s Doggystyle, but with it comes the chilling blankness of space. Those albums were down to earth, but this one has you smoking and taking a rocket to Neptune. The first few tracks have you feeling mind-blown with crazy interludes and murky imaginations, but the latter half completely let’s you loose in the far regions of our solar system – alone, haunting, and with no hope of returning. It’s the part I enjoy the most since the atmosphere is incredibly hefty, with the black metal characteristics working very well over the first half. It certainly doesn’t sound very orthodox from the get-go; the band utilizes many sound effects exasperated to try and break you down psychologically.

To an extent, this is a sort of half-breed of post-rock and black metal in a serious blender. The riffs themselves aren’t the real kicker, as they’re primitive in ethics and only do as much as supporting the tempo. The bludgeoning bass lurks in the background like the cocaine that wants to jump in on the fun. Most of the time it’s very groovy, prodding like a cool cat rocking it’s head from side to side behind a lava lamp. It’s a hazy treat to hear the bubbling break in “Korppi,” which blazes you stupid like raw eggs. The riffs themselves aren’t all too powerful, but they’re chaotic and frantic as anything else this genre can play for you.

Come up with an aural blast from the past that competes with these vocals and I’ll drink mango juice until I drop. The only thing that’s straight up black metal is these vocals: vicious, tormented, foul, and clear through the pretty lucid production job (reminds me of Kawashima from Sigh). It isn’t outright polished, but there’s not much of a difference between a drug-induced jazz session and this stuff. You guy ever seen that movie Godzilla Vs. Hedorah / Space Monster? Just picture that with some very harsh, psychedelic post-rock and you pretty much nailed the sound and aesthetics of the band.

The soundscapes employed make you grow more and more paranoid by the minute. The drums are trembling in the background, waiting for me to slip up so they can catch my fall, make me think they’re on my side, and then steal my wallet. They’re so otherworldly: crystalline cymbals, asteroid drum bass, and bitchin’ toms – there are no moments were there’s an onslaught of blast beasts or anything that any hint of black metal would persuade you is coming up next. Just… just hear this one out, guys. It’s so different and odd that you’ll fall in love with it by the very first track. Don’t take it with a pinch of coke – go for weed and then it’ll be ten times better. Some sugary cereal helps if you have some lying around (I had Fruity Pebbles, so you know I was good).

Cerebral cosmonauts staking new ground - 100%

autothrall, June 3rd, 2009

We've heard the term 'psychedelic black metal' bandied about for years, most often referring to a band like Nachtmystium (not unfairly) because of an obvious nostalgic twist to their recent material, coming across like black metal which was composed in the late 60s and then sent forward in time. In my opinion 'psychedelic' is more an effect on the listener rather than a pre-determined set of sounds or rules, and to this extent, Oranssi Pazuzu certainly qualifies with their debut. 'Muukalainen Puhuu' is a hypnotic journey with only its bare roots in the black metal territory. Like a sapling planted on the moon, it's roots in the dark gray earth but its growth twisted ever into the void of the unknown.

You'll immediately take notice of the striking cover image: an astral astronaut afield of the glow of stars and nebular dust. When listening to this album, I felt much like the cerebral cosmonaut staking ground in an entirely new reality, just as empty as my previous one. The timbre of tin cans, guitar forged ambience and organs shift into a wondrous speed-picked melody worthy of Voivod's finest. The nightmare is known as "Korppi", and explosions of siren-like space effects scream across the repetitious, mesmerizing bass line. Occasionally the track will lapse into a freeform vibe as the space echoes of supernova guitars highlight the planetary dust. "Danjon Nolla" is creepy as fuck, I had to look up at night to make sure a spectral alien star-castle wasn't about to land directly on my house. The pick up riffs are scathing and glorious, but the freakish verse is bound to return before long and you WILL be assimilated. "Kangastus 1968" shifts into a subtle, tranquil blues, like a western space opera saloon if the entire galaxy spoke Finnish. One can hope! The dredge of "Suuri Pää Taivaasta" serves as a semi-sequel, it comes across like a showdown between two dark moons strapping colt .45s and chewing cigars. "Myöhempien Aikojen Pyhien Teatterin Rukoilijasirkka" re-creates black metal into a churning abyss of high speed bluesy guitars, something like 'Nazi Driver-era' Soundgarden of 1989, but with the added terror of more spacey Voivod-esque shifts in rhythm. "Dub Kuolleen Porton Muistolle" is essentially black metal space ragga. I am not fucking with you. Black metal space reggae. Unparalleled, mortifying and exhilirating simultaneously. The title track follows, dark strobing ambience layered in swaths of guitar experimentation. The perfect prelude to the album's mystifying closer, "Kerettiläinen Vuohi", which features perky little surf clean guitars doing a bluesy lick over the jangling dissonant chords. Spellbinding.

An album like 'Muukalainen Puhuu' doesn't come along very often, an album which somehow recreates and celebrates the black miasma of Scandinavian extremity while simultaneously broadcasting entire new realms of possibility into the stale dried metal blood. At first I regarded the disc with something of a curiosity, a curiosity that has now escalated into baited obsession. This is probably the best debut album I have yet heard in 2009, no...the best ALBUM I have yet heard in 2009. If anything deserves your attention lately, it would be this. Not a dry eye in the house. Phenomenal. Phenomena.

-autothrall
http://www.fromthedustreturned.com

Hypnotic and psychedelic kraut metal - 100%

KingOvFrost, May 20th, 2009

‘Original’, ‘unique’ and ‘versatile’ are all examples of adjectives used too often in reviews in the music industry. So what do you do when a band actually releases an album which lives up to these praising words? If Finland’s Oranssi Pazuzu was only referred to as ‘Black Metal’, many metal fans wouldn’t waste a single second of their precious spare time listening to Oranssi Pazuzu’s music. As a matter of fact, Oranssi Pazuzu’s musical outcome is much more than just Black Metal. Oranssi Pazuzu occupies the marginally more atmospheric, psychedelic spectrum of Black Metal, but rather than sweeping and romantic, their music is spacey and groovy, like you could snap it in half and produce a million little stars. Stars that listen to YES, FAUST, LITMUS and ALCHEMIST. The formula here can basically be boiled down to three stylistic variations: classic, progressive rock with a sound that incorporates harmonies with a solid-rock backing, rooted in Ontto 's very precise approach to the bass, the keyboards a Hammond organ splatter, and more German Krautrock-derived, mid-paced parts with repetitive sequences, guitar riffs and a lot of improvisation whilst the vocalist launches into characteristic black metal brute force raspy singing.

Avant-garde space black metal may sound ridiculous to the average Joe out there, but Oranssi Pazuzu’s music incorporates the best of vintage 70’s progressive rock, the experimentations of German Krautrock bands as FAUST and CAN and finally the extremes of heavy metal. This is music that demands serious attention from the listener, multiple listens is absolutely required to fully grasp the wide array of layered sounds. The debut album of Oranssi Pazuzu, Muukalainen Puhuu, is entirely made up of original compositions, filled with complex, multi-part harmonies; loud, heavily layered guitar and bass parts; beautiful and melodic drum parts and surging organ (with Hammond organ/Mellotron embellishments) passages bridging them all.

Oranssi Pazuzu is a new Finnish avant-garde metal sensation that is about impossible to criticize. Saying that this band is awesome is an understatement. This band is recommended to everyone that would take the time to listen. If you say anything bad about them, then you are insane, literally. By only singing in Finnish, one would suspect the band to only concentrate on the domestic scene in Finland, but seriously, their music is universal! Oranssi Pazuzu creates original, emotive, hard-driving music that will not only provide metal listeners with a fresh perspective, but attract music lovers usually not interested in metal's extremities. Oranssi Pazuzu is simply put ‘original’, ‘unique’ and features a highly ‘versatile’ sound...

--Originially written by me for the now defunct Northern Metal Webzine.