Words About Music
Oranssi Pazuzu “Valonielu”
Finnish experimental black metal group Oranssi Pazuzu has been around about six years or so, and “Valonielu” is the third in a series of difficult-to-pronounce albums with even more difficult-to-pronounce song titles from the band. I haven’t done the math, but I think “Valonielu” is their shortest album, with only six songs on it. Both sides of the album follow the same pattern of two ~5 minute songs followed by a 10+ minute song. Oranssi Pazuzu do black metal in an incredibly interesting way taking the shrieked vocals and soaring guitars and combine them with influences of psychedelic rock, krautrock, post-rock, and other notably non-black-metal genres.
“Valonielu” is my first experience with this band, so for all I know all their albums could sound like this. But from what I’ve heard, Oranssi Pazuzu sounds like one of the most fascinating and overlooked heavy metal groups in recent memory. While bands like Deafheaven and Liturgy are bringing exciting qualities to black metal that generates equal amounts of praise and controversy, Oranssi seems to remain pretty low-key while being way further out there in the realm of black metal than both of those bands combined. “Valonielu” is a surprisingly groovy album and not at all harsh or lo-fi. It even feels like a stoner doom record at times, eschewing the blast beats of typical black metal in favor of more relaxed drums.
While all the somewhat decipherable lyrics are in the band’s native tongue, I do find myself at least enjoying the presence and tone of the vocals. Black metal vocals are generally thrown pretty far back in the mix, serving more as an extra instrument. All the instruments here get equal representation, though, making this feel much more like a traditional heavy metal album, which of course it isn’t. Very few bands are doing what Oranssi Pazuzu seem to be doing. They even add some synths into the mix just to make it interesting.
Not every song on this album is a hit, but for the most part “Valonielu” is a solid heavy metal release that is pretty much as relaxing as black metal can possibly get. Even in the crazier moments it plays more like a thrash metal record. Just imagine a slowed down, Can-inspired version of Slayer and you’ve basically got a good portion of this album in a nutshell. It’s interesting, not at all boring, and extremely well performed. It doesn’t try at all to be flashy and it doesn’t take itself too seriously. “Valonielu” is a no-nonsense black metal album for people who are sick of the traditional black metal sound, and that is not a bad thing.
SCORE – 7.6
FAVORITE TRACKS – Vino Verso, Tyhjä Tempelli, Uraanisula, Ympyrä On Viiva Tomussa
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