Album Review: Oranssi Pazuzu – Mestarin Kynsi

Oranssi Pazuzu - Mestarin Kynsi review

Finnish experimental purveyors Oranssi Pazuzu have made themselves out to be outcasts for melody in a career outlined by a deliberate wickedness. More often than not, the Finns have been driven by a cold, almost industrial atmosphere and billowing discrepancy. One might be going on a limb here, but Kosmonument and Värähtelijä are two of the most jolting albums ever released. When Oranssi Pazuzu decide to get gloomy, it is different kind of nightmares. Singerand guitarist Jun-His and bassist Ontto had already demonstrated their tact with melodic writing on Muukalainen Puhuu. Nonetheless, the subsequent extremity that characterized Oranssi Pazuzu’s debut made the partial return to melody on 2016’s Värähtelijä  a total revelation.

It is difficult to write or think about Mestarin Kynsi, the group’s fifth studio album out on April 17th via Nuclear Blast, without feeling total amazement for what Oranssi Pazuzu achieved here. Although the calamitous melodies, razor-sharp riffs and delicate soloing are present on Mestarin Kynsi, it didn’t come at any cost to the act’s distinct oddity. The album’s first riff, opening up “Ilmestys,” is a perfect exemplar of this contrast. It is still complexly discordant by every principle, but unlike the puzzling dusk of other releases, Jun-His conveys it in such a way that it’s haunting straight away from the first listen onward.

One of the most enthralling facts about this album is, even if it mashes elements of black metal, psychedelia and Krautrock effortlessly, there are plenty of earworms and distinct ideas throughout the record’s 52 minutes. Despite how repugnant they seemed on the outside, there was an undeniable solace in knowing that previous albums were ecstatic at-heart and zigzagging; one could get lost into their atmosphere without feeling a need to construe anything. The contrary rings true here. The band carries these extensive songs along with the creativity of a progressive rock master.

Some of the most striking exercises in melodic writing that could arguably ever be heard in black metal are showcased here. “Tyhjyyden sakramentti” is chock-full of them. “Uusi teknokratia” and “Kuulen ääniä maan alta” make Jun-His out to be just as much a genius in this style as he is with the cutting experimental stuff.

Oranssi Pazuzu are one of the few (black) metal bands out there that have written music to suit any mood. Mestarin Kynsi does different things by expanding on the group’s already unearthly foundations.

Mestarin Kynsi is out on April 17th via Nuclear Blast; pre-order the album from this location. Like Oranssi Pazuzu on Facebook. Watch the interview with Jun-His here.

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