Album #162: Oranssi Pazazu – Mestarin Kynsi

  • Released: 2020
  • Origin: Tampere, Finland
  • Label: Nuclear Blast
  • Best Track: Uusi Teknokratia

Finnish five-piece Oranssi Pazazu are widely described as ‘psychedelic black metal’, which I find an intriguing oxymoron. The bright, whimsical, hallucinatory elements of psychedelia intertwined with the dark, brutal repetition of dark metal? How does that work?

Well, suffice to say, it does! I enjoyed Mestarin Kynsi, the band’s fifth album, a lot more than I was expecting to. And the description is accurate – the riffs are deep and heavy, the drumming is frantic and the vocals are coarse and throaty, all of which is in keeping with black metal. The fact that it’s all in Finnish adds to the blackness too.

Over the top of that though, you have these exploratory, semi-improvisational keyboards. The effect is like an acid trip that’s kind of fun but may lead to the apocalypse.

The most notable examples of this are opener ‘Ilmestys’ and the superb ‘Uusi Teknokratia’. Meanwhile, you’d be hard-pushed to find a more frenetic and exhilarating closer than ‘Taivaan Portti’.

I expected to be penning one of my standard “it’s alright, quite interesting but not really my thing” reviews after listening to this, but instead I like it a lot. An intense and inventive listen than makes me want to hear more from the band.

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