Ὁπλίτης (Hoplites) – Ψευδομένη (Review)

Ὁπλίτης - ΨευδομένηThis is the debut album from Ὁπλίτης (otherwise known as Hoplites), a one-man post-black metal band from China.

Ψευδομένη contains 38 minutes of experimental avant-garde black metal. The artist behind Ὁπλίτης has combined a lot of different styles and influences into this record. Imagine Blut Aus Nord, Jute Gyte, and Deathspell Omega crossed with Frontierer, Converge, and Sectioned, along with a touch of Ephel Duath and Oranssi Pazuzu, and you’ll have a rough idea of what you’ll encounter here. Continue reading “Ὁπλίτης (Hoplites) – Ψευδομένη (Review)”

Ashenspire – Hostile Architecture (Review)

Ashenspire - Hostile ArchitectureAshenspire are a post-black metal band from the UK and this is their second album.

Holy crap. This is not your standard album, not at all. It’s striking, individual, shockingly emotive, and relentlessly harsh in atmosphere and tone. To set the scene somewhat – Ashenspire play a form of post-black metal with strong avant-garde, experimental, and progressive tendencies. Featuring current and ex-members of Barshasketh and Falloch, Hostile Architecture is a 44-minute journey into the contemporary urban heart of darkness. Continue reading “Ashenspire – Hostile Architecture (Review)”

Feral Lord – Purity of Corruption (Review)

Feral Lord - Purity of CorruptionThis is the debut album from US black metal band Feral Lord.

Recommended by the promo blurb for fans of bands such as Oranssi Pazuzu, Odraza, and Deathspell Omega, I couldn’t resist giving this a listen to see if it hooked me. Well it did, as you can probably tell by the fact I’m reviewing it. To the above list I’d also add parts of bands like Suffering Hour and Mourir as reference points for Purity of Corruption too. Continue reading “Feral Lord – Purity of Corruption (Review)”

Oranssi Pazuzu – Mestarin Kynsi (Review)

Oranssi Pazuzu - Mestarin KynsiThis is the fifth album from Finland’s black metallers Oranssi Pazuzu.

This is the follow up to 2016’s well-received Värähtelijä, which is a record that has only increased in my estimation over time. Now, across 50 minutes of multifaceted and highly textured music, Mestarin Kynsi is an album that I have little doubt in my mind will keep on giving for years to come as well. Continue reading “Oranssi Pazuzu – Mestarin Kynsi (Review)”

Interview with Oranssi Pazuzu

Oranssi Pazuzu Logo

Having just released their latest dark creation Värähtelijä, enigmatic Progressive/Post-Black Metal band Oranssi Pazuzu’s bassist Ontto takes the time out from exploring the underworld to answer a few queries about this textured and atmospheric mysterious entity…

For those who are unfamiliar with your band – introduce yourself!

We are Oranssi Pazuzu from Finland. Five guys who have been exploring the outer regions of mind’s cosmos since 2007.

Oranssi Pazuzu2Give us a bit of background to Oranssi Pazuzu

We dive into unknown sonic landscapes. Our method for this is collective improvisation and fusion of different musical elements from psychedelic rock to second wave black metal. Our songs are noisy and sung in Finnish. We’ve recorded four albums, of which the newest, ‘Värähtelijä’, just came out.

What are your influences?

Circle, Darkthrone, Swans, Can, Scott Walker, Sleep, to name a few current favourites. We are into many different kinds of music.

What are you listening to at the moment that you would like to recommend?

Right now I get the biggest kicks out of Fleetwood Mac’s mid-seventies soft rock era. Currently my favourite FM albums are the ‘75 Fleetwood Mac and Future Games. Great songs and that rhythm section is just incredibly groovy!

How do you feel that you fir into the wider Metal scene?

Sometimes it feels a bit restricting to define ourselves as a metal band. I think we fit in any place where people respect our musical ideas and get strong feelings out of it, regardless of what colour t-shirts they are wearing. Having said that, we’ve also had great time playing at some amazing metal festivals, like Heavy Days Doomtown or Roadburn Festival, so I wouldn’t say we are outside the scene either.

Oranssi Pazuzu1Give us a bit of background to Värähtelijä – any particular concepts or ideas you want to discuss?

Värähtelijä is like a long trip that flips your mind inside out. Each song is like a vision on that trip, and together they form a unified experience that is greater than it’s individual fragments. There are concepts like sacrificing the ego, power of the society, and finally the extinction of the mind.

Tell us about the album artwork

On the front cover there is a photo by Andrea Petrovicova. It is an ominous dark tunnel, that has organic growth inside it. The tunnel leads to catharsis. When you open the vinyl gatefold, you will discover what’s at the other end of the tunnel, and inside you.

How do you go about writing your songs?

We get together and start jamming and playing with different ideas. We go for a strong atmosphere, not technical precision. We recorded many ideas while making this album, and many of those slowly evolved into songs as we played with them. Some songs were written more traditionally as riffs, but they too had a lot of collective band input in the end.

Oranssi Pazuzu3How did the recording process go?

It was exhausting and fun two weeks. We started with Julius Mauranen with the live takes and then added more instrumental parts and vocals with Tom Brooke. After that we recorded some additional guests by ourselves and the stuff was ready for mixing.

What’s your favourite song on the album and why?

I think the album is stronger than individual songs. But if I have to choose one, I’ll go for Vasemman käden hierarkia. It’s got the most ambitious arc we’ve done and many different levels to it, and I think it holds together nicely the whole 17 minutes.

What does the future hold for Oranssi Pazuzu?

We’re touring Europe this month and then we’re going to do some festivals, like Desert Fest in London and Roadburn in Tilburg. After those the future is unclear.

Oranssi Pazuzu – Värähtelijä (Review)

Oranssi PazuzuThis is the fourth album of Black Metal from Finland’s Oranssi Pazuzu.

Oranssi Pazuzu play Black Metal that incorporates elements of psychedelia and Progessive Metal into its dark embrace.

This is the great thing about what Black Metal has become – it has developed way beyond the initial confines of the original genre into all manner of weird, wonderful and splendid things, probably more so than any other genre in many ways. Purists may disagree and say that Black Metal is one specific thing or another, of course. Whether they’re right or not is largely irrelevant, but what is relevant is that Black Metal has been used time and time again as the base inspiration for many a band’s exploration into wider sounds and different pastures.

All of which serves as a slightly long-winded introduction for Värähtelijä; here is an album that does exactly as previously described – it takes the base of Black Metal but does so much more with it than your average Darkthrone clone.

Here we have music that has been expanded upon with psychedelic and progressive properties, as well as the claustrophobic apocolyptica of Neurosis and the extravagant otherworldliness of Sigh. All of this is wrapped up tightly in an emotive, atmospheric blackened cloud and hidden deep in a murky cave somewhere, awaiting discovery by you.

Yes, you.

The atmospheres created on Värähtelijä are surely born of the void, born from some howling, other place that refuses to conform to our physical laws. Surely? The depth, texture and mood displayed on these tracks is more than most bands manage in a lifetime. That’s not so say it’s always 100% effective in everything it does, but again; it’s way more effective than most bands succeed in being when they add a bit of mood to their music. However, Oranssi Pazuzu aren’t “adding a bit of mood to their music”; this is pure mood music and everything here is designed to emote and emote strongly. And it does.

This is certainly not one-dimensional and there’s a lot of different ideas, sounds and styles incorporated into their trippy take on dark music.

Hugely impressive and a great absorbing listen for anyone into music that takes time to appreciate as it seeps into your mind and takes over.