Valonielu Review + Stream
When you think about Finnish black metal, bands such as Beherit, Sargeist, Behexen, Horna and Satanic Warmaster come to mind. Bands of the trve kvlt ilk, bands that deal in an unholy and orthodox sound, bands that lather the corpse paint on and wear spikes longer than is necessary and shout about Satan. All that stuff is definitely great, but Oranssi Pazuzu do not fall into that category at all. This Finnish quintet are an entirely different breed of black metal and their third full length, Valonielu is a trippy, psychedelic journey that is awash with colour and experimentation. It’s absolutely bonkers and for a lot of the running time you won’t have any idea what’s even happening to your ears. And that’s OK.
“Vino Verso” gets things underway with a steady pulsing rhythm that takes in glitches of electronic weirdness that flit in between a wonderfully crunched down guitar sound that cycles through the same sound in a repetitive and hypnotic measure. It’s a tad unnerving on first listen and Valonielu is certainly a record to spend some time with. Layers slowly reveal themselves through repeated sessions and the strangeness of it all soon becomes familiar, but no less nightmarish in scope and achievement.
An unsettling calm is ushered in by the gentle opening strains of “Uraanisula” before the track gives way to climbing rivets of guitar that throw out curious little inflections of sound that weave between synthesised lines of spaced out magic. The otherworldly and insistent rhythm continues to rear its head throughout and is a theme that is carried by Oranssi Pazuzu during much of the record which gives Valonielu a disturbingly comforting aura at times, although the off-kilter, theremin style eccentricity of “Reikä Maisemassa” soon puts paid to any feelings of comfort with its dissonant and occultic horror movie vibrations.
Valonielu could easily get lost in its own pretension and offbeat landscapes but Oranssi Pazuzu have a solid grasp of their abilities and as such the album flows with a abstract cohesion and while it may take a few moments of your time in order for it to seep into your bones, the record is a wonderful journey into the outer reaches. “Ympyrä On Viiva Tomussa” closes Valonielu on a suitably bizarre tone and the flashes of electro-madness that feed into the guitar swells work alongside the vocal harshness of frontman Jun-His, adding to the unconventional joy that Oranssi Pazuzu find in such odd mannerisms and have been pushing forth with ever since their debut in 2009.
Valonielu shouldn’t make any sense at all, but in being so willfully complex and outlandish, Oranssi Pazuzu have crafted a work of borderline genius. Where they go from here is anyone’s guess. Stick with them. You won’t regret it.