Finnish extreme metal group Oranssi Pazusu’s latest album Mestarin kynsi proves richly thrilling right from the very first moments. The album feels like the soundtrack to the emergence of some kind of horrifying beast, and poignantly, the horror that is at hand in the album’s environment feels very tangible and immediately threatening rather than entirely wistful and escapist. In a sense, the music feels like a startlingly fitting soundtrack to the quite simply bonkers tone of living life in 2020, without even considering the COVID-19 pandemic that has sent the world hurtling even further off its axis. The latest songs of Oranssi Pazusu combine a sense of a looming existential threat with a slightly nihilistic confrontation of that threat, and the whole piece feels immensely thrilling.
On their latest piece, Oranssi Pazusu dial up their reliance on nontraditional sonic elements. Most of the opening minutes are filled up by uneasy synth melodies, and when the heavy guitars and drums blast in towards the end of the song, the way in which they’re performed carries on with the same uneasy, even slightly nauseating tone of the synths, which continue on alongside the rest of the music. The vocals also feature pointed extremity, as the band’s singer delivers throat-shredding growls that don’t sound very guttural at all. Instead, the singer sounds like he’s capturing the essence of some kind of demented, swamp-dwelling monster, to take a nod from the murky cover art.
As the album progresses, the swirling, intricate rhythms end up feeling only more completely off-kilter — seriously, they’re simply wild, in the best way. On track two, the band perform with sinister synth tones that feel somehow even more psychologically permeating, and bursts of guitar riffing follow along with the alluringly twisted, erratic presentation, as they do elsewhere on the memorable album. The feeling delivered by the tension between the prominent, ominous synths and the more traditional black metal instrumentation consistently remains front and center, as if the band are trying to use their stew of wailing synths and howling guitars to peel apart listeners’ previously held notions of existential stability. It’s thrilling, really — Mestarin kynsi packs an awesome psychedelic experience that has the added force of the drive of raw black metal.
Check out the album below! And prepare for a head-trip. Mestarin kynsi is available via Nuclear Blast Records.