028: ORANSSI PAZUZU

Something kind of unprecedented happened for me with Oranssi Pazuzu’s 2020 album, ‘Mestarin kynsi’. With the enormous amount of new releases I listen to throughout each year, it’s not uncommon for some albums to lose some of their lustre. I’ll throw them on, absolutely lose my fucking shit over them, and decry they’re a 10/10 and likely contender for my album of the year. Then, once the novelty has worn off, they’ll settle somewhat in my opinion. Maybe down to a 9/10 or thereabouts. Maybe even lower. I won’t stop loving the album, but my perception will be better adjusted with the context of more albums heard thereafter.

Mestarin kynsi was the opposite. And not the occasional way, where I don’t like an album, then give it a second chance some time later to find a different mood/frame of mind/understanding means I suddenly find myself enjoying it. Even that is a more common situation than what happened with this album.

With Mestarin kynsi, I played it once on release day, and just thought it was ‘okay’. Then, maybe a month later, I thought why not give it another listen, it’s not bad. Then two weeks later. Then a few days later. Then again. And again. And each time I just got it a little more. Each time, something just fucking started working.

Now, what started as an album barely able to crack my top 50, has risen to 25th, 10th, 3rd, and finally, top of the list – my favourite album of 2020.

How Oranssi Pazuzu achieved this, I’m still not entirely sure, but the simple fact is this is a breathtakingly original band.

Oranssi Pazuzu’s thing over the last few years has been the psychedelification of black metal – incorporating more and more kaleidoscopic elements into their black metal soundscape – always to great results. But, with Mestarin kynsi, they finally broke through the looking glass, finally becoming what I believe they were always intended to be.

Oranssi Pazuzu had evolved from psychedelic black metal into blackened psychedelia. The ratio had been flipped, with spacey guitar work and mind-bending synths now soundtracking the demonic vocals in their compositions.

Mestarin kynsi is a masterwork. An envelope-pushing, genre defining album that will be held in the highest regard in the years to come, while Oranssi Pazuzu will be revered as the true innovators they are.