Finland’s BEASTMILK have been extremely busy these days. First, they have parted ways with co-founding guitarist Johan “goatspeed” Snell. Thus, the remaining members felt the need to change the band’s name to GRAVE PLEASURES moving forward.
ORANSSI PAZUZU guitarist Juho Vanhanen also joins the ranks for live/studio purposes. The band will have two guitarists now, including Linnea Olsson (THE OATH, SONIC RITUAL).
Additionally, GRAVE PLEASURES are working on their major label deal debut.
Once again, another fruitful year in extreme music draws to a close. We saw some long awaited comebacks by legends, three quarters of the original SABBATH line up, VOIVOD and CARCASS. The godfathers of U.S. death metal had a healthy year with strong releases by SUFFOCATION, DEICIDE, and IMMOLATION. We also saw young superstars, GHOST B.C. and KVELERTAK, release good sophomore albums. Perhaps the most polarizing and criticized album is SATYRICON‘s self-titled album, which was roasted by the majority of the media and fans.
Among the mountains of releases, there is one album that we’ll gush about again and again, and that’s CARCASS‘ comeback album, Surgical Steel. There are always good and interesting albums coming out all the time, and then there are the untouchable albums that only the legendary bands could create. Surgical Steel scorches everything in its path and clearly shows that in the pantheon of active bands, they are at the top.
Every genre of extreme music gets stagnant and needs a kick in the arse. Finland’s ORANSSI PAZUZU provide the type of injection that black metal needs with their third record, Valonielu.
For the unitiated, the band occupy their own space in the avant garde black metal universe. Psychedelia, black metal, and some dark metal are seamlessly blended to create sinister and eerie atmospheres. Perhaps, latter day DODHEIMSGARD and MAYHEM,and early ARCTURUS could serve as loose reference points. It’s easy to picture the band playing somewhere in a forest as the Northern Lights go off in the sky.
From the outset, Valonielu pulls you in and keeps you interested in where the band will go next. The feeling of unpredictability and the novelty of the songs is a compelling force. ORANSSI PAZUZU never stick to a specific song structure or songwriting formula. They do whatever is best for a particular song. A prime example is “Vino Verso,” which features one riff that is repeated throughout the song. “Tyhjä Tempelli” is centered on a tribal beat, bassline, and spaced out guitar effects that rise and fall in a cascade of keyboards. In other words, the record is a cosmic journey.
Valonielu only has six tracks but you would hardly notice that due to the immersive content. They prove that their substance prevails. Also, it’s important to recommend their back catalogue as well.
While other black metal bands are focused on retreading territory that legendary bands have already conquered, ORANSSI PAZUZU forge ahead with their innovative sound. Undoubtedly, one of the best albums of the year. (20 Buck Spin)