Oranssi Pazuzu, Mestarin Kynsi (Nuclear Blast)

In the music press’ relentlessly clinical drive to fully classify absolutely every note laid down in the history of recorded music, you really have to root hard for a unit like Oranssi Pazuzu. Shamanistic, Finnish, blindingly eclectic, it’s as if OP was created simply to jam the algorithms into oblivion. If you’re looking for anything resembling a root source, I guess that would be black metal, but of the distinctly Finnish variety that tends to be untethered to the usual signifiers and trappings of the genre, with OP themselves leaning hard into northern nature, vivid paganism, and the realms of the mind. But that’s not where it really gets weird. Motorik Kraut rhythms play a prominent role here, often blighting out any telltale black metal signposts for minutes at a time, as does free jazz (how many black metal bands you know cite Coltrane and Sun Ra? We’ll wait.), as does heady acid house, as does proggy ’70s psychedelia….but really none of these labels mean much when bumping this new OP record, their fourth overall and best yet, where they lock into an overall sound that is that rarest of all things: truly unclassifiable. On Mestarin Kynsi OP has repetition on the brain, and they use it to feverish, head-tripping effect right from the absolutely epochal opener limestys which builds on two repeated guitar plunks over five pregnant minutes into a head rush howl of a finale. kuulen ääniä maan alta is all surging synth pulses, wild four-on-the-floor traditional BM breaks, and a drone outro as chilly calm as a Finnish countryside winterscape. On tracks where OM really stretches out and lets things soar, like the Floydian, elegant uusi teknokratia and glacial outro taivaan portti, OM reaches that rare flashpoint where music can teleport listeners with the right sets of ears into realms unknown.