I type faster than I can think sometimes. Getting into that groove where your mind just sets itself and no longer allows any random thoughts in – did I turn off the stove? – we can all get there, but can probably agree it doesn’t always happen when we want it to. Few things can induce that state, and on those occasions when that focus of our attention is strong enough, we often say that we’re in a trance.
Well – the set that Oranssi Pazuzu put on here in Toronto this past Saturday (their first ever appearance in Canada) put me into a trance that I still haven’t really woken up from. It’s been days and I’m still feeling like my mind has been irreversibly altered, every molecule of my being turned inside out, by a band that I thought I was prepared to experience live after years of admiring them.
Things started off with quite a few people clearly camped out in anticipation even before local openers A Flock Named Murder took the stage. While the Velvet didn’t seem optimally set up to do justice to their evolving sound, they continue to impress. They pulled everyone in with a generous intro, an inviting guitar solo, and pretty soon the place filled in to enjoy their signature scream-your-face-off vocals, noodley guitar wizardry and crisp percussion. Anyway I ramble, click the images to enlarge :
A friend found me as Insect Ark set up. “I’ve never heard this band” they said. “Me neither”, I replied, “I don’t really know what to expect.” Smiling, they turned their eyes to the stage – “I hope it’s abrasive.” I thought to myself, that’s probably not at all what they’re like. Ah, vindication is so good sometimes – while intense, I would sooner call their set dreamy than anything else. Evoked vibes of being in the desert – desert dream metal, is that a thing?
Oh spirits, what do I even say about Oranssi Pazuzu?! I’m such a fan, I can’t remember when I first heard them but it was not long after the release of their first full-length, Muukalainen puhuu, in 2009. Geez, 10 years of these guys melting my mind! I really can’t emphasize enough how excited I was when the tour announcement came out confirming the show here in Toronto, and of course, there was that tiny part of me that wondered if their set could possibly live up to the absolutely incredible experiences I’ve had listening to each stunning album they’ve released over the last decade. I mean, obviously some of those experiences were ah, enhanced, and I expected that the set would be good and hoped that it would come close to my expectations. But I was so wrong – so very very wrong. It wasn’t “as good as” their recorded material – seeing them live was on a completely different plane.
It shouldn’t be any surprise once you think about their name for a minute – every member of this quintet from Finland is 100% possessed by the same demon. And as they played – sprinkling in selections from throughout their various full-lengths and also a bit of brand new material – everyone in the now full room became a little possessed too. At least, it felt like they all were in my peripheral vision, as I didn’t really look anywhere but the stage the whole time they were on. As I fell under the spell of the hypnotic loops, mega riffs and psychedelic keys that make up their unique sound, I’m very surprised that I was able to focus my camera through the darkness to capture a few images, especially as they moved with incredible energy across the stage. After every song wound down and the crowd screamed and cheered, I let out a huge exhale, the intensity of it all nearly too much to take.
The tour continues through the 27th of October, where they will end up in Seattle.
Those of us now under their spell can probably quench the thirst for more by absorbing the new collaboration released earlier this year, “Waste of Space Orchestra”, with Dark Buddha Rising :
Oranssi Pazuzu on bandcamp :
Insect Ark :
A Flock Named Murder :