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Avant Garde

Waste of Space Orchestra – Syntheosis Album Review

The current Finnish extreme music scene is filled with forward thinking and innovative acts. From iconoclastic surrealistic black metal act Oranssi Pazuzu, dark doom spiritualists Dark Buddha Rising, psychedelic explorers PH to ethereal rockers Horte. And there appears to be a true sense of comradery in the scene, with bands using same practice spaces and spawning new projects like Atomikyla. The latest chapter to this wondrous sonic adventure coming from Finland is the unification of Oranssi Pazuzu with Dark Buddha Rising, appropriately named Waste of Space Orchestra, a play after the name of the bands’ practice studio called Wastement.

Waste of Space differs from most collaborations between acts in one vital sense. This is not a side release, a split record between two bands. No, this is now part of the main discography of both bands, a follow-up to both Varahtelija and Inversum. For that reason the two bands have been meticulously structuring the concept and music for Syntheosis for most of 2018, putting in tremendous effort to create a cohesive and worthy entry on their respective discographies.

What shines immediately through Syntheosis is the density of this work. Considering that this is a 10 person orchestra that is not especially surprising, but it is the inner working of the tracks that drive this point across so brilliantly. This thick layering starts from the drums as Jukka Ramanen and Jarko Salo combine their performances to create a spacious and encircling rhythmic backbone. Their playing is fluid and free-flowing, harnessing the cosmic energy of krautrock for the exploratory moments while coming down hard on the outbreaks of the record. And it is precisely on these aggressive moments that everything comes together for Waste of Space Orchestra. Tracks like “The Shamanic Vision” and “Vacuum Head” expose the thick layer and complex structures of this work, while delivering some of its most punishing moments. In a similar way, the synths and electronics weave the ambiance of Syntheosis adding to the multidimensional presence of the work. This can happen in subtle way, as with the opening of “Journey To The Center of Mass” or a more minimal approach verging towards the dark ambient territory with “The Universal Eye”.

Considering the amount of thought and work that has been put into this album it is not surprising that Oranssi Pazuzu and Dark Buddha Rising strike a fine balance. They are able to retain their individual identities, but also find points where these two can blend into one another. Much of the lead work of Syntheosis tilts towards the bitter psychedelic touch of Oranssi Pazuzu, with the haunting lead work taking over with its dissonant edge in moments like “Seeker’s Reflection”. It is also something that shines in the even more extravagant pats of this work, as is the case with the unbalanced rendition of the epic “Journey To The Center of Mass”. This repetitive unfolding and its kosmische Musik influence work wonders in building this mystical experience. And that is where the doom metal of Dark Buddha Rising sweeps in so nicely. The monolithic melodies of opener “Void Monolith” awaken the introspective ritualism of this work, making the track appear relentless and endless. The perfect specimen for this approach is the unbelievable “Infinite Gate Opening”, which carries down the dark ceremonial pathway as distant voices chant incoherently. Drones and sparse drumming dress the ambiance and when the pace quickens this whole endeavor takes an asphyxiating form.

This is the central element at the core of Syntheosis, the notion of a true, complete collaboration between two different musical entities. As Oranssi Pazuzu and Dark Buddha Rising have structured this work in an almost flawless manner, it is no surprise that the final track, “Syntheosis” sees all the sides converge to a center. And it is there that the two acts find the sweet spot between the ritualistic world of Dark Buddha Rising and the cosmic psychedelia of Oranssi Pazuzu, as the slow pace collides with the visceral riffs. At its highest point, the track makes it feel as if the entire universe is collapsing around you, and it is with that passion and dedication that these two bands have been able to bring forth this transcendental work.

Written By

Sound engineer, sonic manipulator, record hunter and writer/contributor for a variety of webzines.

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