How do you describe something that defies description at every turn? What does ‘avant-garde’ even mean when you are so far removed from your peers that you don’t even seem to notice them? George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel is not necessarily your go-to spirit guide for examining and understanding boundary-pushing psychedelic metal, yet here we are, listening to Waste of Space Orchestra’s monumental Syntheosis and witnessing abstract concepts swirling and coalescing around us. True to Hegel’s dialectical method, concrete meets abstract and both are reconciled to pure absolute during the course of the album, in the sublime manner of an eternally recurring sonic metamorphosis equal parts primal and cerebral.
Not only do Waste of Space Orchestra obviously not care about genre trappings, it feels as if Syntheosis is coming from a muse so far removed from anything in the same remote neighborhood as them. The merger of Oranssi Pazuzu and Dark Buddha Rising is a thing of beauty and marvel, where the creative interaction of the two bands and their respective sound form anatomies and unleash impressive artistic synergies: Dark Buddha Rising introduce an atavistic ritual dread heretofore absent in Oranssi Pazuzu’s music which serves to immanentize the stargate-opening eschaton (impressively, neither the seven minutes of ominous chanting and approaching apotheosis on “Infinite Gate Opening”, nor the floating space ambient of “The Universal Eye” feel long-winded or unnecessary); In return, Oranssi Pazuzu’s influence imbues the mass of Dark Buddha Rising’s drone doom with spiraling velocity that drills like a cosmic corkscrew, as evidenced by the riffs, groove and throttle of “The Shamanic Vision,” “Seeker’s Reflection” and “Vacuum Head.”
Long-time fans of Oranssi Pazuzu in particular have plenty of reason to rejoice, as stylistic callbacks to the their previous albums and corresponding idiosyncrasies abound, be it the sparkle, stomp and energy of the three aforementioned whirlwinds recalling Farmakologinen and Valonielu; the gloomy sway and trudge of Muukalainen Puhuu that pervades “Journey to the Center of the Mass;” or the title track’s benthic pressure levels that build up until detonating in a psychedelic blizzard of solar flares reminiscent of the long-form destruction that was on display on Valonielu and Värähtelijä. Such moments of familiarity coupled with new sonic personas charge Syntheosis with beautifully shape-shifting vitality and character, and elevate the album to exalted heights.
Syntheosis embraces perfection in moments when different constituent elements break free, assume momentary dominance and set direction of travel for the evolutionary journey, until a melting point is reached and everything dissolves and is finally engulfed by the boiling ether; black metal, doom metal, krautrock, psych, free jazz, and ambient all play leapfrog with one another, undulating between genres when not shattering dividing lines between them outright. And yet for as chaotic as things get here, one of my favorite parts of Syntheosis is how distinct each player’s piece is in the whole. The production on this album is as wide and spacious as two distinct bands coming together needs to be, and the instrumentation has the warm and exciting qualities of a live recording. Listen to the perfectly imperfect way the two drummers slip in and out of sync with each other on “The Shamanic Vision” and you’ll feel like you are up front in the Netherlands watching this being performed.
Ultimately, it is the power and texture of Waste of Space Orchestra’s vision and musical narrative, and how its movements and dramatic arc develop into an amorphous state of resplendent and splendorous ever-blossom. In essence, Syntheosis is truly visionary.
– Zyklonius & Vincent