Waste of Space Orchestra – Syntheosis

Band: Waste of Space Orchestra
Title: Syntheosis
Label: Svart Records
Release Date: 05 April 2019
Country: Finland
Format Reviewed: Digital Promo

From the moment the first sonic tidal wave of a chord comes crashing down in album opener “Void Monolith” – after a slowly creeping build-up – it is apparent that WASTE OF SPACE ORCHESTRA has charted an auditory voyage into outer space. It’s a journey through dimensions, charting gigantic slabs of sound, straining against the gravitational pull of dying suns. As far as I can tell this great machine was built in accordance with the inter-dimensional travellers blueprint of Hawkwind, with metal plating forged in the furnaces of King Crimson… and someone sealed a demon in there… so keep a firm grip on your eternal soul.

“Syntheosis” is big, it’s grand, it’s operatic, in that creepy, self-knowing way of Fantomas. With nine tracks and over sixty minutes in length, the music is fused together into one spaced out, metallic, demonically flavored doom odyssey. Never is the band in a hurry to get you from point A to B. Instead the music stretches out across galaxies of thick, overdriven bass, crashing, concrete slabs of percussion and a 70s prog-wet-dream of all the synth textures you could possibly need to chart a hallucinogenic journey of the inner mind. And did I mention that demon?

With track titles like “The Shamanic Vision, Journey to the Center of Mass”, and “Infinite Gate Opening” the sense of dancing semi-naked on a stage, covered in ritualistic face-paints, under strobe-lighting, in a trance state on a head-full of acid is never too far away. Mostly instrumental (with demonic screeching interspersed), the atmosphere created on the record is so consistently enveloping that I prefer not to think too much about it being the creation of a collection of earthly creatures. It feels strange to me even as I type the band does this, and the band does that. I prefer to experience “Syntheosis” as a strange demonic space alien hauling me through dimensions of sound. If I view too many pictures of some affable long-haired folk in jeans and t-shirts I think it might break the spell. So I’m aware the …. entity … is Finnish and apparently a super-group of sorts drawing members from various bands who may very well be worth investigating in their own right. For the time being, I choose to enjoy “Syntheosis” on its own terms as a psychedelic, doomy, space-rock voyage conducted by a multi-limbed, multi-brained alien entity.

No review of mine on BAZ would apparently be complete without me referencing Neurosis“Through Silver In Blood” album, so I’d better get that box ticked. In amongst the ambient drifting, doomy thunderclaps, and roaring, bass-driven jet engines, the demonic space alien frequently employs what I always hear as the ‘Aeon Effect’ (the classic Neurosis track being to my ears the perfect example of this), of relentless tribal drumming, summoning the army of the damned into the final battle of the end of days. While I frequently hear this reference point throughout “Syntheosis” in its frequent crescendos, the overall effect of the album is never abrasive in the way Neurosis is (either by production or sudden melodic twists). While the intensity on this album intentionally ebbs and flows – most notably on the tremendously wild, by turns soothing then maniacally cacophonous Wake Up The Possessor, with its Jarboe invoking demoness carrying the propulsive track into warp-drive – the music never takes sharp turns, and the sound is rich, thick and heavy, occasionally dissonant, but generally a sonic landscape to pull the listener into a trance, rather than tear the psyche with metal claws. Well, that’s my experience anyway. It might give you night terrors on late, dark evenings alone.

Altogether, whatever dimension WASTE OF SPACE ORCHESTRA materialized from, they are most welcome to catapult me through space and time for an hour or so at a time with “Syntheosis”. It’s is a grand demonic space trip and I seem to have returned with limbs and mind for the most part intact. 8.5/10 Tom

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