Opium Warlords – Live at Colonia Dignidad   Leave a comment

“The solo project of Sami Hynninen is by turns slightly creepy, unexpectedly profound, and quite hilarious as his unwieldy guitar-based songs and wild imagery reference necrophilia, rainbows, sadomasochism, bunnies and fart sniffing.” (Brainwashed.Com)

It is no secret that Opium Warlords is the work of Sami Albert Hynninen – All instruments and vocals of Armanenschaft, Azrael Rising, The Candles Burning Blue, KLV, Lohja SS, March 15, Orne, Punisment, Reverend Bizarre, Spiritus Mortis and The Puritan fame and I don’t even think it was ever meant to be a secret as some underground metal zines have suggested. Whatever the truth is, it doesn’t matter because this is Sami and this is classic doom and while this is by no means flawless, it still wipes the floor with most wannabee’s of the doom-metal scene. Some mysteries and questions surround the making of this album, one of which is Sami was suicidal and full of various health problems during the recording and making of this release. The album is pretty typical of Sami’s other work and offers no surprises really, fans of Reverend Bizarre and The Puritan will know most of this music almost already as it doesn’t vary too much from his other bands. Please note, this is not a live album as the title suggests, it was recorded in Villa Baviera, formerly known as Colonia Dignidad which is a Chilean hamlet in Parral Commune of the Maule Region of central Chile. This album can only be described as “introverted” and “withdrawn” as the music is not as upfront as any of his earlier bands. Sami is a private person and the music on this album conveys that single-mindedness and life of solitude which Sami craves for. Read this monster interview to learn more – Interview With Sami @ Doommantia

Musically this album is ponderous and awkward in its arrangements but it fits in such a way that it is obvious, these songs were meant to be this loose. The depressing, brooding atmosphere combined with some lyrics that verge on the total X-Rated evoke a feeling that Sami is pissed off about many things in his life and in the world but some of it seems very tongue in cheek too. Some of these lyrics can be taken two ways, take it seriously and you could find yourself being greatly offended by some of his inane rants. For example –
Now from your wide
Raw *unt, the abyss,
Spend spouting the tide
Of your sizzling piss
In my mouth; oh my Whore
Let it pour, let it pour!

Call me your sewer
Of spilth and snot
Your fart-sniffer, chewer
Of the shit in your slot.
Call me that as you rave
In the rape of your slave. ( Let It Pour, Let It Pour )

The song titles “Suck My Spear, Servant of Satan” reeks of pure-cheese while “Support the Satanic Youth” isn’t exactly thought-provoking so you could be forgiven for thinking some of this is lacking a certain amount of class. All that aside though, this album is indeed great even as Sami turns the putrid, horrible lyrics of “Let It Pour, Let It Pour” into something actually both entertaining and interesting. His grunting vocals strangely push these deranged messages with some emotion and feeling and before you know it, you are singing these dirges yourself. Just don’t sing the “Let It Pour” tune when you standing somewhere waiting to catch a bus ha ha! The other way to approach these words of wisdom is from the way the lyrics were intended in the first place and that is from a deeply personal perspective. Sami writes about mythology, funerals, furry animals to semen, abortions to the urine games already quoted so it is a very diverse but amusing album lyrically and it is hard to keep a straight face during most of this. Some of it is inspired by poets, “Return To The Source” was inspired by the death poem of Japanese Zen Buddhist teacher Gesshu- So-ko.

There is only fast track on the album and that is “Support the Satanic Youth” and that lasts for all of a whopping 5 seconds, the rest of the album is mostly plodding doom-rock that is sometimes meandering but always interesting. “Soon Be Here, Prince of Sleep” is classic “Sami” with an atmospheric hook that is hard to describe. The centerpiece to the album is the 17 minute “Feel the Funeral Breeze” and which is just pure extended misery so this is not an album for the weak or tepid listener because if you are in a fragile mental state, this album is bound to send you over the edge. Some of his best vocals show up on “Meet Me at the Iron Place” and the mid-tempo instrumental “Feel the Strength” is repetitive but infectious. Overall this is very predictable but totally uncompromising and it is one for doom-purists who don’t mind a bit of self-indulgent, wandering guitar work. The main thing I get from this album is what a complex character Sami Albert Hynninen really is, musically and otherwise.

While this is fairly simple blackened rock music, there is an underlying complicated twist to most of these songs that shows Hynninen really doesn’t give a f**k, this is him expressing himself the way he wants and if you don’t like it, don’t buy it and shut-up. I think there is not many people in the worldwide doom scene with the charisma of this man and even if the lyrics seem a bit childish, it still conveys a vibe unique to this one man. I will add the booklet contains occult references, an ad for Zyprexa tablets and very child-like drawings that make this an even more unique package. Without doing the research, I know already that this is album that people will either love or hate. I love it, buy it………….9/10
Opium Warlords @ Myspace
Cobra Records

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Posted January 5, 2011 by doommantia in Opium Warlords

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