Stream Opium Warlords’ ‘Taste My Sword Of Understanding’ In Full

By on 30 May 2014


Finland’s doom-laden Opium Warlords (the solo project of ex-Reverend Bizarre frontman Sami Albert Hynninen) have just released a brand new album, ‘Taste My Sword Of Understanding’. Not only can you stream the entire thing right here, but you can also read what Sami himself had to say about this new project in our exclusive interview…

Opium Warlords has existed in some form or another since 2004, but it wasn’t until after the dissolution of Reverend Bizarre in 2007 that the project really started to make waves. Sami released his debut ‘Live At Colonia Dignidad’ (which confusingly enough, was neither live, nor recorded in Chile) in 2009 and followed it up with the truly bizarre ‘We Meditate Under The Pussy In The Sky’ in 2012. These albums differed quite drastically from Reverend Bizarre’s more traditional doom ethos, allowing Sami to let his freak flag fly and delve into ever more esoteric and surreal sonic pastures.

His latest opus, ‘Taste My Sword Of Understanding’, perhaps ebbs slightly closer to his former band’s doom template (not least due to Sami’s distinctive vocals and riffing style), but twists that sound into strange, abstract new shapes along the way. It’s quite a thrilling listen indeed, and comes highly recommended for both doom aficionados and fans of leftfield, experimental music alike.

Check out the album in full below, and then see what Sami had to say about it in our exclusive interview…

First of all, could you tell us a little bit about how Opium Warlords came into existence, and how it differs from your other projects?
Sami: “I had ideas of two different projects with this name already in 2004 and 2006, but Opium Warlords as it is now, came to existence in the end of 2008, and in 2009 I recorded the first album.

“It has to be said though, that for example this new album was mostly together already in 2002 when it comes to compositions, and arrangements, and I have still lots of material waiting to be recorded from late 90´s onwards, so the music can be much older than this exact project.

“Opium Warlords gets even closer to my own world and personality than the other projects I have worked with, but everything I have done has been at least somehow “open”. With Opium Warlords I do not have to be responsible about anyone else. I can go as far as I wish to. With other bands I have had to think about all the other people, and their mental states.”

How do you manage to find the time for so many projects?
Sami: “Well, basically this is all I do, besides some writing and drawing. I do not hang around with people, or really have any hobbies other than reading, and watching good films and tv-series, but even that is slightly connected to my work, as ideas come from these sources too. My main influence however is life itself.

“I have had trouble with time, and loss of energy and being burnt out, and in the coming two or three years I hope to get done with all the other projects, and concentrate completely in Opium Warlords.”

Tell us a little about the new album, ’Taste My Sword Of Understanding’. How would you say this album compares to the previous two?
Sami: “As I already mentioned, most of this material was already with me in 2002, but some elements were added to it later, as well as most of the lyrics, which were written around 2009 and early 2010. In my opinion this album is much warmer and gentle, and less violent, and could I say, vindictive than the first two albums. If those were closer to psychosis and mania, and very dark mental places, this is about melancholy, and human relations, and such things. This is almost as soft as Opium Warlords can get, but I have a couple of even softer albums coming, so maybe it is too early to say anything too definitive about this album now. Time will tell what place it finds in the whole discography.”

How does the writing process work for Opium Warlords? Do you find it easier to write on your own, or do you ever miss having someone else to bounce ideas off?
Sami: “I have always written alone, with exception of bands like Azrael Rising or Spiritus Mortis, where the music already exists, and I only write the lyrics, and vocals arrangements.

“With Reverend Bizarre and The Puritan I wrote most of the material, and I always had the completely finished work when I showed it to the others, and everything was recorded according to this vision.

“I have never bounced any ideas with anyone, so, in this sense nothing has changed. It is as easy as it ever was. Only difficult thing in making albums is the sound production, as I am almost a patholigical perfectionist.”

Why is it you feel such resilience to playing live?
Sami: “I have retired from playing live because of issues with my health, but I do not miss anything there. I never liked to be on stage or around all those people.

Your noted influences have all been innovative and experimental musicians, why is it you think many bands seem to be afraid to make music that does not fit neatly within one stylistic category?
Sami: “I don’t know. I wish it would not be so, and there would be more musicians who would be free and open and willing to just ”let it go”. Maybe majority of the musicians just happen to have bit more narrow taste in music, focused in just couple of genres. Of course it is also commercially more beneficial to fit to just one category.

“I have since my early years been interested in unconventional things. Ordinary world is death to me.”

What does the future have in store for Opium Warlords?
Sami: “I wish to continue producing albums, until I am done with all the ideas I have, but it is in the hands of the paying customers, as I can’t do it without a label backing me up, and they need to sell records, but of course it also depends on the fact how long do we have albums?”

‘Taste My Sword Of Understanding’ is available now via Svart Records.

You can find Opium Warlords on Facebook.

About Kez Whelan

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