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Opium Warlords: Taste My Sword of Understanding

Opium Warlords is the avant-garde project of Sami Albert Hynninen (Reverend Bizarre, The Puritan, Spiritus Mortis, Azrael Rising, The Candles Burning Blue), and Taste My Sword of Understanding is the third and latest release for Svart Records. Many of the tracks on display here were written between 1994 and 2009, recorded in 2010, and mixed in 2013, so they've come a long way to their final unveiling here in 2014. Though the first two cuts, "The Sadness of Vultures" and "The Land Beyond the Pole", features mainly droning bass & guitar, "The Self-Made Man" is a more realized song, epic in scope, with galloping rhythms and tasty guitar riffs, a sure fire bet to please any viking metal fan. "The God in Ruins" fluctuates from gentle folk to bombastic doom metal, with gravelly old man vocals telling the tale, and "The Solar Burial" follows a similar path, as minimalistic folky interludes battle doom laden riffs and spoken word vocals. One of the albums longest pieces is the 14-minute "Mount Meru", which dips into slow, ominous funeral doom, a trend that we also see in "This Place Has Been Passed". The brief "Manisolas From Misandria" is perhaps the heaviest piece on the album (and also the shortest), and leads into the closing melancholy death march that is "In Melancholy Moonless Acheron", a tune that ends the album on a more calming note, but honestly is a tune that very closely resembles a few other tracks on the album. That perhaps is my main gripe with Taste My Sword of Understanding, the overall lack of variety. Too many of these songs just meander along aimlessly, yet it's a similar path from track to track, seemingly unending folk/doom passages with spoken word vocalizations, before a few moments of crushing riffs come in to save the day. Though there are some good moments, many of the songs are also way too long, making for a trying listen at times.

Track Listing
1) The Sadness of Vultures
2) The Land Beyond the Pole
3) The Self-Made Man
4) The God in Ruins
5) The Solar Burial
6) Mount Meru
7) This Place Has Been Passed
8) Manisolas From Misandria
9) In Melancholy Moonless Acheron

Added: April 9th 2014
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 2231
Language: english

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