Opium Warlords - Taste My Sword of Understanding (Svart Records)

Bass. Bass. More bass. Heavy joy...
Release Date: 
29 May 2014 - 11:30pm

Opium Warlords love the bass; just for this reason it gets my seal of approval. Then you add the fact that this roaming experimental album is full of weird psychedelic meanderings (which I guarantee won't be to everyone's liking) and it gets my double seal of approval. Main man Sami Albert Hynninen (The Puritan, Spiritus Mortis and a host of other doom-laden bands) has put the Warlord's third album firmly in a more accesible place than previous releases but still manages to construct tunes of epic proportions, most of which are led by throbbing bass lines that rumble and grumble throughout each track on here.

Take The Self Made Man; a huge song with doomish, sludgy qualities with Sam's powerfully projected vocals laid over some great organ work and fuzzy guitars. It's the kind of stuff that should be blasted out in a church or cathedral - but the beauty is that no track sounds like any of the other tracks on Taste My Sword of Understanding. Opener The Sadness of Vultures is like some weird experiment in pure bass composition, indeed, it's more like some crazed german classical composer has gone all fruity and pushed the boundaries to the point of no longer existing. Weird chimes, feedback and harmonics echo around, bouncing off each other. It's sludgy bass for bass loving bass fans. The God in Ruins has some thoughful (almost sad) arrangements then this weird, vaguely black metal vocal/spoken word bit comes in, bemoaning all manner of injustices and pain. To be honest, I found it a tad amusing and possibly a touch over-strained but I liked it nonetheless.

The chanting qualities of The Solar Burial give a religious feel to the track, reminding me of catholic masses and/or litanies. Always the bass stands out and I love it. From the restrained first section, the tune suddenly goes off with gigantic chords and drums. I love it even more. The sense of the dramatic is strong but if you're open to it Kiss My Sword...should certainly satisfy the urge for something a bit different. Other tracks like The Land Beyond The Pole have a quite groovish quality with what sounds like a Casio organ bossa nova beat going on in the background. Well fruity. There's an almost Black Sabbath quality to this album and most of the tunes could easily be appended to tracks such as N.I.B or Children of the Grave (a particular section on Mount Meru gave rise to this thought). But this album is strong enough to stand on its own without comparison to other bands. Did I mention there's a lot of bass on here?