Premiere: Opium Warlords – “Closure”


There are albums, many albums, that I would be delighted to be able to introduce you to. Even though it means playing only a miniscule, nigh irrelevant role in an album’s potential story-to-be, it still feels like nod of approval whenever a band you’ve followed and enjoyed for a long time offers you this chance. These bands are many, but I doubt I would feel so honored to present them as I do now, when I bring you the final song from Opium Warlords’ fourth album – Droner.

Opium Warlords is the heartsblood of Sami Hynninen, if you do not know who he is, may I suggest getting familiar with his doom-to-end-the-world-to in Reverend Bizarre, and get prepped on OW while you’re at it. Or perhaps you’d like to hear more of his final masterpiece in the ranks of Spiritus Mortis, Finland’s first doom metal band – it’s got a bear’s word on EOTY-worthness. And hell, if you’re feeling dandy, get educated on the experimental electronics of Tähtiportti. But before you embark on this long and winding journey, take a moment or seven, to enjoy with me the magic his latest work.

Much like its name suggests, Droner does indeed drone on, but if one was to twist and shout about genre-confines, it would not fill those of drone. It is lo-fi doom, mostly noisy and metal-like but not afraid to sacrifice either. Slowly moving through it’s evocative, minimal riffs – building on repetition but ever moving onwards. Strikes of percussion, acoustic guitar, distortion and bells come and go as Hynninen channels the mind of Jouko Turkka, a sadly departed “cultural radical” whose work has gone criminally unsung – an Ndembu ritual, and a letter by Marjorie Cameron.

“Closure” is the shortest of these three creations, clocking in at a mere 19 minutes. Rising as a skaldic play of guitar and bells, and turning inwards as the tape begins to play in reverse, building towards its death in distortion – it is one of the most beautiful songs in Opium Warlords’ catalogue, and as such – though it shares similarities with Droner’s other two songs, is unlike any other Hynninen has made.

So humongous has been Hynninen’s effect on my person, be it opening new world into songwriting or a spiritual shakedown to the core, I cannot rightly with words express his importance anymore and as such I must refrain from reviewing a work that is his, and only his, for a shred of objectivity I could not shed upon it. Even translating a subjective experience from a stream of thoughts and images into plain language constricted by the alphabet seems a task too arduous continue any further. From here on out, you’re on your own.

“If something is boring after two minutes, try it for four. If still boring, then eight. Then sixteen. Then thirty-two. Eventually one discovers that it is not boring at all.” Order Droner from Svart Records

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