Opium Warlords – We Meditate Under The Pussy In The SkyWith a name like Opium Warlords and an album called “We Meditate Under The Pussy In The Sky” it’s almost impossible to anticipate what this band’s music will be like. I thought maybe space rock, but in fact it’s quite an unusual mix of drone, doom, avant-garde and, well, sonic attack (but it isn’t space rock, I assure you). It’s also something of a challenge to the listener because although there are traditional elements and some song structure, much is not what you’d expect. In part it can be put down to the fact that it is one person’s musical vision (ex-Reverend Bizarre’s Sami Albert Hynninen) and as such is a very personal work, at times highly introspective. As such an individual statement one must assume it is imbued with his emotions and as such is an incredibly raw and disconcerting experience.

It certainly isn’t always a comfortable listen; rather it assails the listener with challenge after challenge: can you undertake this journey, and live with the honesty of the vision?

The album opener ‘Sxi-Meru’ is literally an attack with distorted guitar, Hynninen exploring its extremities both acoustically and physically, even playing above the nut of the instrument to give a jarring, tinkling sound that serves only to disturb.

In contrast, ‘Slippy’ is more traditionally song-like in its structure, with quite a sinister progression. In many ways it is like a death march or slow processional, the kind of thing one might expect to have been ushered into the presence of medieval judiciary by. By turns structured then chaotic, it employs quiet bell-like passages on lone guitar before the noise returns. And most oddly of all, there is a guitar passage that reminds me of, weirdly, Peter Green-era Fleetwood Mac. Of course, when it is heavy and doomy, it is really doomy. Lovers of that particular genre should have few complaints here. And despite all of the above, the song finishes with what sounds like celebratory drums. It’s a massive contrast to what’s gone before and quite unexpected. But then that could be said of the entire album.

The rest of the album runs along drone/doom lines with heavy, repeated themes lending a hypnotic aspect to much of the proceedings. There are definite lighter passages that break up the heaviness and this adds to the experience offered by “We Meditate Under The Pussy In The Sky”.

Ultimately, with “We Meditate Under The Pussy In The Sky” the listener should not think too hard nor seek complexity; instead the whole album should be allowed to just wash over you, to envelop you and make you feel as much as listen. Do that, let it take you, and even the sudden finish will make sense.

Opium Warlords – Myspace Page