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Opium Warlords – Nembutal

Opium Warlords
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 18 November 2020, 11:43 AM

OPIUM WARLORDS are a Drone/Doom/Avant Garde Metal band based out of Finland. Formed in 2004, they took the name from Dee Dee Ramone's autobiography, where it referred to kingpins of New York, but was (initially) unaware that the term was also used outside Dee Dee's vocabulary, when talking about actual drug warlords of Asia. “Nembutal” is the band’s fifth studio album, and contains eight tracks.

“A Heavy Heart” leads off the album. It’s a beast of a song, at over 19 minutes in length. A fuzzy riff leads the charge, along with bass and drums. It lumbers forward at a slow pace, and some harmonized vocals also come into play. Semi-harsh vocals also come into play around the half-way mark. Towards the end, the bass starts to show some life, and the riff becomes more powerful. “Threshold of Your Womb” is just over eleven-minutes in length. It opens with a series of guitar strikes on the same chord, and some spoken word. The riff ventures out just a bit, but holds firm for nearly the entire song.

“The Destroyer of Filth” is a six-minute track, opening with a low and fuzzy riff and what sounds like some light cymbal strikes, keeping the pace. The riff begins to move just a bit. Some evil spoken words come into play, then it ends abruptly. “Sarah was Nineteen Years Old” is just under seven-minutes in length. It begins with some light bass guitar work. Some light spoken words join in around the half-way mark, telling the story of Sarah. “Solar Anus” is under five-minutes in length. Some light bass guitar work combines with nefarious groaning.

“Early in the Morning the Body of the Girl was Found” opens with some guitar work that is a bit unconventional, and dancing bass notes. The sound is definitely sad here, reflecting the title of the song. There are no vocals, and the depressing sound is magnified. “Perspiring Princess” is a short, three-minute jaunt, opening with acoustical guitar and some heavy percussion thuds. “Xanadu” closes the album, at over 15 minutes in length. It begins with more of those fuzzy guitar tones. Some light percussion joins in as the bass mirrors the guitar notes. Some lamenting vocals come in and it lumbers forward to completion.

Overall, while I admire their commitment to the traditions of the Doom Metal genre, some of the songs were just way too long and did not have enough sonority to keep them changing along the way. I get that it the premise of the genre, but even a little shifting here and there would have gone a long way to keep the tracks interesting. As it stands, it was just a bit too unilateral for me.

Songwriting: 5
Musicianship: 5
Memorability: 3
Production: 7

2 Star Rating

1. A Heavy Heart
2. Threshold of Your Womb
3. The Destroyer of Filth
4. Sarah was Nineteen Years Old
5. Solar Anus
6. Early in the Morning the Body of the Girl Was Found
7. Perspiring Princess
8. Xanadu
Record Label: Svart Records


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