Svart Records: Kap Kap + Tusmörke + Opium Warlords

Svart Records
Svart Records

Reviews by Jason Guest

Svart Records’ roster is a diverse one, encompassing everything from the heaviest of death and doom to the lushest of psychedelic forest folk, a bunch of which we’ve reviewed before (click here for a long and ever-growing list). Coming from the more experimental side of the label’s signings, we have three new releases:

  • Flux of Solace, the second album from Finland’s Kap Kap
  • Riset Bak Speilet, the second album from Norway’s Tusmörke
  • Taste My Sword Of Understanding, the third album from Finland’s Opium Warlords

No, not one of them is of this earth. Taste them all or click on the names above to go their respective reviews.

Kap Kap – Flux of Solace

Release date: 6 June 2014

I like it when you take a chance on a band about which you know nothing and whose artwork is the sole reason for giving their album a spin and they turn out to be a bunch of creative loons with a knack for metamorphosing malady and madness into melody and magnificence. Today, from Helsinki, Finland, the five-piece experimental entity known as Kap Kap is that band. Described by the band as “a kind of classic rock album that has everything for everyone”, their second album, Flux of Solace, is… well, it’s difficult to say, really.

Hypnotic, trance-inducing rhythms provide the foundation for the tracks, on top of which are perched the layers of instruments and vocals. Guitars are used to enhance the rhythms or decorate the tracks with subtle lead lines and nuanced atmospherics, the organ swells and winds its way through the ever-unfolding and always-evolving textures, all the time the vocal, with its smoothly seductive melodies, leads us deeper into the psychedelic world that Kap Kap have so kindly created for us. Reflecting “the feelings of a modern man in this world: wanderlust, rebellion of the individual and community, living on earth and on the other side,” planet Kap Kap is a curious place, one that is warmly inviting, luxuriously liveable, and difficult to depart from. Though the sinister organ and disconcerting atmospherics of ‘Old Goat’ may deter the most vulnerable of us, the pizzicato opening and gently reverbed clean guitar of the fragile ‘Don’t You Know’ draws you back in. Flux of Solace is an album of many shapes, shades, and colours, and one that will remain with you for a long time, giving more with every repeat play.

Kap Kap – Flux of Solace8 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. On Your Porch
  2. C.S.
  3. Midnight
  4. Lady, Appear
  5. Old Goat
  6. Don’t You Know
  7. Eternal Clouds
  8. Shaman Of The Sun
  9. Three


Tusmörke – Riset Bak Speilet

Release date: 16 May 2014

A new band to these eyes, ears, and earthbound soul, with promo photos depicting them strolling around a city in capes and cowls, it’s apparent that Norway’s Tusmörke (”Twilight”) certainly pay no mind to the opinions of those that consider themselves “normal” or “civilised”. And reflected in their music is this very attitude. Time means nothing, convention and sanity even less. A concoction of medieval folk, Shamanistic hypnotic rhythms, and 70s prog, the fifty-minute Riset Bak Speilet (“The Birch Behind The Looking Glass”) is a quirky and peculiar album, to say the least.

With a throbbing organ complimented by the flute of Jethro Tull, sounds and textures akin to Krautrock and the avant-garde experimentation of Gong, and the sheen of The Doors’ The Soft Parade to top it off, this witch’s brew is a magical experience. And though it may feel Spinal Tap at times, even conservative in its “eccentric” approach, it’s an inspired piece of work. Skipping along merrily with lightness in its touch, there is a dark side to the record that sits just beneath the surface, occasionally rearing its head to add shade to the jaunty mix. Pastoral and powerful, eerie and mystical, if this doesn’t have you ducking into your nearest library for many a magical tome, skipping along to your local Wizards ‘n Witches outfitters for a new cloak and wand, and scouring eBay for near-mint first editions of early Genesis, Syd Barrett, or Black Widow’s Come To The Sabbath, then there’s no hope for you. None whatsoever. Unless you give this folkin’ psychedelia a few more listens of course.

Tusmörke – Riset Bak Speilet7 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. Offerpresten
  2. Gamle Aker Kirke
  3. Black Swift
  4. All Is Lost
  5. Riset Bak Speilet


Opium Warlords – Taste My Sword Of Understanding

Release date: 30 May 2014

To the uninitiated, the music of Opium Warlords music may appear to be a collection of arbitrarily sequenced sounds, noises, riffs and musical passages with little direction or meaning. But whether some reverb/delay-drenched strum of the guitar strings behind the nut, a crushingly low distorted bass drone, or an ominous stab at cymbal and drum, the one-man drone/noise project of Finland’s Sami Hynninen sees value in all sounds. Comprised of material from between 1994 and 2009, album number three, Taste My Sword Of Understanding is experimental and avant-garde, minimalist and measured, and undeniably, even painfully, raw.

Awash in atmospheres, moods, textures, and all epic in their scope, the album has more than its fair share of impressive moments, but that those are moments rather than whole tracks speaks volumes. The gentle guitar work in the mid-section of ‘The God In Ruins’, the melodic and melancholic bass of ‘The Solar Burial’, and the Black Sabbath-esque doom riffs of ‘The Land Beyond The Pole’ are among the standout moments. Other than the fourteen minute ‘Mount Meru’, the eight minute ‘This Place Has Been Passed’, and the three minute ‘Manisolas From Misandria’, this is largely a collection of fragments, albeit a bunch of intriguing fragments, but at seventy two minutes, it’s a long and trying listen.

Opium Warlords – Taste My Sword Of Understanding5 out of 10

Track listing:

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