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Albert Witchfinder
Albert Witchfinder.jpg
Background information
Birth Name Sami Albert Hynninen
Alias Sami Albert Israel Shamballah Hynninen, Ancient Fisherman
Born 18 March 1976
Lohja, Finland
Occupation Musician, Graphic Designer, Artist
Genres Doom Metal, Black Metal, Progressive Rock, Punk Rock, Industrial, Synthpop, Gothic Rock, Avant-Garde
Instrument(s) Bass, Guitar, Drums, Keyboards, Vocals
Years active 1991 - Present
Labels Spikefarm Records, I Hate, Svart, Rise Above Records
Associated acts Reverend Bizarre, Spiritus Mortis, The Puritan, Opium Warlords, Friends of Hell

Sami Albert Hynninen (born March 18, 1976 in Lohja, Finland), better known by the stage name Albert Witchfinder, is a Finnish musician and artist. He is best known for his tenure as the bassist and vocalist for the seminal Finnish doom metal band Reverend Bizarre. He is also notable for his vocal tenure in the Finnish doom pioneers Spiritus Mortis and a wide range of musical projects such as his solo project Opium Warlords, exploring a wide arrangement of genres and sounds.

Since starting his career in 1991, Sami Hynninen has been involved with numerous bands in the Finnish scene, along with contributing graphic design and artwork to numerous bands.

Biography[]

Early Bands[]

Hynninen's earliest known band, along with Jari Pohjonen, would be KLV. KLV was an avant-garde rock/goth/doom/prog band from Lohja, Finland, was active between 1992-1998. KLV is short for "Kehitysvammaisen Lapsen Vanhemmat" ("Parents of a disabled child" in English). Around 2002, they were supposed to record an album for Firebox Records but a few years later the label decided not to release it after all and thus nothing was recorded. Some KLV songs later became Reverend Bizarre songs, like "The Hour of Death".

Other early bands featuring Hynninen would be a short-lived band known as Punishment (Where he handled lead vocals), along with Soihtu and Lohja SS.

Reverend Bizarre (1995 - 2007)[]

Reverend Bizarre was started in 1995 by Albert Witchfinder (Sami Hynninen), Peter Vicar (Kami Kärki) and Juippi (Juha-Petteri Lundqvist). Though some practice sessions were recorded (Vicar owns the only copy) no real studio recordings were made with this lineup and Juippi left in 1997, replaced by Earl of Void (Jari Lars Johan Pohjonen).

The band's current lineup then recorded some practice sessions and self-released them under the title Slice of Doom in 1999. The band played their first live show at TVO in Turku, Finland on 18 August 1999.[1]

Eventually in 2002, the band released their debut album In the Rectory of the Bizarre Reverend, cited as an iconic album in doom metal. Following the album was a 2003 tour of Germany (their first shows outside of Finland.) with a limited CD-R entitled You Shall Suffer!. An EP followed entitled Harbinger of Metal followed that year, labeled as such despite being as lengthy as their albums.

Slice of Doom 1999 - 2002 was released in 2004 via PsycheDOOMelic, detailing all recordings from the Slice of Doom sessions and compilation tracks. In 2005, Reverend Bizarre released their second album II: Crush the Insects on Spikefarm. A short tour of Sweden happened in April that year and their only tour of the United States happened in July 2005, supported by The Gates of Slumber. Their first US performance was in Indianapolis, Indiana at Templars of Doom.

Reverend Bizarre announced their breakup was imminent sometime in 2006, recording what would be their final album and a plethora of songs for split releases that year. Along with a string of shows in Europe, they played a handful of shows in Finland leading up to their final performance. Reverend Bizarre's final concert was on 30 December 2006. It was at TVO in Turku, the same venue where their first show was held. The show had two sets including In the Rectory of the Bizarre Reverend in its entirety and founding member Juippi as a guest. [2]

"Teutonic Witch" was released in May 2007 and peaked at #1 on the Finnish Radio Singles charts. Reverend Bizarre's third and final album III: So Long Suckers, was released on 8 August 2007. A sticker was included on the jewelcase with the statement "DOOM METAL IS DEAD". A plethora of posthumous split releases and EPs were released throughout the rest of 2007 and 2008. All of these recordings (Along with other split and rare tracks) were compiled in a 2CD set via Spikefarm entitled Death Is Glory... Now, released on 11 February 2009.

Spiritus Mortis[]

  • For more details, feel free to view the Riffipedia page on Spiritus Mortis.

On 23 September 2008 it would be announced that Spiritus Mortis had signed to a new label in Firebox Records and that a third album was finished by October 2008.[3] On 22 January 2009 it would be revealed that the new lead singer for Spiritus Mortis would be former Reverend Bizarre frontman/bassist Sami Hynninen, who contributed his vocals to the new album.[4] Hynninen's first gig with Spiritus Mortis would be on 21 February 2009 at Lekkeri Winterfest NS in Tuuri, performing almost entirely new songs.[5]

More details would be revealed leading up to the official release, such as a promotional single,[6] a full stream of the new album[7] and the artwork[8] leading up to the release of the band's third studio album The God Behind The God on 13 May 2009. Featuring eight brand new songs, The God Behind The God would attain positive reception from the likes of MetalRage,[9] Disagreement[10] and a host of other critics.[11] Spiritus Mortis would have their most extensive year on the road in support of The God Behind The God, participating in a full tour of Europe and appearing at a host of festivals such as Dooomstock, Hammer of Doom Festival, Jalometalli, Dutch Doom Day and Metal Warning Festival. Following two more gigs in 2010 the band would go on a hiatus. A 7" split with Pale Divine would be released the next year, both bands contributing Deep Purple covers. Both of the band's first two albums would also get reissued via High Roller Records and Svart Records in 2012.

On 26 September 2016 it would be announced that Spiritus Mortis had now signed with Svart Records, along with details and a release date for their fourth album.[12] On 6 October the band would premiere a new song in "Babalon Working" to promote this new album[13] followed by a full stream in November.[14] The Year Is One would be released on 11 November 2016 to positive reviews. The band's first show since 2010 would be at Nosturi supporting Pentagram and Satan. Spiritus Mortis would follow up with a host of shows in 2017 with a handful of shows and an appearance at Blowup Festival for their third edition. Hynninen would leave the band by the end of 2017.

Opium Warlords[]

Opium Warlords was founded in 2004, with Hynninen stating of the project: "The concept of Opium Warlords first came to my mind somewhere around 2004, but back then it was a bit different from what Opium Warlords came to be. It was more “floating” sound wise. This was because at those same times I had The Puritan in my mind, as well, and it was very heavy music. Then when The Puritan came to an end, all of that material – which in the first place had already gone through some other projects – became Opium Warlords’ material. The final form of Opium Warlords included almost everything I have ever thought about musically.".[15]

Initially, Hynninen was the sole performer. The project's first release would be Live at Colonia Dignidad, released circa 25 November 2009 via Cobra Records. The album's name derives from the location of a secluded cult in Chile, South America.[16] The next year, Hynninen would recruit two new members in Laura Länsimäki and Erkki Virta to further flesh out future recordings.

Signing with Svart Records, The project's first album as a trio would be We Meditate Under the Pussy in the Sky, released on 30 November 2012. The band's third album was intended to be their second, but due to delays from Cobra Records, would be finished in 2013 and 2014. Taste My Sword of Understanding would come on 30 May 2014.

On 3 November 2017, Opium Warlords would release Droner, comprising entirely of three lengthy songs spanning nearly twenty minutes each and the second Opium Warlords album to feature Hynninen as the sole performer. A fifth album in Nembutal would come on 4 December 2020, featuring the duo of Hynninen and Virta.[17]

Tähtiportti[]

Tähtiportti would be an electronic art collective founded in 2013 by Hynninen, a along with a veritable who's who of the Finnish leftfield music scene in Ilari Larjosto (Jesse, Googolplex, etc.), Mikko Viljakainen (Larry And The Lefthanded, Legopel, Op:l Bastards, The Barefoot Brothers, etc.) and Perttu Eino Häkkinen (Harmönia, Boyz Of Caligula, Cae$ar, etc.). Hynninen would handle the lyrics and vocals in his native Finnish language while the remaining members handled the instrumentation.[18] Not long after forming the quartet would release two 7" Singles via Iron Magnesium Records and perform regularly at various festivals.[19][20]

Signing the project to Svart Records, Tähtiportti would release three albums in three years (Tähtiportti on 27 February 2015,[21] Eetterimessu on 1 April 2016[22] and Superdepressio on 21 April 2017.[23]) along with occasionally performing live.

Perttu Häkkinen died on 12 August 2018, turning the band into a trio. He would contribute drum machines and synthesizer to a fourth record, with Abiristeily released on 10 May 2019 and dedicated to his memory.[24]

Friends of Hell[]

On 18 November 2021 Rise Above Records would announce a new signing in Friends of Hell, a collaborative doom metal project featuring Danazoglou, along with Hynninen on vocals. Their eponymous debut album is set for release on 18 March 2022.[25]

Other Endeavors[]

Hynninen was notably involved with a Finnish dark progressive rock band known as Orne. Formed in 1997 under the moniker Mesmer, changed to Orne in 2001. Has gone through several line-up changes during the years; only the guitarists Kimi Kärki and Pekka Pitkälä and the drummer Jara Pohjonen remain in the band as original members. The project would release two albums since their formation.

Hynninen had notably been with several one-time projects, such as The Candles Burning Blue (A gothic rock project),[26] Vironsusi (A black metal project that composed one song in 2005),[27] Armanenschaft (A raw black metal project),[28] and March 15 (An industrial/noise project).[29] He also has a black metal project in Azrael Rising (Under the name "Ancient Fisherman") alongside Vitutor.[30]

The Puritan was a short-lived project based out of Finland, featuring Hyninnen along with members of Sinisthra. Unlike the traditional doom of Reverend Bizarre, The Puritan leans more into avant-garde and experimental territories, leaning into drone doom. The Puritan would release two 12" EPs via I Hate in their tenure (The Puritan which was released 30 November 2006 and The Black Law which was released on 14 February 2008). Both EPs would be released on CD as Lithium Gates via Spikefarm Records on 19 November 2008. The project would be disbanded that same year.

Collaborating with Harri Kuokkanen (Horse Latitudes, Hooded Menace, etc.), Hynninen would start the band Pussies in 2017, a project that leans into garage rock. The project would release a 12" split with the Finnish garage rock band The Girlfriends in 2019. Hynninen was also notably involved with another garage rock band in babes in The Abyss, mainly as a live vocalist.

Hynninen is also known as a self-taught graphic designer and comic book artist. In 1998, the publishing house Sarjamafia released Hynninen's first comic album, Magical Journey. He was awarded with his musical merit at the Somnium Scholarship in 2009.

Bands[]

  • Punishment - Vocals (1991 - 1992)
  • KLV - Bass, Vocals (1992 - 2002)
  • Reverend Bizarre - Guitar (1995 - 2007)
  • The Candles Burning Blue - Vocals (1997 - 1999, 2000 - 2005)
  • Mesmer - Vocals (1997 - 2001)
  • Orne - Vocals (2001 - 2011)
  • Opium Warlords - All Instruments, Vocals (2004 - Present)
  • March 15 - Electronics, Vocals (2004)
  • Vironsusi - Drums, Vocals (2005)
  • Armanenschaft - Vocals (2005 - 2008)
  • Azrael Rising - Vocals (2005 - Present)
  • The Puritan - Bass, Vocals (2005 - 2008)
  • Spiritus Mortis - Vocals (2008 - 2017)
  • Tähtiportti - Contributor (2012 - Present)
  • Lord Vicar - Live Bass (2015 - 2016)
  • Pussies - All Instruments, Vocals (2017 - Present)
  • Babes in The Abyss - Live Vocals (2018 - 2020)
  • Loinen - Bass (2018 - Present)
  • Friends of Hell - Vocals (2021 - Present)

Selected Discography[]

With KLV[]

  • Analogical Picnic Tales (Compilation) (1993, Beyond The Sector)
  • Maan Liha (Album) (1994, Beyond The Sector)
  • Pietr (Album) (1994, Self-Released)
  • Minun Lentoni ‎(Album) (1996, Beyond The Sector)
  • Katso Mihin Kätesi Pystyvät (Album) (1997, Self-Released)
  • Valkeus (Album) (1998, Self-Released; 2015, Svart Records)
  • Viikate / KLV (Split with Viikate) (1999, Syyslevyt, Kuoleman Kylmä Käsi)
  • Nun Musta On Maa (Compilation) (2008, Emissary)

With Reverend Bizarre[]

With Spiritus Mortis[]

  • Spiritus Mortis (Additional Vocals on "Rise From Hell") (2004, Rage of Achilles)
  • The God Behind The God (2009, Firehouse Records)
  • When the Wind Howled with a Human Voice (7" Single) (2009, Firebox)
  • Spiritus Mortis / Fall of the Idols (Split Album with Fall of The Idols) (2009, I Hate)
  • Imperial Anthems No. 6 (Split 7" with Pale Divine) (2011, Cyclone Empire)
  • The Year Is One (2016, Svart Records)

With Opium Warlords[]

  • Live at Colonia Dignidad (2009, Cobra Records)
  • We Meditate Under the Pussy in the Sky (2012, Svart Records)
  • Taste My Sword of Understanding (2014, Svart Records)
  • Droner (2017, Svart Records)
  • Nembutal (2020, Svart Records)

With Tähtiportti[]

  • Tähtiportti (7" Single) (2013, Iron Magnesium)
  • III Ja IV (7" Single) (2014, Iron Magnesium)
  • Tähtiportti (Studio Album) (2015, Svart Records)
  • Eetterimessu (Studio Album) (2016, Svart Records)
  • Superdepressio (Studio Album) (2017, Svart Records)
  • Abiristeily (Studio Album) (2019, Svart Records)

Selected Other Releases[]

  • The Candles Burning Blue - Pearls Given To The Swine (Studio Album) (2001, Drama and Sin Company)
  • SuruaikaAvointen Hautojen Päivä (Studio Album; Guest Contributor) (2002, Plastic Passion)
  • Azrael Rising - The Void (Between Birth And Death) (Extended Play) (2005, Self-Released)
  • The Puritan - The Puritan (EP) (2006, I Hate)
  • The Puritan - The Black Law (EP) (2008, I Hate)
  • March 15 - Our Love Becomes A Funeral Pyre (EP) (2008, Emissary)
  • ArmanenschaftPsychedelic Winter (Studio Album) (2008, Primitive Reaction)
  • Azrael Rising - Azrael Rising (Extended Play) (2008, Primitive Reaction)
  • Azrael Rising - Anti-Gravity (Studio Album) (2014, Primitive Reaction)
  • Babes in the Abyss - Pitkäperjantai (Live Album) (2019, Self-Released)
  • Pussies - The Girlfriends / Pussies (Split 12" with The Girlfriends) (2019, Farfalla)
  • Kauko Röyhkä ja S. A. Hynninen - Dekadenssi (Collaborative Album) (2020, Svart)
  • Läjä Äijälä & Sir Albert Witchfinder - Centuries of Youth (Collaborative Album) (2021, Svart)
  • Friends of Hell - Friends of Hell (Studio Album) (2022, Rise Above Records)

External Links[]

References[]

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