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Runaway Totem - Andromeda CD (album) cover


Runaway Totem



3.52 | 30 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars composed by Cosmic Beings

So states the band from their website and who are we to argue that this might betray either: incredible chutzpah or a pressing need to return those royalty cheques pronto?

Rather unusual offering from Italy this one, as upon first listen you could easily be forgiven for thinking this lot are French, given the Zeuhl inflected vocal stylings. The influential reference points are fairly self-evident i.e Crimson, Magma, an early Sabbath capable of counting higher than 4, VDGG, Gentle Giant, Arachnoid etc so what we have here is a rich slice of dark Prog on the heavy guitar side of the fence. Having said all that, there are some very innovative textures employed on this record e.g when some saxes join in on the heavy riffing and some delightful use of dynamics throughout. Listen to the many short sections dominated by the symphonic keys, until the snarling guitars kick in again. This technique helps to break up what could have been a rather samey and bludgeoning 50 minutes or so. Thankfully there is no tiresome 'Unaccompanied Bratwurst wrestling champion' here which keeps the music from degenerating into 'widdley-widdley' Prog Metal. The keys never dominate but are used as a very effective counterweight against the main thrust of the guitars. The vocals have an incantatory flavour and are therefore mercifully free of the rather overwrought offerings heard on some other Italian prog. I guess that given these ingredients, Runaway Totem are in danger of falling between two stools i.e this may be considered too 'rawk' for the symphonic brigade but too 'out there' for the metal fraternity? Either way, they have achieved an original blend here which I personally find very stimulating and refreshing. Like most bands with at least something new to offer, they make 'Dream Theater' sound like they were conceived while their parents were fully clothed.

So what does it sound like then?

Well... imagine Anton Lavey and Aleister Crowley wanted to share vocal duties at a satanic mass gig and needed a backing band...enter stage left hand path: Runaway Totem.

ExittheLemming | 4/5 |


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