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Runaway Totem - Le Roi du Monde CD (album) cover

LE ROI DU MONDE

Runaway Totem

 

Zeuhl

3.56 | 17 ratings

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zravkapt
Special Collaborator
Post/Math Rock Team
3 stars The latest album from Italian Zeuhl outfit Runaway Totem. I've so far heard all their releases except their last album from 2009 and their 2010 live album. I listened to this album on the progstreaming site where it has the two big epics divided; my description of the tracks will be based on that division. This group is similar to the offshoot group Universal Totem Orchestra, but generally has more RPI and Prog Metal influences and less operatic singing. Without having heard the last studio album, Le Roi du Monde (French for 'king of the moon'?) is more avant-garde sounding than previous albums. It doesn't get off to a great start but gets better as it goes along.

"Il Giardino del Nocciolo e del Melograno" features what I believe to be narration done in Arabic. Musically not much is going on until about over 7 minutes in. A strong chamber prog influence in the first half. The second half starts out sounding a lot like Japanese Zeuhl (especially the vocals). Very intense and powerful stuff. Both male and female voices here. Later everything mellows out and gets more atmospheric with more barely audible Arabic narration. About 3/4 of the way through this 32 minute piece the music builds up Univers Zero style with some organ and militaristic drumming. Keeps building up with some metal-like guitar. Near the end goes into some great symphonic prog with horns.

At under 7 minutes "Le Mariage du Soleil et la Lune" (French again!) is obviously the shortest track. But it's also the least interesting of the three main songs. Features a flute or other wind instrument. Piano is the main instrument with some guitar as well. First a female vocalist, then a male vocalist sing. "La Citta azzura del Sole" is the almost 30 minute last track. This starts out as symphonic metal with horns and some piano. Next gets chamber-proggy and very random sounding. I like the female singing during the first half, slightly catchy and melodic. Some nice mallet percussion along with a rockin' guitar solo, then a violin solo.

The second half of "La Citta..." starts out in typical Runaway Totem style, militaristic Italian Zeuhl. About halfway through the second half you hear some vocals that remind me of Area singer Demetrio Stratos and his vocalisations. At this point everything is very spacey. Later gets into blues-metal with female vocals. Some violin joins in as well. Symphonic metal with horns to end it. This album might be of more interest to RIO/Avant fans than Zeuhl ones. RT tries some new things here and sometimes they work and sometimes they don't. Not their worst album but not their best either. 3 stars.

zravkapt | 3/5 |

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