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Runaway Totem - Pleroma  CD (album) cover


Runaway Totem


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Sean Trane
Prog Folk
2 stars 2,5 stars really!!

I do not know whether this fifth album is supposed to be the final chapter of their musical forays, but they do hint at it with their ever-present pentagram is now filled with an album on each of their prong. The least we can say is that in some five albums, RT has remained pretty constant bringing us a Crimson-influenced Zeuhl, with slightly different variations under their different albums. Although I have heard four of the five albums, I only own Zed, and this album is on loan from the library, but here, there is nothing new on the RT planet.

Well maybe there is something new: compared to and since Zed (their second) , the group has shrunk from a quartet to a duo, obviously this leans that the instruments have been often synthesized, which in general is not good news. With only Morghen and Gottardi in the fold, RT only gets help from on female vocalist (but she is an old acquaintance since already singing on Zed) on one track. Not that this album is bad (far from it really), but I was never a real fan of this poor man's Magma and their musical propos (as much as their mythology - tooooooo derivative of Kobaia) was always a bit lost on me, already by their second album, so by their fifth......

Need I say more?

Thought not!! ;-)

Report this review (#75315)
Posted Tuesday, April 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars Well i am a big fan of two of their earlier albums "Andromeda" and "Tep Zeri" but this one is a huge letdown for me. It may have something to do with them downsizing from a full band to 2 members. It's hard for me to put my finger on it, but this record has little in the way of exciting moments that the past albums have. Suddenly the vocals are a little annoying as they seem to boom and echo. The guitar is not nearly as prominant. It just wasn't enjoyable for me at all.

Some of the highlights for me were the angular guitar around 11 minutes in on the over 18 minute opening track.The second song "Il Lago Di Fuoco" was better after 3 minutes when the tempo picked up, and I love the sinister organ 5 minutes in. Check out the guitar when the song kicks back into high gear 7 minutes in. Nice. The first minute and a half of "Abisso Del Acque" was good. I like the grinding guitar that comes and goes on "Sokari", and the guest female vocals are a nice change. The aggressive guitar after 3 minutes on the final track rocks.

So 3 stars, but maybe Sean Trane is more accurate with 2.5 stars.Try the two earlier albums I mentioned if you want to hear something different but good.

Report this review (#171939)
Posted Wednesday, May 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
Post/Math Rock Team
3 stars On this album Runaway Totem is reduced to a duo. Pleroma is generally not as heavy sounding as their other albums. But it's basically the same sort of symphonic Zeuhl metal as usual. Only on one song does singer Suzanna Villanova appear; she was also on the last album.

"La Porta Del Duat" opens with a great flute melody with acoustic guitar. The flute part comes back later. After 5 minutes there is a spacey, atmospheric section before some pounding drums and a military style beat. Around 7 1/2 minutes in there is a good vocal melody. Before 12 minutes begins a section with piano and choirs. Later a metal like part before some more piano and some spacey choir sounds. Then some vocoder vocals with spacey, atmospheric sounds before the drums and guitar returns. Some horn like sounds before it gets quiet. Back to the flute melody to end it.

"Il Lago Di Fuoco" has a nice section with bass, organ and vocals. Later on an intense guitar solo. "Restau" begins in Zeuhl territory, especially the rhythm section. Later a symphonic prog metal part. "Abisso Del Acque" has some good drumming at the beginning. A spacey section with cool synth sounds starts in the middle. "Sokari" is the only song with female vocals. After 2 minutes is a good drum and piano pattern where both male and female vocals appear. Later on there is a polka type beat with almost punk male vocals and more operatic female vocals.

"I Due Orizzonti" has some Zeuhlish piano and metal guitar soloing after a few minutes. Around 5 minutes it sounds very Zeuhl. Around 7 minutes a more symphonic prog part. In the middle begins a long section with cool guitar effects along with piano and organ, later choirs too. After comes a symphonic metal part. It all ends with pounding drums.

This album is neither as consistent or strong as the previous Tep Zeri or the following Esameron. Still some good modern Zeuhl influenced music, but nothing essential. 3 stars.

Report this review (#331072)
Posted Tuesday, November 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Reduced to a trio, Runaway Totem still plugs away.

Runaway Totem settles into the same rhythm as they got into on their previous album. That is King Crimson like symphonic zeuhl with some RPI influences and a large chunk of RIO influences. The Belgium band Present springs to mind when listening to this album.

The music here is symphonic monumental and dissonant at the same time. Monumental as a cathedral and brought about by dissonant guitars and almost monk chanting male vocals.

The song structures seems a bit loose and not as tight as usual from this band. The female vocals are also missed. But this is still an interesting album from this band. It is also a good album. I never get bored by their music, but I have heard better Runaway Totem albums than this album.

This album is a free download from Runaway Totem's homepage. Get it.

3 stars

Report this review (#569442)
Posted Thursday, November 17, 2011 | Review Permalink

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