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Runaway Totem


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Runaway Totem Zed album cover
3.26 | 20 ratings | 6 reviews | 10% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1996

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Zed (22:22)
2. Mnar (26:25)

Total Time: 48:47

Line-up / Musicians

- Roberto Gottardi / guitar, synthesizer, sequencer, lead & chorus vocals
- Renč Modena / guitar, synthesizer, Fx, chorus vocals
- Dario Gelmetti / bass
- Germano Morghen / drums, percussion

- Susanna Villanova / lead & chorus vocals
- Clara Lotti / chorus vocals
- Patrizia Bottesi / chorus vocals
- Marco Olivotto / Mellotron, piano
Orchestra (track 1):
- Nicola Straffelini / keyboards, direction
- Carlo Pedrazzoli / flutes
- Marco Bruschetti / clarinet
- Walter Civettini / trumpet
- Armando Marcon / timpani, percussion

Releases information

CD Black Widow Records ‎- BWR CD 013-2 (1996, Italy)

LP Black Widow Records ‎- BWR 013 (1996, Italy)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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RUNAWAY TOTEM Zed ratings distribution

(20 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(10%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(35%)
Good, but non-essential (35%)
Collectors/fans only (15%)
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars My third adventure into the land of the Runaway Totem. This was an improvemnet over the debut released three years earlier. The sound is expanded here to feature an orchestra. Of the three albums I have listened to on the band's website, this one is the least Zeuhl-ish. The music here kinda sorta sounds like a mix of RPI, prog metal and Japanese Zeuhl. There is lots of Italian-style singing and heavy riffs. The album consists of two epics, the title track and "Mnar".

"Zed" begins with a very classical sounding orchestral part. Then we have a riff worthy of Black Sabbath. Wow. What an awesome riff! Around 3 minutes there is a part with female vocals that remind me of Koenjihyakkei. The section in the middle with phased Mellotron, bass, vocals and a guitar solo goes on a bit too long. Later on in this epic it gets rockin' with some nice riffs. Starts to mellow out near the end. The last two minutes sound majestic.

"Mnar" starts with the sound of aircraft flying overhead. Then a long atmospheric section. It starts to pick up with guitar later. Before 12 minutes there is some punk style guitar playing. 14 1/2 minutes we get another riff worthy of Sabbath. A piano part starts before 20 minutes. It has some vocals but think this part goes on too long. How "Mnar" ends is not as good as the way "Zed" ended.

Overall a really good album, but these guys are still not in 4 star territory for me yet. Better than Trimegisto(1993) but not quite as good as Esameron(2007). Of the two, Zed sounds closer to the latter. I can't wait to listen to their other albums; I know there's going to be at least one that will really knock my socks off. Zed deserves 3 stars.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars In 1994 Runaway Totem entered their so-called Cronos phase.It comprises of significant line-up changes, the main being the departure of the Golin/Buttiglione rhythm section and the arrival of Germano Morghen aka Tiphereth on drums and Dario Gelmetti aka Nezah on bass.The most significant though was the return of Men of Lake's Renč Modena on guitars and synths.In 1996 a new album entitled ''Zed'' was released, distributed by Black Widow and featuring several guest singers and musicians on wind instruments and keyboards.

Runaway Totem continue to perform their dark and mysterious Progressive Rock, now delivered through two very long compositions.The 22-min. title track, which opens the album, is almost entirely built around heavy dual guitar attacks and offering plenty of different groovy parts, always in a dark Prog attitude, accompanied by strong breaks by the rhythm section.The guitars are quite heavy with some powerful riffs and often a CRIMSON-ian approach, while the keyboard parts are measured but always displayed with a symphonic mood.Among the instrumental madness there are lots of male and female operatic vocals and actually the middle section offers a lengthy and quite harmonic vocal performance of sheer beauty by the band.The even longer ''Mnar'' suffers from a lengthy psychedelic intro, clocking at over 4 minutes, but the rest of the track ranges from decent to masterful.Lots of complex guitar exercises, more evident use of keyboards, pounding grooves with great guitar soli and emphatic vocals produce a track, which scans the territories of complex Prog, Rock Opera and even Gothic Rock.The atmosphere remains haunting and even more grandiose, the musicianship is powerful and bombastic and the mix of Classical influences with Heavy Prog and smoother Orchestral Rock works very good.

Runaway Totem is certainly a unique group and ''Zed'' is another proof of the fact.The Italians did it very well on creating two long and tight epics and if you are after some trully atmospheric Prog with lots of haunting themes, this album was created for you.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

Latest members reviews

3 stars My second dive into this band. Well, it is actually my third. I have been listening to their brand new album through our progstreaming website though. So it is about time to take a listen to their back catalogue again. Zed is their second album. Trimesto, their first album did not impress me. ... (read more)

Report this review (#529129) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Thursday, September 22, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I have to recognize that I think Runaway Totem is one of the most obscure bands that I heard these last years. I don't know if they really fit into the Zeuhl genre because I think their music is closer to heavy prog of even fusion but... it's my humble opinion. Maybe Andromeda is RT masterpiece ... (read more)

Report this review (#135399) | Posted by progadicto | Wednesday, August 29, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I loved this album when I first heard it. Its epic, grand scale is really special. But the more I listen to it, the more I notice the flaws. The really symphonic, classical, epic introduction sets the mood perfectly, and the crushing guitar riff thereafter keeps the energy up, but after a hundred ... (read more)

Report this review (#132269) | Posted by Shakespeare | Wednesday, August 8, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I was blown away when I first heard this album, two massive tracks that build up like a train rolling towards you that blows your mind as it thunders past. The playing is grander, slower and more moving than the insanely-paced Trimegisto. The lyrics are entirely in Italian, which may or may no ... (read more)

Report this review (#18733) | Posted by | Wednesday, April 6, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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