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RUNAWAY TOTEM

Zeuhl • Italy


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Runaway Totem biography
RUNAWAY TOTEM is surely one of the most incredible band that you can find in Italy. They use their rich instrumentation (keyboards, vocals, backing vocals, guitars) to create ethereal, romantic climates, with the deep singing, the grandiose backing vocals. They use too some nearly MAGMA-like passages, a vocal paroxysm evoking AREA, energetic KING CRIMSON rhytms with a AMON DULL II touch and even GENTLE GIANT's echoes.

Their third album titled "Andromeda" is their masterpiece... surely better recorded than the first one, "Trimegisto", and more diversified than the previous one "Zed". It's very recommended to the symphonic-epic rock lovers as well as the classic music's extimators.

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Buy RUNAWAY TOTEM Music


EsameronEsameron
Import
2010
Audio CD$21.99
$141.36 (used)
Ai Cancelli Dell' OmbraAi Cancelli Dell' Ombra
Import
Runaway Totem Records
Audio CD$19.61
$19.99 (used)
AndromedaAndromeda
Musea 2003
Audio CD$15.99
$80.14 (used)
Le Roi Du MondeLe Roi Du Monde
Runaway Totem Records
Audio CD$19.61
$17.99 (used)
ZedZed
Audio CD$21.99
$94.24 (used)
Manu MenesManu Menes
Import
Runaway Totem Records
Audio CD$19.61
PleromaPleroma
Import
Musea 2004
Audio CD$12.43
$25.61 (used)
Tep ZepiTep Zepi
Musea 2003
Audio CD$17.78
$15.99 (used)
Viaggio MagicoViaggio Magico
Double CD · Import
Lizard Records
Audio CD$24.99
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CD zed
RUNAWAY TOTEM
~ USD $16.05


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RUNAWAY TOTEM discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

RUNAWAY TOTEM top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.05 | 18 ratings
Trimegisto
1993
3.27 | 18 ratings
Zed
1996
3.53 | 27 ratings
Andromeda
1999
3.40 | 19 ratings
Tep Zepi (L'era degli dei)
2002
2.81 | 11 ratings
Pleroma
2004
3.77 | 8 ratings
Esameron
2007
3.59 | 10 ratings
Manu Menes
2009
3.60 | 15 ratings
Le Roi du Monde
2011
4.00 | 4 ratings
Affreschi e meditazione
2012

RUNAWAY TOTEM Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.46 | 4 ratings
Ai Cancelli dell'Ombra
2010
0.00 | 0 ratings
Viaggio Magico
2014

RUNAWAY TOTEM Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

RUNAWAY TOTEM Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

RUNAWAY TOTEM Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Exoterical Melange (promo cd)
1999

RUNAWAY TOTEM Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Andromeda by RUNAWAY TOTEM album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.53 | 27 ratings

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Andromeda
Runaway Totem Zeuhl

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars The completion of ''Zed'' marked the end of a phase and the beginning of a new era for Runaway Totem, named Kalpa.At the end of the 90's the band would quit from performing live and focus on the first part of a trilogy named ''Cosmic cycles''.For this album they recruited a full-time keyboardist in Roberto Veronese aka Virhur.Additionally they moved from Black Widow Records to the French Musea label.The album was released in 1999 under the name of ''Andromeda''.

While they retained the obvious qualities of the previous album, ''Andromeda'', as part of the ''Cosmic cycles'' trilogy, required a bit of spacious components, so Runaway Totem ran the album with plenty of synthesizer in the forefront and some heavy, orchestral arrangements shining through.The epic and operating singing parts and the powerful Zeuhl activities are still strong elements in their music, imagine DEVIL DOLL playing a dynamic Zeuhl style, while the angular riffs, the dominant rhythmic guitars and the Classical-inspired organs make up for a huge, sinister and theatrical atmosphere.A set of five tracks, slightly over or under the 10-min. mark, passes through bombastic sections, grandiose orchestrations, dark soundscapes and mysterious vocals, they even added some ambiental textures in the process to unveal the album's cosmic enviroment.It sounds a bit more focused of a release compared to the previous works, this one is well balanced between haunting, symphonic segments and Zeuhl-like operations with emphasis on the flaming guitars and heavy keyboard work.

Music, that could have been easily performed in a cathedral.Sinister, atmospheric Heavy Rock/Zeuhl with elements of Rock Opera, nice and energetic arrangements and very irritating vocal parts.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

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 Affreschi e meditazione by RUNAWAY TOTEM album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.00 | 4 ratings

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Affreschi e meditazione
Runaway Totem Zeuhl

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Italian band RUNAWAY TOTEM was formed back in 1988, and has a dozen albums to their name as of 2015. They are generally considered to be amongst the relatively few bands exploring a brand of progressive rock known as Zeuhl, with a trilogy of albums released in the '90s generally considered to represent the band at their very best, and are otherwise known for having a fairly constantly revolving line-up. "Affreschi e Meditazione" is their 11th full-length production, and is also their most recent studio album, released by Lizard Records in 2012.

"Affreschi e Meditazione" comes across as a fairly innovative production. This is an album that combines elements from cosmic, psychedelic, ethnic and ambient music into a grand totality that is more challenging than what you'd expect from such a brew. Mainly by combining ambient and intense details, but also by using sounds and tones that are either challenging or unusual or both. An intriguing production on many levels, and one to inspect if ethnic-tinged, cosmic music created in a challenging manner sounds like something you might enjoy, especially if you also have a taste for jazz rock.

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 Andromeda by RUNAWAY TOTEM album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.53 | 27 ratings

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Andromeda
Runaway Totem Zeuhl

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

3 stars This album has the quietest beginning of any that I have ever heard; I had to turn the volume up to make sure that there was something going on! Dreamy layered keyboards then gave way to a much more Hawkwind style space rock attack, but that also didn't last for long.

This is an album that refuses to stick to any particular style, and there are hints of Magma, King Crimson and VDGG as well as an unusual singing style from Roberto Goddardi. This is the third album from the Italians, who were formed in 1988. This is music that is challenging, and often defies description. Just when I think that I can understand what is going on they change tack totally.

The result is an album that is going to alienate all but the most devoted progressive fan. That in itself is not a bad thing; especially as so many progressive bands these days are nothing of the sort. This harkens back to the days of the early Seventies when the word 'progressive' really did mean that. It may not be easy listening but I got a lot out of it.

Originally appeared in Feedback #60

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 Trimegisto  by RUNAWAY TOTEM album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.05 | 18 ratings

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Trimegisto
Runaway Totem Zeuhl

Review by The Mystical

3 stars "Trimegisto" is the eccentric debut from Runnaway Totem. The album is truly strange. There are points in this album where I feel that they have substituted the quality of their material for the quirky weirdness of their sound. But the experience is unique and some points of this album are exceptional.

The musicianship here is quite good. While I do think that the band could have worked for some more interesting material, they have crafted quite an interesting debut. There are points in this album that I find very unnerving, which is probably why I have not liked this album more. I do not think that this is a bad thing, in fact I commend the band on creating such a chilling mood.

The two best tracks on the album are Sancta Santorum and Ala Di Corvo. Sancta Santorum is a chilling track, with a very catchy melody and excellently arranged instrumental parts. Ala Di Corvo is a fast paced track with some excellent guitar work. Both tracks stand out as excellent, and I suggest them as introductions to the album.

I like this album, even though I am still not quite used to it. I recommend to those looking for a dark and unique progressive experience.

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 Zed by RUNAWAY TOTEM album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.27 | 18 ratings

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Zed
Runaway Totem Zeuhl

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

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 Renè 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.

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 Trimegisto  by RUNAWAY TOTEM album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.05 | 18 ratings

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Trimegisto
Runaway Totem Zeuhl

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Runaway Totem started their trip in 1988 from the town of Riva del Garda in North Italy with Roberto Gottardi and Renè Modena ( both on guitar/keys) and the starting line-up included also Giorgio Golin on drums and Giuseppe Buttiglione on bass.All band members had pseudonyms and stated the band would pass from a specific phase to another as time goes by.The starting one was Analisi,when the band started performing live,the second being Sintesi,begun in 1991,with Modena leaving for Men of Lake,replaced by Roby Santorum on sax/flutes and Sergio Amadori on keys along with Giorgio Revelant and Ana Tores Fraile on voices.The band's first release ''Trimegisto'' from 1992 was released by Black Widow both on CD and vinyl versions.

The musicianship on ''Trimegisto'' is rather strange,heavily based on dissonant parts, sound effects and distorted vocals,but falling generally into Heavy Prog with sudden breaks and with some very dark atmospheres throughout.What is to be noticed is that the bass is really upfront here,leading sometimes the music,while guitars are heavy but often distorted as well.The keyboard work is varied: Sounds from synthesizers,organ waves and obscure electronics pop up during this weird musical trip,used in a way to create some very dramatic climates.Vocals,both male and female,have a haunting almost operatic feeling,making them a good addition to the concept of the band.However not all tracks are equally interesting,with the band often using a boring steady groove under sound effects,while the atonal parts are not my cup of tea either.

Trully uncomparable,Runaway Totem's debut is certainly a personal approach to prog music with some haunting mood around and impressive yet not always conveincing compositions.You should give them a try,a recommended musical weirdness.

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 Le Roi du Monde by RUNAWAY TOTEM album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.60 | 15 ratings

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Le Roi du Monde
Runaway Totem Zeuhl

Review by 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.

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 Pleroma  by RUNAWAY TOTEM album cover Studio Album, 2004
2.81 | 11 ratings

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Pleroma
Runaway Totem Zeuhl

Review by toroddfuglesteg

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

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 Le Roi du Monde by RUNAWAY TOTEM album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.60 | 15 ratings

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Le Roi du Monde
Runaway Totem Zeuhl

Review by toroddfuglesteg

5 stars Runaway Totem returns with their 8th album. An album that has raised some eyebrows among prog rock fans (thank you, Progstreaming).

Listed as a zeuhl band, Runaway Totem has really never followed the script. Music wise, they have been everywhere and that includes a dip into the Rock Progressivo Italiano genre on Andromeda, their best album so far. That is, until this album was unleashed.

The cover art work is brilliant, btw. Something fit for a wall. I just wanted to mention this before I open the CD and goes to the music.

The album starts with the half an hour long epic Il Giardino del Nocciolo e del Melograno. A very slow start on this epic before a staight zeuhl piece with chanting like Magma vocals takes over. But the best piece here kicks in after twenty minutes after the chanting is over. A truly great symphonic prog piece which ends this epic. Il Giardino del Nocciolo e del Melograno is a truly brilliant epic and worthy the whole purchase price. Can it be bettered ? That is just what the Rock Progressivo Italiano and Avant Garde six minutes long song Le Mariage du Soleil et la Lune does. This song is like a meeting between Univers Zero and Premiata Forneria Marconi. The album ends with the half an hour long La Città azzurra del Sole. A piece of music which combines a bit fusion and avant garde. I am not entirely into this piece yet, but I still think it is great.

I seriously suspect that Runaway Totem has released a classic album in this genre. It is strictly speaking not a zeuhl album though if Magma is the standard here. I would rather label it a neo-zeuhl album where the envelope is pushed in all direction. In this respect, this is a zeuhl album and one of the best one you can find.

A modern classic and probably a genre defining album is what Le Roi du Monde will turn out to be, I believe. And it is an album those of you sniffing around the zeuhl genre could pick up without any fear of wasting your money. A new standard has been set.

5 stars

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 Ai Cancelli dell'Ombra by RUNAWAY TOTEM album cover Live, 2010
2.46 | 4 ratings

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Ai Cancelli dell'Ombra
Runaway Totem Zeuhl

Review by toroddfuglesteg

2 stars So far, Runaway Totem's only live album.

Those expecting live renditions of their latest material will be left disappointed by this album. The live recording was done in 1994 and contains some very early stuff from the band. Trimesto and so forth. This gig was recorded on a two tracks recording device. The sound is therefore very good, that taken into consideration. But the sound is still pretty bad. The sound separation is pretty bad. The hi hat on the drum too much in the front of the mix (if such a word can be used). The female vocals is pretty much the leading "instrument" here.

The songs on their own is good. But the sound quality is pretty bad and that disguise the quality of the songs. This album is by all means collector and fans only live album. But it is still an interesting album which I enjoy. But I cannot overlook the sound and hence the verdict.

2.5 stars

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