So Death Rock, Garage Doom is upon us. A couple of new genres to add to that list that people need to pigeonhole our Rock and Roll. Black Totem are exponents of such sub-genres, you can call it what you like – I’ll just add right out the traps that this here new record is full of fine tunes and whatever pigeonhole it be this is gonna be one of the best albums of 2021 and its only January.
I’ll tackle the Danzig tag right here and now sure its there but so what if Glen released a record as good as this anytime post Misfits I’d tip my hat and herald his genius instead its Fins Black Totem and their second offering that we gather here today to champion and what a breath of fresh air it is too.
Heavy as an anvil, sharp as a tungsten dart, cool as a frozen moon. Black Totem have moulded an album full of hard rock meets punk rock and jams on the best of the Cramps and Stooges for good measure. Its a hell of a record with twists and turns aplenty as they jump from the bombastic opener ‘Begone Vampire’ with all its chilling dark Gothic overtones and Rock guitar work it’s as heavy as a breezeblock yet stylish as Elvis in black. To be fair the whole record from the artwork to the delivery is Gothic and dark but it’s enticing and warm as the heaving ‘the Devil’ will testify. from the Stooges like intro to the chiming chorus that will have you chanting and throwing your arms in the air with approval. It’s a brooding mauling slice of the dark stuff and I’m sold. Respect! top tune!
‘1990’s’ is up next and as the he vs she vocals works a treat to add another texture to the hellish howls as the guitar work is on point and very much appreciated. The record goes full throttle for ‘Black Nekro Gloves’ as the punk and metal worlds collide in a fantastic romp and Death Blues is a pretty decent description as all hell breaks loose. Once I’ve finished getting this oof the player I’m digging into their back catalogue to see if this is a fluke or was the debut album leading the way and something I’m missing out on until then songs like the dark ‘Bloodstained Owl’ are dominating my stereo speakers. Band members Spit Poison (don’t Laugh at the back) and Wera Wolf have appropriate names much like Guitarist Sam Hate who by the way owns this record with some fantastic breaks and diabolically heavy riffs that Ron Ashton would have been proud of its a delightful record to stumble upon.
‘Dead Meat’ is the perfect blend of what this album is about as the melting pot of styles works perfectly. Its not all full tilt mind as the doom-laden ‘Welcome Lucifer’ sails closer towards the Danzig mould as does ‘Warlock’ but like I said earlier if Danzig penned this record it would be being championed from the rooftops for what is essentially one hell of a record and for dark, heavy, bluesy Rock it’ll take some beating this year and I’ll confidently put that out there Black Totem – if you’ve never heard them well here’s your chance to familiarise yourself because they might just fly when the time is such that they can get out there and play live because on record they are most excellent. ‘ii: Shapeshifter’ is fuckin’ champion all hail Black Totem!
Author: Dom Daley