Sunday 25 November 2012

Totem Skin - Totem Skin EP

I've been neglecting a lot of stuff recently, blog wise and have some stuff backed-up which I'm working through now, so an apology must go to these guys as well as all the other bands, who're are waiting for me to post some words up. The show must go on!

Totem Skin are a three-piece hardcore band from Sweden, who contact me directly a while ago, about reviewing their self-titled EP. Now, I want whatever is in the water over in Sweden, as that country always cranks out amazing bands and I could do with a kick up the backside. Totem Skin released this EP around August of this year, which was self recorded and features elements of sludge and punk in it's sound.

Tracklist -

1. You Embrace Your Decay
2. Reap What You Sow
3. The Romans Make A Desert And Call It Peace
4. Tomhet Är Allt  
5. From Ashes Come Nothing
6. Seasons Don't Fear The Reaper, We Can Be Like They Are

Totem Skin begins with an atmospheric build up of rhythmic drums and feedback, before the crust-infused hardcore of You Embrace Your Decay, abruptly barges it out the way. When this happens, Totem Skin turn into a sprawling, writhing monster for a brief moment. Those hypnotic drums regain their prominent place in the music alongside more rousing guitar riffs, with subtle melody. The sound is very close to the good quality screamo/emo that's picking up pace at the moment. The guitar feedback and lowly, distant screams sound dramatic thanks to the great production. It's got a cathartic feeling to it, one of despair but also a feeling of relief at certain points. First impressions are really good.

Reap What You Sow is a more immediate addition to the EP, making more of Totem Skin's crust influences. The addition of some thick sludge riffs though make it stand out.
Proceedings get even faster on The Romans Make A Desert And Call It Peace. It's chaotic, punk-infused hardcore sound makes it hard to ignore. It all comes to a close with introspective passage of cleanly plucked guitar and subtle atmosphere. Tomhet Ar Allt, is sung in Totem Skin's native tongue and as a result the vocals sound more abrasive. The musicality is top notch too, with the instruments almost opposing the fevered screams, with their semi-melodic, almost jangly leaning. From Ashes Come Nothing begins with an indie inspired intro, but the descends back into dissonant chaos.

EP closer, Seasons Don't Fear The Reaper, We Can BE Like They Are, is an eleven and a half minute trip into your own psyche. It features pretty much all the elements that Totem Skin do best. Sludgy, mid-paced hardcore mixed with subtle melody and some really cool sampled sounds, which add to the brooding atmosphere. This is really beautiful stuff. The female spoken word sample that sits atop the lowly strummed guitar is a really nice addition. If you listen to the words, there's a meaning and a story to it, one of raw emotion and despair. It's quite stirring really.

For the last two minutes of the song, the emotions stirred up by the song are crushed by Totem Skins unabated hardcore and with utter sincerity, it ends, leaving you breathless.

This EP left me awe-struck. To hear why, check it out at Totem Skin's bandcamp page below:-

The EP is also up on there as a name-your price download.

Totem Skin are on Facebook at

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