Friday 13 September 2013

Totem Skin - These Ghosts Are Haunting Our Halls EP

Sweden's latest wave of hardcore/d-beat bands are really lighting the genre up at the moment and This Noise Is Ours faves Totem Skin are one such band. They have a new album 12" LP, which is seeing a release via the always awesome Dog Knights Records in a couple of weeks, so I thought it would be fitting to review their second EP from March this year. You know, just to get you in the mood!


1. To Live Is To Be Haunted
2. No Gods, No Masters
3. Drick Varmen Un Min Hand
4. He Wears a Mask And His Face Grows To Fit It
5. We Wished To Free The Captured Foxes
6. Our Hearts Were Gardens

When I first heard Totem Skin's debut EP, it blew me away and fellow readers. Their second EP is no different. To Live Is To Be Haunted starts like an atmospheric black metal song before morphing into a raw, feedback ridden crust/hardcore odyssey. The calming instrumental mid-section brews tension in the song, which leads to another outpouring of feedback and emotion, tempered with intelligent screamo. 

No Gods, No Masters is just searingly intense from the first deafening hit of feedback, to the low-end ridden filth that makes up this one and half minute belter. It also subtly hints at the tone at which they're going to delivering their new record. They revert to their mother tongue during the third song. Drick Varmen Ur Min Hand starts with minimal bass and screams before launching into a part fast, part sludgy number that shakes and shatters everything around it. The metallic elements hidden in the song coupled with the dissonance bring to bear bands like Dead In The Dirt and Seven Sisters of Sleep.

They have the right approach to the track order as well, deciding to follow a longer song with a short-blast of molten fury. The stop/start ethos that sees short burst of ringing noise pepper the songs, show that Totem Skin aren't going for the easy listening approach. In fact, they seem to get heavier as He Wears A Mask And His Face Grows To Fit It and We Wished To Free The Captured Foxes attest. We Wished To Free The Captured Foxes is especially jarring with its atonal riffs and high-pitched screaming.

Closer, Our Hearts Were Gardens is almost longer than the previous five put together. This is where Totem Skins slow, bass-ridden sludge sound infiltrates their crusty hardcore. It shows a different side to them and one which sees the throttle back on the pace and instead lean on brooding, menacing atmospherics and clever rhythms. It's also where their screamo influences show themselves too. Full of cathartic energy, they lurch forward, not one-minute sounding awkward or cumbersome. They stick with the tried and tested instruments, don't use any artsy electronics and allow the production to give the rough and ready sheen that gives this EP more heart and soul.

If you were standing atop of a cliff watching the rest of civilisation crash into the sea, this EP would be what you'd be listening to. It's the sound of humanity dropping to its knees and pleading forgiveness for the wrongs it's done. If this is anything to go by, the new record will be very special indeed!

Listen to These Ghosts Are Haunting Ours Halls here:-

The EP is available as a name-your-price download from Totem Skin's bandcamp page.

As well as that, here's  the stream of Kargt Landskap, which will appear on their up-coming 12":-

Keep your eyes fixed on Dog Knights Productions for more news on the 12" here -

Totem Skin Bigcartel -
Totem Skin Facebook -

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