Великолепная итальянская группа Runaway Totem ухитряется сочетать в своем творчестве почти оперный вокал и типично итальянскую воздушность с серьезной тяжестью, мрачностью и сложностью. Музыку группы обычно относят к zeuhl, но не ждите тут похожести на Magma, стиль группы совершенно уникален.
Many moons ago I remember having seen an advert for a concert by a certain Tep Heperi. It seemed to be a cheap local musical act, so when I saw the word Tep Zepi I thought Runaway Totem had gone mental! Luckily the kind of music on offer here is a long way removed from the (lack of) talent of Tep Heperi! Luckily it remains as complex and as interesting as their previous work for the Black Widow label. Again it gets close to modern opera but done with a very tiny budget. It’s the kind of work that should be given a chance to be performed at the world famous La Scala one day with real instruments as opposed to the samples used here. Expect a multitude of rhythm breaks and rhythm changes backed by dark sounding string sections and very low bass sounds which almost announce "hell on earth." Imagine the strings being played by a real orchestra and the vocals tackled by Pavarotti and you would most certainly get worldly recognition! It must be said however that the vocals by Cahal de Betel certainly do the trick as well, containing a decent amount of classic feel. The lower notes of the piano complement a monotonous drum pattern and screaming guitars before ending "Sacro Re."
Repetitive patterns, low piano chords, powerful drumming and sampled choir will be the spine throughout this "evil" work, which will be more like a collective work rather than a concatenation of individual ideas and solos. The trained voice once again takes over during the final statement of "I 4 Signori," which builds and builds towards the expected finale. Accompanied by an almost military drum and church organ (a real one would have done miracles here!) the composition steers towards more sombre atmospheres with plenty of drum breaks. Some parts could be ideal soundtracks to horror or disaster movies! New Trolls anyone? The scope of this entire production could be so much more powerful if real instruments could be used. Just replace all the brass parts now played on synth by real brass and you will be blown away!
Listening to a complete Runaway Totem album isn’t an easy process. It’s like you're dissecting another spin of the Carmina Burana trying to find new details along the way. Indeed a very complex and nerve wracking experience! However, in the end it becomes rewarding knowing you have just experienced something rather unique, because so few others will have had the opportunity to hear this work. And that’s where it goes wrong for Runaway Totem, because although their work is unique, they simply don’t seem to get the media attention they deserve. For sure people who are into theatre and/or film must be able to commission this band for future reference? It will be their only possibility to finally get the necessary budget in order to record their work the way it should be done!
John "Bo Bo" Bollenberg, September 2003
Trimegisto 1993 (Studio Album)
Zed 1996 (Studio Album)
Andromeda 1999 (Studio Album)
Exoterical Melange (promo cd) 1999 (Studio Album)
Tep Zeri (L'era degli dei) 2002 (Studio Album)
Pleroma 2004 (Studio Album)
4 Elementi 5 - Esameron 2007 (Studio Album)
1. Aurea Carmina (4:52)
2. Sacro Re (7:58)
3. Pardes (6:43)
4. Iperborea (11:39)
5. Montsalvat (6:14)
6. I 4 Signori: l'Isola Sacra (5:10)
7. I 4 Signori: I Guardiani (5:43)
8. I 4 Signori: Akâsha (6:26)
Total Time: 54:51
Virhur - Keyboards and Sampler
Nezah - Bass profundo
Cahal de Bêtêl - Lead Voice and Guitars
Tipheret - Drums
Susanna Villanova - Voice on "I 4 Signori"
Links in comments. Enjoy!