Totem Skin
Still Waters Run Deep


4.5
superb

Review

by DanielNightLewis USER (4 Reviews)
November 9th, 2013 | 78 replies


Release Date: 2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The Skin I Live In.

With winter crawling in, it is only appropriate that releases that evoke isolation, desolation and desperation start creeping out of the woodwork, looking to dig their morose hooks under the skin of their listeners. Swedish sextet Totem Skin's third release has come at the right time to take advantage of these changing seasons and draw us in to their collective experience.

Opening 1-2 of Kargt Landskap and Still Waters Run Deep are a well defined signal of intent. Their brooding build ups, chaotic releases and throat scraping vocals set the tone for what is to come. The latter's d-beat centered drive providing an early highlight for the album and an excellent, accessible way to get a better grip of their sound which thrives on cold, cutting guitar lines that lend a distinctly "blackened" feel to proceedings.

While the incorporation of black metal influences seems to be an ever more common trait among the hardcore sub genres it is perhaps more incidental than conscious in the case of Totem Skin whose sound encapsulates a similar form of isolation and loneliness to that displayed on early BM releases from northern Europe, which despite coming from a crowded sextet always feels genuine. Their sound is also supplemented by an undercurrent of sludge that lends weight to the atmosphere when ferocity and speed gives way to lurching heaviness.

Alongside such modern stylistics it is also clear that Totem Skin look to the past for many of their cues, often hinting that they have distilled much of Pg.99s discography in to a coherent and expansive whole. In particular Atrophy of the Heart recalls the exhausting sprawl found in Pg.99s By the Fireplace in White. The dual vocal approach will also heighten such comparisons however their passion and impact are very much their own. If there is to be a criticism, it may be said that the vocalists, while imbued with doubtless conviction and emotion in their performances, do little to distinguish themselves from their peers. This said, the extra level of oppression brought by two screaming vocalists is remarkable, how their relationship and interplay develops on future releases will be interesting to follow as it provides an extra dimension for the band to explore as they progress.

Where this album really shines is the tension between the explosive heaviness and its quieter moments. They provide moments of respite and calm that allow the listener to absorb the maelstrom they have just been spat out of and prepare themselves for what lies ahead. This is exemplified by the closer Seasons Don't Fear The Reaper, We Can Be Like They Are , with its gentle repeating guitar line that wraps the listener up in a quiet, collected sadness before erupting in an unforgiving dirge that is destined to echo in the minds of a lucky few for years to come.

Taking this album as a whole, quality and humanity can be found in every department, the production and mixing is raw but affords the clarity the songs deserve while the music itself is considered and affecting. Given time there is every chance that this album will be mentioned in the same breathes as those they have taken inspiration from. As it stands, Totem Skin look set to make end of year list making just that little bit harder for the discerning screamo fans of the world.


user ratings (132)
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
DanielNightLewis
November 9th 2013


1027 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Still getting the hang of this reviewing lark. Any feedback on how to improve will be received gratefully!

BigPleb
November 9th 2013


65799 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This band fucking rules.

DanielNightLewis
November 9th 2013


1027 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Agreed (obviously), I am really hoping that they come to the UK some time soon, I can only imagine that it would be epic.

DanielNightLewis
November 9th 2013


1027 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

http://totemskin.bandcamp.com/album/still-waters-run-deep streaming here.

reportingbird
November 10th 2013


1051 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

their self-titled ep rules,especially the closing track

Funeralopolis
November 10th 2013


14586 Comments


this sounds interesting, especially if it is influenced by pg. 99

Wizard
November 10th 2013


20530 Comments


Well done review. This sounds awesome!

TheBarber
November 10th 2013


4130 Comments


Sounds heavy, is it similar to Psyke Project or Love Sex Machine?

DanielNightLewis
November 10th 2013


1027 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It's got a pretty similar vibe to Psyke Project at times but it is a little more punked out in the faster section.

DanielNightLewis
November 10th 2013


1027 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

No problemo, hoe you enjoy it as much as I have!

TheBarber
November 10th 2013


4130 Comments


Nice, 1st track got me going for good. Good review, pos (you rule) it's a good read and your great descriptions are detailed even though I can't help but feel that you should have gone a little further as to why you think this record is that good.

DanielNightLewis
November 10th 2013


1027 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks, looking back at it I could defend/justify/explain my rating a little better but I struggled to find a way to do it that didn't come across as overly gushing or disrupted the overall tone of my writing. This album deserves better than me clumsily fawning over it!

TheBarber
November 11th 2013


4130 Comments


Atrophy Of The Heart m/

reportingbird
November 12th 2013


1051 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

enjoying this so far and just realized they use the same closing track as the ep.

ShitsofRain
January 7th 2014


8259 Comments


will get

ZippaThaRippa
January 24th 2014


10671 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This could definitely use some more love. Perfect combination of crust, hardcore and black metal.

Sniff
February 8th 2014


8111 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Bought this today. Pretty good choice

zaruyache
February 22nd 2014


27531 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Had this downloaded for a while but finally listened through it last night. Didn't think it was that amazing, but it still riffed pretty hard. Probably a 3/5 from me.

ZippaThaRippa
May 22nd 2014


10671 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Best album of 2013 that no one listened to

YakNips
May 22nd 2014


20100 Comments


yea this is fuckin great



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