In general, if one is to describe a band as “retro,” the next step would be narrowing down the sound the band in question is paying tribute to, whether it be a year, a scene in the geographical sense, or a particular band deemed worthy of worship and replication. Totimoshi is undoubtedly a retro band, but where things get a bit more interesting is that they are one of the less specific retro bands I have yet encountered in this most recent rock revival, creating a sound that by no means original is quite clever in it’s off-setting two very contradicting styles. Whereas their swinging grooves, raspy vocals and lyrical consciousness are clear products of the Woodstock era; their pounding drums, dirgey riffing and gloomy negativity are certainly post-Sabbath. Totimoshi, what are you rebelling against?In all seriousness, Black Sabbath themselves evolved from the influence of both traditional straight-forward hard rock like Cream as well as their less orthodox contemporaries like Hendrix et al. While certainly possessed of a darker view on life and a heavier sound to go along with it, the lyrical concerns of Black Sabbath weren’t that far removed from that of their forebearers – war and peace, good and evil, sex and drugs certainly played a significant part in their new, grimmer take on rock ‘n’ roll. Ladron plays like a eerily genuine recorded prophecy from the early-mid ’70s or sounds like the work of young musicians of that era brought to our present, their future. Guitarist and singer Antonio Aguilar leads this power trio with his swaggering yet soulful voice which preaches, rants and laments in turn with a power of command that is often shunned these days, truly a more traditional lead singer in the sense of authoritatively vocalizing on rather than under the grooves. Aguilar is no slouch on his six-string either, creating licks, riffs and leads that pay heavy homage to the past without restraining himself to the technical limitations thereof. He is joined by Meg Castellanos on bass and Luke Herbst on drums, the former providing a consistent heavy warm throb in support of the riffing while the latter thumps along with more than the usual set of dynamics and instincts. Helmet’s Page Hamilton handles the production on this album (as well as helping out with some back-up vocals) and he very much centers the sound of the album on Aguilar, as well he should. This is not to discount the other member’s efforts, quite the opposite actually as both Herbst and Castellanos are strong performers and creative collaborators in their support role. This album is all about the riffs and vocals though, and both sound great and this is what ultimately matters here.

If I have any complaint, it is that even at their most excitable, Totimoshi sounds laid back. Each song here is of decent or better quality, but much like the Kalas record, tunes start to fade into each other over the course of an album listen. Basically I have found that listening to any one to three songs at a time is very satisfying but trying to spin the whole record gets a bit tedious at times. The three members of Totimoshi are quite proficient in creating, or is it re-creating the atmosphere of classic 60’s and 70’s hard rock/proto-metal, following both the letter and the spirit of Black Sabbath and other bands both influential to and influenced by their sound. Fan’s of that classic sound and of other subsequent sounds influenced by it (stoner rock, grunge, etc…) will find much to enjoy here.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by John Gnesin
December 27th, 2006


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