Until this point, links to the Zeuhl genre were generally only found in France and were burgeoning in Japan, but here come an Italian band. Runaway Totem’s second album consists of two long tracks and piques the interest from the start with a classical trumpet fanfare turning into a sludgey Black Sabbath riff. The slow pace builds into a twin guitar attack with a host of male and female vocalists. The Zeuhl tropes of melancholy guitars, a mix of monotonous and harmonious vocals, and prominent drumming are all present, but there’s plenty of diversity throughout. Points of difference though are that the bass is less of a feature, and there’s also plenty of calmer synthesiser work too, in particular at the halfway point of the first track, where vocals are sung in Italian, in tune, and much more in RPI style. That passage lasts a full four minutes before slamming back into another heavy riff which slowly mellows out towards the end of the track.
The second track begins quite differently, with a four minute psychedelic soundscape to begin with, before a long and complex, but slightly repetitive guitar section. After some Zeuhly vocals there’s a fast paced classic-rock style instrumental passage which to be honest, goes on far too long. It’s eventually broken when the vocal ‘hey’s turn into some actual lyrics (in Italian), both male and female, with the latter fairly operatic in Zeuhl fashion.
First track far more interesting than the second, but worth a listen nonetheless