(Crucial Blast)

01. Ladron
02. In Virgo
03. The Dance of Snakes
04. Gods of Earth
05. Viva Zapata
06. A Weighted Line
07. To the Fire
08. The Hide
09. These Meanings
10. The Drunken Sun Forever Watching
11. The Shame

RATING: 7/10

Kinda jammy, kinda sludgy, somewhere at a dusty crossroads between stoner metal and sparse indie rock, TOTIMOSHI have been a hard-touring, genre-defying bar-band staple for a few years now. Fans of THE HIDDEN HAND and KALAS will wanna dig into "Ladron", its desert-baked skeletons of riffs coming off like classic '80s metal varnished by time of all its frilly excesses and left to blanch in the unforgiving sun.

Check out the epic midsection of the title track, all triumphant metal riffing and soloing, but done as if played through practice amps and a three-piece Slingerland kit in the back of an all ages space. TOTIMOSHI manage to write bombastically, and even be bombastic, without being ridiculous or typical, and the result is self-aware, smart-guy metal that still manages to rock.

There's a bit of lumbering grunge in the grooves of "Ladron" too (see especially the sullen "Gods of Earth" for this) and some tense quiet riffing that leads to big walls of HIGH ON FIRE noise in "The Hide". There's some creepy acoustic parts, too (see the dusky blues of "These Meanings" and the demented minstrel tune "The Shame") which only add to the overall atmosphere of spooky disquiet and sinister late-night intrigue.

TOTIMOSHI are occasionally a little too dry and sparse for their own good — the middle of the album is a bit vague and unfocused, and the overall sound (produced by HELMET mainman Page Hamilton) might actually be better served with a little more oomph to the drums and more overall heft. But the band is clearly onto something here, and will go down a storm with anyone who worships at the altars of MELVINS, the Touch and Go discography, and the bong-rattling sludge metal of latter-day quasi-metal bands like HIGH ON FIRE and 25 SUAVES.


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