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Totengott – ‘Doppelgänger’ (Album Premiere)


Probably the most thorny problem I’ve tangled with as editor of this website is the problem of originality. Summed up: originality keeps music alive, but original music is not always pleasant to listen to; in the other hand unoriginal music dilutes the genre, but is often very pleasant to listen to.

There is another axis to this issue: the imitator, the forgery, which equals the original. The ability to imitate indistinguishably is a kind of magic trick. Legendary director Orson Welles, at least, thought so. He directed an excellent feature-length video essay, ‘F For Fake’, on the subject

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In three years of trying very hard I’ve yet to come up with a good solution to this problem, partially because there isn’t one and partially because who cares so long as the tunes are good, yeah?

Enter Spain’s Totengott who, let’s be very honest, sound a hell of a lot like Celtic Frost-slash-Triptykon. I’m going to go ahead and say this is a good thing. Many bands sound sort-of like Celtic Frost (Goatwhore) or have covered Celtic Frost (Opeth). Very few bands actually make one sit up and say “Oh man, they even got Tom G. Warrior’s guitar tone right”. Totengott nail the guitar tone, the vocals, even the pacing of their debut album (It’s three songs long – as monolithic and Kubrickian as Triptykon’s “The Prolonging”).

Is this kind of worship necessary? Yes. For as influential as this titanic death-doom sound is, there’s actually not that much of it. Totengott do it so damn well that their precise ability to embody that feeling is in and of itself an artistic triumph. Orson Welles would be proud.

Normally this kind of abrupt and direct comparison could be seen as derogatory, not the kind of thing someone should do when trying to praise a band. Totengott, though, sort-of invite it. They even titled their record Doppelgänger.

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