TOTALISTI – Slave To None


Magna Carta
Release Date: August 16, 2005

User Review
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Washington (USA)-based quartet Totalisti (supposedly to be pronounced “Totalist-Eye”…) serves up a 12-pack with Slave To None. The follow up to their 2003 debut Beyond The Black is a leap into the major label circus as they are now signed to mighty Magna Carta. But, will this label association bargain up for a splendid release!?

The Music
A typical trait for Totalisti are the vocals alternating between rough and smooth, shouting and whispering. There seems to be a deliberate formula to nearly each track, taking you from a hard and less melodic verse into a fully harmonized and melodic chorus, with the pounding guitars leading the way.

The overall expression is quite hard and has a lot of attack, without being limited to simple aggressive cliches. This is somewhat supported by (surprising!) glimpses of optimism in their lyrics.

The Band
The quartet are carefully balanced, leaving appropriate focus on the vocals and lyrics. Thus, none of the members are overexposed and a collaborative feeling is found throughout the release. They all appear to be quite skilled instrumentalists, although the bass tends to fall behind the beat at times, causing a dragging, rather than pushing, groove. With the drums in a static mode, this characteristic keeps several songs from ever taking off. Perhaps this is just symptomatic for the album and not so much for their live performances?

The Verdict
It’s inevitable to think of Tool (among several other influences) when you hear this album. But where Tool is musically exploring and progressive, Totalisti trods along a rather well-lit path. Furthermore, they are almost hopelessly devoted to their aforementioned song formula. Sure, this could be taken as their signature, but it more often limits the experience than enhances it.

The associated press release for Slave To None states that it’s “definitely a record … you must listen to more than once to catch everything.” This is possibly true, but by the second or third time around, Slave To None becomes an immensely tedious experience. The occasional glimpse of catchy choruses is by far not enough to save this album from skip-button-finger slavery…


  • Frode Leirvik

    Frode was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Norway. His headbanging experience started when his brother-in-law gave him Deep Purple’s Fireball at the age of ten. Since then, he has also been a fan of and active in several other musical genres, resulting in a deep and profound interest in music. Some of his favorites, among all of those who have somehow managed to tap into the universal force of Progressive Music are (in no particular order): Thule, Dream Theater, King Crimson,Pink Floyd, Rush, Spock’s Beard, Jan Hammer and Jerry Goodman, Ekseption, Focus, The Beatles, Deep Purple and Frank Zappa.

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