If you haven’t yet checked out Totengott’s second album The Abyss, then I heartily recommend that you do. The band’s dark, atmospheric take on doom/heavy metal is quite engaging, and one that has yielded an enjoyable album.
I caught up with the band to find out more…
Introduce us to Totengott
We are an open-minded metal trio from Asturias, North Spain. It is not easy for us to tag ourselves into some specific music genre, as we have influences from many different styles: doom, death, thrash, Gothic, ambient… We simply try to make the darkest music we possibly can. Our brand new album “The Abyss” would be a nice listen if you want to make your own conclusion about what styles we fit into! 🙂
Name five things you’ve listened to recently that you’d recommend
We are going to suggest six things actually, two each one of us:
The Skull – The Endless Road Turns Black (Nacho)
Hola Ghost – Hate and Fight (Nacho)
Atriarch – Dead as truth (Chou)
Flesh – Come and See This Cruel World (Chou)
Motorpsycho – The Crucible (Jose)
Inter Arma – Sulphur English (Jose)
Tell us about The Abyss
“The Abyss” is our brand new album and it presents a natural evolution from our previous album “Doppelgänger”. From our point of view, the sound is more personal, the heavy parts are heavier, the ambient parts are more oppressive, and the general feeling of darkness during the whole piece is pretty overwhelming. Four tracks, 46 minutes of morbidness and evil.
Starting out life as a Celtic Frost tribute band, how would you say that has informed The Abyss and where you are now as a band
The Celtic Frost tribute days were very useful in terms of getting to know each other personally and musically (as we never played together before Totengott), so those days were great as a “firestarter” for what came later, apart of a lot of fun. We have great memories about that time, in which we already shared stage with some bands we love as Entombed AD.
What are some of the lyrical themes on the album about?
“The Abyss” is present in almost every song in the album. It represents that personal place where a person may lose his reason and turn into a brand new person, someone different. It also can be understood as that dark place where a person may fall and redeem himself, going back to his former self. It has a duality meaning of salvation/damnation. This duality is also present in most of the songs: love/hate, life/death…Despite this “The Abyss” is not consciously a concept album, we really feel that the whole album has a general vibe to it, so we understand that some people may think about it as that.
What’s the process you use for writing songs? How did you decide on the various different elements of the songs – for example, shorter vs longer, faster vs slower, etc.?
We usually write songs based in home demos and ideas that Chou brings from home. Some of them may be very basic, raw ideas while others may be almost finished songs. We always make a listening exercise, check and decide which ones we think are the better parts or which ones we want to work next with, and then we finish and arrange the final versions of the songs in the rehearsal place. We may have some preconceived idea about the general feeling of the song (in example: “this song needs a fast part here or there”), but we don’t usually try to limit ourselves much when writing. Our songs are usually long because we felt the general vibe of the song needed it, not because we looked for it consciously.
What’s your favourite song on the album and why?
“Doppelgänger II: The Abyss”, the long epic track that covers the B side of the album, is the song that defines the band we are right now and, from our point of view, our best song until now. It has all the elements we try to represent with our music: darkness, heaviness, unpredictability, epicness, grandiloquence…
Tell us about the guest musicians on the album
Apart of the vocals from the three of us, we have another three guest vocal appearances in the album. Marija Krstevska, from the Macedonian band Drioma, made a great job with her multilayered harmonies in a couple of songs of the album as well as the final ethnic arrangement in “Doppelgänger II: The Abyss”. We really loved what she did. Balc, from Balmog, added some harsh vocals in “Ceremony I: Sic transit gloria Mundi”, for which we wanted to have a very primitive vibe in the vocals. And finally, the legend Kam Lee, vocals for Massacre and early Death, who offered himself to add some vocals in the album after discovering us with our first record. We obviously accepted the offer and, as classic death metal lovers, it is a pleasure and honour for us having him in our record.
What are some of your reflections about the album and how it has turned out?
We are very satisfied with the final outcome and what we have achieved with “The Abyss“, to be honest. It really represents the band that Totengott is at the moment, and what else can you ask for when you record an album? 🙂
If you had to do it over again, would you change anything?
Maybe some small details…Some of the vocal parts or the mixing process may have been made with more time if possible, but our schedules and the will to not to prolong the whole process a lot, made us stick to some pretty strict time frames. At the end of the day, we are very happy with the album, so these changes wouldn’t be a big deal.
How would you compare The Abyss with your previous work?
We believe that the album has more of a personal sound and we feel the band’s sound has evolved in “The Abyss“, even despite most of the material was already written when “Doppelgänger” was released. As commented, the album enhances some of the features our supporters loved from “Doppelgänger”, so we think that they are definitely going to be delighted with the new album as well.
What lessons have you learned from The Abyss that you will take forward for your next recording?
Every album and basically every step in a band’s career is part of a learning process. With “The Abyss” we worked pretty hard, so we basically improved our technical, recording, personal and creative skills in general. Next album should be one step ahead with all the acquired experience.
How do you think Totengott fits in with the global metal scene in 2019?
We don’t think much about where or how Totengott fits in the nowadays metal scene. We do our thing, not thinking much about trends or where the scene is going in every moment. We are not sure if we fit into some specific scene or genre as of now, but we are very happy with the general acceptance and feedback of our music, so I guess we are in the right path 🙂
What does the future hold for Totengott?
Mostly, gigs in order to promote “The Abyss“. We are booking shows in Spain as well as a small run of European shows for the fall. Stay tuned!! In parallel, we are already working in new material for the third Totengott album, and we already have a few non-finished but very developed already song ideas.
Any final words?
Just thanking you and all our listeners for your support! UGH!!