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One of the most underrated albums of all time - 97%

LordOfTerror, October 19th, 2009

From the depths of the land down under, shrouded in mystery and shadow, comes Nazxul, one of the most talented and underrated black metal bands ever to exist! Totem is most certainly their masterwork, playing music that is mysterious, occultic, and violent all at once. They manage to create a dark, foreboding atmosphere unlike any other black metal band – of an unnamed vortex crushing your soul, surrounding your mind and tearing it into pieces!

One definite highlight of this album is the inhuman vocals. Somewhere between a whisper and a howl, I would compare Dalibor Backovic's work on this album to that of Attila Csihar's – both vocalists forgo typical black metal shrieks for something much darker. Don't be fooled, though – Backovic sounds almost nothing like Attila, but there is definitely a comparison to be made here. Unfortunately, the only lyrics I can find are those of the title track, which are not quite as amazing as the performance. However, they are still well done, and it doesn't detract from the album at all.

All too often, black metal bands forgo riffs in their music for the static-y sounds of a chainsaw in a blender during a snowstorm. Nazxul, however, craft unique riffs that are at once atmospheric and violent – it is as easy to sit and absorb this album like a dark ambient work as it is to headbang to it like a thrash metal album. This, in my opinion, is the the best of both worlds as far as black metal is concerned, and is what sets this album up among the classics in my book.

Quite simply, this album is up there with any other black metal classic you care to name – whether you prefer the atmosphere of In the Nightside Eclipse, the ambiance of Hvis Lyset Tar Oss, or the blitzkrieg assault of Panzer Divion Marduk, this album is for you!