BLACK TOTEM – II Shapeshifter

Rating: 3.5/5
Distributor/label: SVART Records
Release: February 26, 2021
Buy Album:
Preorder- Bandcamp
Band Website: Facebook

Band Line up:

Spit Poison- Lead vocals, bedpan guitar
Sam Hate-Lead guitar backing vocals
Tony Cash-Battery and backing vocals
Wera Wolf-Bass and vocals


01-Begone Vampire
02-The Devil
04-Black Nekro Gloves
05-Bloodstained Owl
06-Ghoul of Crow Swamp
07-Dead Meat
08-Backyard Corpse Blues
09-Welcome Lucifer


Finnish death rockers Black Totum return with a new full-length album. A campy, fast-paced record, Black Totem look like fetish cowboy vampires and sound as if Danzing, Motorhead, and Fleetwood Mac all merged into a multi-genre octopus.

Thankfully overall this mixture of vibes seems to work pretty well and gives the record real versatility. They give us up-beat, almost danceable songs such as Dead Meat and Begon Vampire alongside slow, doomy, eerie, tracks like Warlock. It’s probable that many would interpret this leaping around of styles as an element of indecisiveness.

1990s is a much grungier and angrier track, appropriate for the title, especially when hits of Joe Wood era TOS. The campy horror vibe comes in full force with Ghoul of Crow Swamp with ghostly howls which sound straight out of a late-night B-Movie. Ghoul Of Crow Swamp stands more firmly in a post-punk position, where the band’s easy and flamboyant sense of theatrics really comes into its own.

No one likes a one-trick pony, and since each track of this record is so well thought out, I think a little disjointedness in the overall record can be forgiven. It is called Shapeshiting II after all.

It was a little difficult to gauge how seriously this band wanted to be taken, but judging from the kitschy song titles and high- kicking, line-dancing- powerlifting, a chaotic music video I think it would be fair to say this band at least has a sense of humour. Their sense of fun is infectious; creating vibrant and energetic records. Slightly hyperactive, theatre-kid vibes, make this band endearing.

I wouldn’t be surprised if they revealed themselves to be a true force to be reckoned with. Thankfully they have some excellent music to back up their antics, so if you’re after a good time, Shapeshifting II is will be a record that ticks most if not all of your boxes. It may not be a transcendental intellectual experience, but you’ll certainly have a great time listening!

Review  by Annalisa Orlando