Everybody from Mayhem to High on Fire have been influenced by Celtic Frost, but few have been as blatant about it as Totengott. Let’s tally it up: their band name is a track title from Monotheist. Their cover art looks like a mountain goat version of the last Triptykon album. Even the name of the record, Doppelgänger, implies they’re just a shameless copy of someone else. It’s thus no surprise that this Spanish trio got their start as a Frost cover band in 2013 before deciding to write their own compositions. On this full-length debut, will Totengott make Tom G. Warrior “ugh!” with approval or disappoint us all like a certain record named after a chilly water body1?

For the most part it’s the former. Unsurprisingly given their namesake, Totengott are heavily inspired by Monotheist-era Frost and its spiritual successor in Triptykon. Black, doom, and thrash metal meld seamlessly on Doppelgänger, with a smattering of gothic atmosphere in the occasional synth flourishes and understated crooning. Most of this record leans heavy on the doom, although that’s not entirely the case with opener “Delusion of Negation.” Following the creeping ambience of its intro and colossal opening chords, “Delusion” kicks in with galloping beats and buzzing riffs that are sure to bring a smile to the face of any Morbid Tales fan. Vocalist/guitarist Chou Saavedra embellishes the proceedings with a hoarse shout that recalls Warrior but retains enough character to avoid being an outright clone. Topped off by a deliciously crunchy thrash break and a guitar tone thicker than black tar, “Delusion” is an enjoyable start whose nine minutes feel like half that.

Unfortunately, the remaining two tracks don’t quite reach the same heights. Follow-up “Satan Beside Me” begins promisingly enough with a huge marching riff that sounds like Cyclops shuffling around his lair. It’s a cool idea initially, but returns far too often over the track’s 14-minute runtime. Luckily there are other ideas that redeem things – a set of strained tritones, a few backing growls, a wailing guitar solo that reverberates off the cavern walls, and a turn to funeral doom heaviness with a slowed version of the main riff and a series of steady cymbal strikes. Still, things feel a bit too drawn out and repetitive, especially with the recurring vocal motif. The closing title track fares a little better with its hefty loping chords, menacing chugs, and bobbing up-tempo portions, but even its doomy main riff has no business reappearing again in the song’s final quarter. While the eerie clean picking and distinct rumbling bassline of the closing minutes do offer a satisfying coda, at 21 minutes the track is simply far too long for the number of ideas within it.

Fortunately these songs remain enjoyable despite their flaws, and Doppelgänger possesses an enormous strength I’ve yet to discuss: its production. Normally I’m far more concerned with a record’s music than its mix, but Doppelgänger is the exception. Simply put, this record sounds incredible. The guitars are thick, resonating, and deep, with a tone that melts wonderfully into the fat bass while harboring a biting mid-range that rivals the iconic sound of Monotheist. While the bass drum is a tad subdued, the rest of the kit whacks and clatters with a lively snap. “Thick” is the word that keeps coming to mind, and while there’s certainly plenty of bass presence, things remain totally clear and never veer into overblown fuzziness. Frankly, Totengott could have recorded an entire album of Emmure covers and as long as it sounded this good, I’d still be bobbing my head with a shit-eating grin on my face.

Still, even the best production can’t entirely make up for repetitive songwriting and extended runtimes. But while a few more up-tempo moments would have added some variety, ultimately Totengott have produced an enjoyable tribute whose faults stem from long-windedness rather than lack of originality. Despite the obvious similarities, Doppelgänger is notably more expansive and doomier than Frost, and it’ll be interesting to see where this project goes next. Hopefully not another 44-minute, 3-track foray, but it’s always amazing what can be accomplished when you’re channeling the power of the Warrior.


Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Labels: Burning World Records | Xtreem Music
Websites: totengott.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/totengottmetal
Releases Worldwide: July 11th, 2017

Show 1 footnote

  1. Never forgotten. Never forgiven.

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  • AngryMetalBird

    99€ on Bandcamp????

    • welyyt

      Blood Incantation offer their first EP for $666. Probably just missed a comma.

      • AngryMetalBird

        I sent them a FB message and they replied. Correct link is burningworldrecords.bandcamp.com

        • basenjibrian

          Yep. Weird stuff. Burning World looks like they have some interesting stuff. I may splurge on the Discography.

        • rumour_control

          Yen Pox, mang.

  • Drew Music

    Eh, I think the Tryptikon album cover connection is kind of a stretch. The Warrior worship (Warrship?) certainly is fervent, however, and that’s really all I ask of the world. In Tom I trust (trvst?) and I definitely urge all nonbelievers to make as many pilgrimages as possible to the many darkened and unholy lands – even the Cold Lakes – which He hath made pure with his impurity.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      Don’t go skinny dipping in those Cold Lakes!

      • Drew Music

        At 140 lbs on a good day, I’m pretty much skinny dipping wherever I may float.
        …now my ears are haunted by Hetfields that never were.
        Anywhere I floooat…

        • I was 140 lbs once, when I was 13.

          • Drew Music

            Eh, my metabolism lets me eat whatever I want but never gain mass. When I was in the military, working out (free time and mandatory) and eating right, I still never got any heavier than 170.
            There’s room for gorillas and chimps in these hallowed metal grounds, I’m content with being a little Drewcifer.

          • basenjibrian

            Gawd I hate you. I exercise OBSESSIVELY (I suffer from OCD-Obsessive Cycling Disorder) and am still short and roundish.
            Of course…along with genetics, it doesn’t help I am hopelessly, helplessly, ridiculously addicted to sweets. I consider it a good week when I don’t eat a pint of high octane ice cream a night. :(

          • Drew Music

            I feel that, for as much as you might envy such genetic shenanigans they are pretty fucking annoying to me for the most part. How am I supposed to be taken seriously whilst brandishing firearms at encroaching young neighborhoodlums if my build makes them think that I’m one of them?

          • basenjibrian

            ROFLOL.
            Well…I am approaching geezerhood at a rapid rate, so even if I were skinny, that would not be a problem!

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            Get bigger firearms.

          • Drew Music

            “I needs all these SAWs, mister, the internet told me so!”

          • Nukenado

            Plebeian Grandstand keeps all the pesky kids away.

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            And if it’s on the internet it must be true!

          • [not a Dr]

            The last time I reached 170, was when I was unemployed and almost homeless and was eating old crackers with post-ketchup for breakfast, lunch and supper.

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            That’s a little below the usual weight for a 13 year old silverback viking gorilla, isn’t it?

  • Monsterth Goatom

    The photo suggests some kind of satanic altar, but I can’t help thinking: “Come to the dark side. We have goat cheese fondue!”

    • [not a Dr]

      Also, on the album cover’s top-right corner, partly obscured by clouds: [goat] cheese sphere!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • André Snyde Lopes

    2017, year of the goat!

  • Ivan E. Rection

    Massive CF fan, so I’ll check this out. On a different subject; realizing now it’s just a hand gesture but at first glance of the band photo, that sure looked like a floating pecker.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      Get your mind out of the gutter, you… what’s your name? Yeah, that’s right, get your mind out of the gutter Ivan E. Rection!

  • Dagoth_RAC

    I didn’t get the goat jokes at first. Because I thought the goat’s one horn was a hood and other horn was a scythe. And I could not figure out what album art featuring the grim reaper had to do with goats…

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    Obituary. Obituary is influenced by Celtic Frost. So much that whenever they cover a Celtic Frost song it blends in with the rest of their stuff. And I like to shamelessly plug Obituary every time I get the chance.

    • Dagoth_RAC

      Obituary’s Cause of the Death was the first “extreme” metal album I ever bought. And I bought it when it came out, well before YouTube or iTunes or Spotify or all the other ways to hear before you buy. So I had never heard *anything* remotely like Obituary. Of course, I loved it immediately. And had no idea at first that “Circle of the Tyrants” was a CF cover. It fit in so perfectly with the rest of the album.

      But “Infected” remains my favorite song from that album. And I am not sure if it is best song on album or just the first. And being first, the initial impact was so overwhelming that it warped my fragile little teenage mind.

      • Drew Music

        And THAT is what this is all about. What a great entry album, +100 life points to you yo.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        It’s really hard to tell which is the best song on “Cause Of Death”. When I listen to it, I usually listen to the whole thing, and I listen to it very often!

      • Tofu muncher

        Yep, same here, on cassettes. Either that or early Kreator and Italy’s Bulldozer, I can’t really recall.

  • Eldritch Elitist

    Is that… An itty bitty goat riding on the horn of a kaiju-sized goat? Fuck yeah, that’s rad as hell.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      That’s exactly what it looks like to me…

      • Thatguy

        I’m a bit late getting to this, but I want to know why no one has changed to goat to a unicorn.

        • [not a Dr]

          Goats are double-unicorns, duh!

          • Thatguy

            Then why don’t we have bands called Unicornwhore or Were-unicorn?

            Think about that cover art for a moment. Imagine a Were-unicorn…

          • [not a Dr]

            Because it would only be half as good?

          • [not a Dr]

            I was advised to be careful with the wording of my wishes concerning unicorns… I will not create a mental picture of a were-unicorn.
            Crap. Too late.

          • Nukenado

            Were-unicorns Weregoat style.
            That’s probably in soneone’s dark corner of their had drive…

          • Nukenado

            Horses aren’t kvlt enough.
            We need to spread the word…

  • Aguy

    “doom, and thrash metal meld seamlessly”

    Unpossible!

    • Drew Music

      The new era of Throom metal is upon us.

      • Nukenado

        I prefer doosh metal.

  • Grimstrider

    TL, DR version: …it’s fine, but it really just makes you want to listen to the other bands it’s clearly inspired by. And that’s not exactly an endorsement, is it?

    The itty bitty ditty goat riding the gifuckinormous goat is pretty awesome, though.

  • Aidan Riess

    The footnote link made me end up listening to almost 30 seconds of Cold Lake. Thanks a lot Mark.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      You got Rickrolled! Or would that be Coldrolled?

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    And to think that if “Cold Lake” had been released by ALMOST any band other than Celtic Frost it would probably be regarded as their best album.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    These guys were a Celtic Frost cover band? This sounds like they decided to re-arrange the riffs and vocal parts from different Frost songs and give them different titles. But I like it, it is good. Just goes to show how great of a band Celtic Frost were.