Totenwagen – Notte di Guai (2018) REVIEW

The keyboard certainly found it’s day in the sun in every avenue of rock music from black metal to post-punk and everything in between. Yet, I haven’t personally ever heard spooky key-bashing set to Totenwagen’s brand of guitarless hardcore punk. The first thing that comes to mind is The Damned when they went Devo rock on ‘Strawberries’ but those keyboards were pretty sparse and not hardcore at all. Then there’s the prog-rock nightmare of Bad Religion‘s ‘Into the Unknown’ and so far none of these things come close to the necro-rockin’ bass-driven hardcore punk of ‘Notte di Guai’. In fact it wouldn’t make sense to compare Totenwagen to anything else.

The dark, high speed growl of “Nocturno Punk” that rolls into 80’s hardcore punk structures would be great shout-along stuff to begin with, but having a looming church organ grinding in the place of guitars is somehow even more engaging. It is unexpectedly infectious and heavy while almost entirely avoiding the tropes of horror punk that were well worn out by bands like Tiger Army back in the day. If anything it resembles a more melodically successful version of what The Screamers were doing in the late 70’s, just less PiL and more Rancid. In fact there are some damn catchy songs here, particularly “Spit and Run” with it’s shouted chorus and rumbling bassline and the sea shanty that is the title track “Notte di Guai”.

Compared to their previous full lengths it sounds like Totenwagen is having more fun with melody, punk influences, and creating a darker sound without glowering in metal moments as often. It is a more vibrant and memorable version of the band’s incredibly unique style. If you like keyboard driven rock/metal music, hardcore punk with bass guitar skills, and generally enjoy a different take on your metal/punk this is well worth grabbing. It’s a free download too, support these independent musicians if you can afford to.


Artist Totenwagen
Type Album
Released January 14, 2018
DL Free/LISTEN on their Bandcamp! Follow Totenwagen on Facebook

Better to run than to succumb! 4.0/5.0

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