If you do a web search for ‘Totec’ the first results you get are for a recruitment agency in Swansea. I’m guessing those guys don’t have a Mexican dancey death metal side project, so let’s discount them.
The next result is an engineering and mechanical design company. Hmm. It’s possible, but this band doesn’t sound like a bunch of suit-and-tie blue-sky thinkers.
Colour me confused. Not least because Not War tricks you into thinking it’s a dance music album, only to slam some crunchy chainsaw guitar riffs into the mix, then follow it up with an ‘80s synth bassline.
It’s a bit bonkers, to be honest. Sometimes it’s lots of fun, just for that reason. The vocal delivery is heavy on the theatrics, and it feels like Totec maybe don’t take things too seriously. They splice all this weirdness with discordant, moody acoustic vignettes, which sound like the Cavalera brothers at their most chilled and introspective.
Then the title track – wasn’t that drum beat on every Indie record ever made in the ‘90s? But now it’s being used in a death metal context, with gunfire and laughing children overdubs, stabby SNES-era synths and howling, distorted guitar. It rocks in a big way, but it’s a very odd experience. Like finding out that the Dalai Lama is your real father, or that your kneecaps are made of 24-carat gold.
‘Ojos en blanco’ is probably a good starting point if you fancy investigating Totec. It sees them delve into instrumental groove-metal and throws in some scratching. It’s funky shit, too.
Totec are about as niche as a band can get. Not War is a bit like the soundtrack to an imaginary cult ‘80s film, and a bit like a death metal opera, and a bit like what would happen if Max Cavalera, Vangelis and Primal Scream had a jam session. Pretty flaming strange, but much more interesting than a recruitment agency in Swansea.
Words : Joseph McArthur Field.
About the author: Joseph writes for several publications, including his own Tumblr.