Totimoshi - Mysterioso
Crucial Blast
Heavy Stoner Rock
8 songs (35'25")
Release year: 2001
Reviewed by Alex
Surprise of the month

In my office I have a pile of CDs I reach to when I become a little tired of metal (hard to believe, but it does happen sometime). I put albums into that stack based on pure promo sheet description, word of mouth, etc., so I do not really know what to expect when I finally approach that shelf. There are albums on it that I have never played, not even once, and it is squarely my fault, but there is simply enough metal I do not get bored with to occupy all of the precious time I got.

As a sign of divine luck then, my one year old son got into that pile and pulled out a Totimoshi CD, I am sure based purely on the cover art of the man-fly. (Here is the lesson for you, make your cover art attractive to the kids, so their dads would give it playing time and coverage). Given that providence was pointing me into Mysterioso direction (and I was a little tired of metal that day) I took Mysterioso with me on my morning ride to work.

Turns out, for one year old, my son got a good taste in heavy stoner rock Being a reissue of an earlier 2001 release Crucial Blast added a couple of videos to the enhanced CD ROM re-release. In Mysterioso we get an example of honest, non-commercial, very much blue collar, heavy music, full of non-compromising attitude. Originating from Oakland, California, Totimoshi stacks up against cleaned up and polished metal like blue collar Oakland neighborhoods against fancy-shmancy San Francisco or, for the fans of American football, like nasty Raiders against the mainstream popular 49ers.

True to the genre, Totimoshi does apply their music thick and bottom heavy, yet there is clarity in their drone’n’fuzz. Antonio Aguilar comes up with cerebral, earth-heavy reverberating riffs, as well as off-kilter bluesy solos and melodies pointing to the Hispanic origin of band members. Every thundering bass guitar pluck by Meg Castellanos is heard, and it resonates so much my car interior was shaking. Johann Zamora’s drums boom, but every roll is accurate.

Songs on Mysterioso are different, quieter Cellophane, scazzier Horselaugh, loopy and revolving around its single-minded theme The Bleed. Yet, they are all loaded with long instrumental passages, have enormous build-ups and possess almost hypnotic quality. The atmosphere is aided by thoughtful lyrics, sung in reserved, almost matter-of-factly manner. Female vocals on the opener Float (probably Meg Castellanos singing) or Antonio Aguilar the rest of the way, no one is pulling soaring vocals on Mysterioso. You and I may as well be singing these words, immersed in the smoke filled karaoke bar full of bikers somewhere in the Bay Area. The production, warm and analog, drives the final nail in, as the album would sound ridiculously untrue if allowed to be messed with by some big name producer with ProTools.

Stoner isn’t even my style (see the quote), but I can recognize a good thing when I hear one. With heavy fuzz-rock I either can’t get through the whole album on the first listen thus putting it away forever or I ride the CD until there are holes in it. Mysterioso is one such album which will stay with me a while.

Killing Songs :
Cellophane, The Bleed
Alex quoted 78 / 100
Other albums by Totimoshi that we have reviewed:
Totimoshi - Avenger reviewed by Khelek and quoted 65 / 100
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