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Totalselfhatred - Totalselfhatred ©2008 Ordo Decimus Peccatum
1. Enlightment
2. Ruoska
3. Sledge-Hammered Heart
4. Spirituelles Equilibrium
5. Mighty Black Dimensions
6. Carving
7. Total Self-Hatred

One of the more amusing things about the extreme metal world is the way fans love to subcategorize their metal into even smaller compartments of styles (ie: viking metal, pagan metal, ecology metal). But one of the more populated regions of metal subgenres is "depressive" or "suicidal metal", which has its roots all the way back to when Burzum was shrieking away in a tiny studio somewhere in Norway. A lot of bands have followed that template to a degree, offering up forlorn wails and throat lacerating shrieks that suggest they're rather quite upset about something. Totalselfhatred, a Finnish band (a country unfortunately known for a relatively high suicide rate over the years, though thankfully it's been on the decline more recently), also falls into that category of metal, though they veer away from the Abyssic Hate world of bleak metal. Their style dips into doom, black and even a touch of the gray area that Katatonia used to occupy way back when. Though despondent, Totalselfhatred offers up a dynamic, solid debut that deserves to gather some attention.

Totalselfhatred (which implies the band is so beat down by the struggles of existence that even the spacebar is too much to bear) is a seven song affair that succinctly demonstrates the band is capable of good music. Their melding of the various subsects of metal subcategories is done with ease, as well as their song arranging abilities. Though you get a fairly solid idea of what they're up to in the first track, their sense of dynamics within a song as well as fairly good songwriting keeps it from becoming an exhausting, tedious listen. Much like mid 90s Katatonia, Totalselfhatred finds a place within mid paced metal and relatively simple movements in the songs that works well.

Just so we know the hyperbole hasn't taken complete control, Totalselfhatred falls into the "above average and notable, but not mind blowing" category of reviews. With metal being chock full of mediocrity, it does stand out as better than the typical release and therefore worth some attention if you have a hankering to explore the "depressive" realm of metal, or you want to hear what doom metal could be once you've grown tired of My Dying Bride's nonsense.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 12/2011

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