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It's been nearly four years since Oakland, CA's power trio Totimoshi slipped a new disc onto the shelves. 2005 saw an enhanced reissue of 2003's ¿Mysterioso?, but that hardly counts. The reason is simple: Totimoshi sound like a re-energized, completely new band. Guitarist Antonio Aguilar and bassist Meg Castellanos (the two founded the band) have been constants, but the drum chair has been a revolving door. The addition of Skin boss Luke Herbst is part of the reason for the evolution in the band's attack. Produced by Helmet's Page Hamilton, Ladrón is a beast of melodic aggression, big, bad rock & roll riffs, heavy metal's cathartic dynamics (rather than those of Nirvana or the Melvins, to whom some say Totimoshi are deeply indebted) and the larger, clearer mix that lets the guitars do their thing unencumbered by atmospheric bass and drum sludge. The bass sound is nearly deafening when it roars, but the balance is there between Aguilar's six-string and Herbst's drumming. Standouts here include the title track, which burns for its entire six-and-a-half minute run; "Gods of the Earth," with its Latin melody; the over the top guitar rock on "Viva Zapata," with the heaviest riff on the set; the tense rhythm section interplay on "The Hide," and the sheer, melodic yet bone crushing beauty of "The Drunken Sun Forever Watching." Totimoshi have matured into an act on their own plain. They don't fit with the indie rock scene any more than they do the new brand of metal bands like Isis and Pelican. They embody everything from Mexican sons to Black Sabbath and everything in between while keeping their soulful, skillful sonic wildness in balance with a songwriting prowess (poetic and painterly lyrics as well as music) that is second to none. If you've never heard Totimoshi before, simply start here and work your way backwards. If you have heard the band before, take a listen and be utterly surprised yet again.

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