Billed as a full-length, but with only half the running time of the Italian cult’s 2017 De Arte Tragoediae Divinae, Bloodlands gets right to the point, and O, that point is sharpened. Now, don’t get me wrong, with three songs over the 13-minute mark, the debut was impressive – a band coming out of nowhere with the chutzpah to not only attempt but succeed in making such lengthy works interesting – but it’s fulfilling to hear that, when it wants to, TOTALITARIAN can “trim the fat”, as it were.

The band gets down to business with the strafing of ‘1933’, jagged riffs punctuated by a near-war metal angularity, the nameless drummer’s skill behind the kit being of special note, reminiscent of Emil Dragutinovic’s work on MARDUK’s Rom 5:12, combining precision and power to grand effect. ‘On The Wings Of The Great Terror’ follows, dizzying scale runs the order of the day, but unfortunately becoming a bit mechanical by the end, leaving the listener’s attention to wander. Yet worry not, as ‘Defeated, Destroyed And Divided’ worms its way into your aural cavities, pure malevolence on all fronts, and enough variation to warrant repeated enjoyable spins. The penultimate ‘Of Bullets And Gas’ elicits the band’s sometime comparisons to early 1349 (think Beyond The Apocalypse), in all never a bad thing, while the 2+ minutes of closer ‘Deathcult Eternal’ is an unexpected martial brass/rhythm-led piece, perfectly placed at the end of the apocalyptic battle, and leaving one with the feeling of looking down upon body-strewn warfields, smoke and smoldering ash wafting from mangled machines and men.

TOTALITARIAN has, with Bloodlands, proven itself more versatile that I’d have thought it to be, which bodes well for future output. As it is, fans of the aforementioned comparison bands would do well to check out what’s on offer here.
Review By: Lord Randall

Barren Void Records
3.5 / 6