Black Totem's debut 7" "I Brought You Back" was released back in 2009, and it took until 2012 for the band to release an another 7"-EP. Way too long, I'd say!
On the other hand, good things are worth waiting for. Whereas the debut presented short and simple "hit-songs" of really grainy and lo-fi garage rock with a good dose of blues, this EP presents, well, almost but not quite the same thing. The soundscape is a bit more atmospheric and cleaner, but still far from anything hi-fi. The opening song is a bluesy and a bit ominous piece that ranges from slow-paced groove to steady mid-pace hammering. The song has a really nice atmosphere, and gets a good boost and an extra dose of originality from the sharp background shrieks provided by the ladies of The Seekrets.
The second song "Cash and Poison" is very similar to the tunes on the band's debut; simple and straight-forward garage rock with a lot of repetition, and a simple chorus to sink into your skull. It's not as memorable as the best tunes from the debut 7", but it's still a good one that would definitely work well when heard live. My opinion is that it plain would've needed a rougher soundscape to bring out its best sides.
I seems that I'm referring to the duo's debut a lot, but again, like on the debut, this one ends to a longer and more atmospheric song as well. The whole B-side's taken over by "The Storm" which is a mid-paced piece that has got the tempo and rhytms nailed. It's a really minimalistic piece that relies on slowly progressing riff, backed by simple but strong rhythms. The song has a couple of thought-out dramatic pauses, and generally relies more on what's not there than what is there. It's the oppressing atmosphere of the storm and the (however cliché they may be) windy samples that take the song a long way. The hoarse and raspy but still strong vocals work wonders here, too, causing a feel of fighting back the storm's power. A splendidly stylish piece, no matter how minimalistic it might be.
"I Will Haunt You" shows that the band's gone forward, but also knows not to abandon their strengths. Whereas the song "Cash and Poison" seems just slightly out of place in this soundscape, the other two songs are just spot on pieces of garage blues rock. There's still room for development in the band's style, but the core of the duo's somewhat simplistic expression works splendidly, and the highly detailed guitar sound makes sure that the 7" stays interesting even after numerous spins.
Long story short, I wasn't disappointed. I'm just hoping there won't be another three-year wait until the Black Totem's next record. I'm hoping to hear a full 12" LP from them sometime in the future.