Jex Thoth

S/T

Written by: EW on 28/06/2008 18:41:41

Emerging from the intriguingly named Slab City, California, are Jex Thoth, with their self-titled debut album which brings forth a different take on the classic Doom format well-trodden by many bands before. There is no hiding the fact that this band is all about its female singer of the same name whose husky voice is its defining feature and leads a lot of the discussion about the band and its music.

Rather than following the classic Doom template to the word in the manner of Reverend Bizarre or The Gates Of Slumber, Jex Thoth come across as a Sabbath-influenced (obviously...) 70's sounding folky-psychedelic Doom band with Björk on vocals. In fact, their bass-heavy and keyboard-backed sound can be most closely compared to not one of the godfathers of Doom, but the 21st Century's own 1970s band: Witchcraft. The importance of the bass guitar permeates throughout, being far more noticeable at times than the guitar, which in the likes of "Equinox Suite, A) The Poison Pit" merely adds flourishing melodies or can be heard following the footsteps of the keyboard. Though the trippy spaced feel of classic Sabbath and Pentagram can be attained pretty much throughout, those bands' legacies are mostly plundered for the softer and less 'angular' riffing more often than not utilized by Jex Thoth. Just listening to "Equinox Suite, B) Thawing Magus" instantly sends this writer drifting off to the thoughts of bygone Sabbath classics such as "Planet Caravan" and "Orchid".

The speed of proceedings is somber throughout, with the term 'Doom' being the only fit under the Metal spectrum but at times not even that applies - Jex Thoth are more than happy to deviate into moments of pure psychedelia ("Seperated at Birth", "When The Raven Calls"), helped immeasurably by a thoroughly un-modern recording sound. The importance of keyboards on the album is most felt in the Reverend Bizarre tinged "Equinox Suite, D) The Damned and Divine", where the mood reaches its lowest point for a bout of melancholic shoegazing. In the likes of "Obsidian Night" and "Warrior Woman" Jex Thoth ride a delicate balance of sounding disturbingly fragile at times whilst laying some of the heaviest riffs this side of Electric Wizard, thanks both to the superbly deep bass sound and Jex's haunting vocal melodies. Her best comparator, Björk, highlights the fact there are no female vocalists within the boundaries of Metal who fill her territory, all being either basically pop singers (Nightwish, Within Temptation stand up) or men in disguise (Arch Enemy).

"Jex Thoth" emerges from my stereo having been a really down-right pleasant listen, resulting in me feeling more than a little attracted to the combination of Jex's husky delicacy and a bass rumble to remind one of Doom's bygone greats. The slightly imperfect mark more resembles my feelings that Jex Thoth haven't reached their peak yet, and whilst this is a commendable start, I anticipate hearing an album from them in the future that will have earned the right to sit comfortably with all the bands mentioned in this review.

8

Download: Equinox Suite, D) The Damned and Divine; Equinox Suite, A) The Poison Pit; Seperated at Birth
For The Fans Of: Witchcraft, Black Sabbath, Pentagram
Listen: Myspace

Release date 28.04.2008
I Hate Records

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