Jex Thoth - Jex Thoth
I Hate Records
Psychedelic Doom, Classic Rock
12 songs (50:57)
Release year: 2008
I Hate Records
Reviewed by Goat

Previously going by the name of Totem, Jex Thoth changed its name in 2007 to that of its frontwoman. Even without a listen you could probably guess the type of music that’s on offer from the red and white artwork – the mushrooms in the bottom left hand corner are more of a hint than most people will need. Unlike many posers, however, this band lives up to its promise. The wonderfully Sabbathian vibes that pour forth on opening track Nothing Left To Die will have Doomheads in ecstasy, and Jex possesses an absolutely charming voice straight from the 70s. Janis Joplin herself, resurrected from the grave through some strange occult ritual and propped up against a microphone, could not make this album sound more rooted in that time. The 70s were perhaps the best period for music in general, partway between the naïve optimism of the 60s and the cynical commercialism of the 80s. Whilst it’s the 80s that most ‘true’ and ‘pure’ Metalheads remember rightly and fondly as the birth of the genre that we all live and love, it never hurts to take a little trip back further in time to see what the roots of the genre were like, and as Jex Thoth demonstrates, those roots were pretty damned good.

Going at a snail’s crawl, the music twists and turns wonderfully, backed by the melancholic wail of a very authentic-sounding synthesizer. Although there’s the odd faster moment, such as in The Banishment, that makes this clearly modern, the overall vibe is that of a record straight from the past. The addition of instruments like the bouzouki and flute give a subtle progressive edge to proceedings, and whilst there’s little of the ‘Battle Metal’ power hinted at via the band’s daft LARP imagery (Jex Thoth hails from California, so there’s absolutely no excuse whatsoever) after ten minutes or so with this most will care little. The acoustic strumming that interweaves with the Doom riffing is clever and well-executed, and the solos (both synth and guitar) are perfect, melodious without being flashy.

It’s pretty hard to fault this, overall. There aren’t really any standout songs, as they’re all pretty damn good, but the four-part Equinox Suite (percussion! Prog rock!) is a personal highlight. The more feeble Metalcore kids out there might have trouble with the album’s mildly crusty, lumpy production, but they’re pretty darn pathetic if they do – real Metalheads will have no problem. Ultimately, Jex Thoth is a trip back in time that lovers of music may well have heard before, but should always be willing to revisit the period. True Doomsters, heed the call.

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Goat quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by Jex Thoth that we have reviewed:
Jex Thoth - Blood Moon Rise reviewed by Andy and quoted 91 / 100
Jex Thoth - Witness reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
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