Jex Thoth - Blood Moon Rise (I Hate Records, 2013)
Although released in 2013, it would be mistake to not write about JEX THOTH’s second full-length. JEX THOTH leaded by female vocalist by the same name is not “more than the usual occult rock/doom”, it’s actually different, totally apart from the actual so-called occult trend.
Some bands are trying to catch all the opportunities to jump on the wagon, I have the feeling Jex Thoth is actually trying to hide away from the public eye. Few concerts, less photos, no interviews, no videos, this band is really like an isolated island, which you have to swim to if you want to experience it. And I see no problem in this. This way people who are in it for the trend will pass near this band, while people who are into the real thing will discover a hidden gem in Jex Thoth.
The first tunes of the intro-like “To Bury” gives you inspect how the album will be: slow, atmospheric and magical. There aren’t big riff festivals, mainly basic, lazy riffs, with the minimal guitar leads and the girly youthful voice of Jessica. Everything is very modest, no tricky formulas, just music with an odd sound, although the result is very hypnotic and dreamlike. “The Places You Walk” is the 2nd track and first real song, simple, catchy, I didn’t get bored after 1 year of over-listening. “The Divide” is more dissonant and creepy with its oldie Sabbath riffs, still Jessica’s vocals make it pleasant-sounding and compelling.
“Into A Sleep” is very moody, Jessica’s voice is like a magnet. Don’t expect angelic voice, don’t even expect Lisa Gerrard, it’s a simple but mournful female vocal, the minimalism is the selling point here, no metal here, the song being more closer to Pink Floyd than to doom metal.
“And the River Ran Dry” is an intermezzo, atmospheric as you already expected, and opens the doors to “Keep Your Weeds”, a fantastic song! Very nice building in the beginning, a beautiful refrain, another slow and hypnotic magical song. Solos are like from another age, even before Pink Floyd playing in Pompei! These are ancient sounds! Keep your weed for this song!
“Ehja” is like fucking lead. I didn’t expect so heavy song from Jex Thoth. The beginning is similar to Skepticism, very heavy, slow and dirgeful. So are the vocals, which are bringing even more dark emotions to this track. If Funeral Doom would existed in the 70s, it would sound like this song! The cold shivers down my spine at every listening. This song is not just gloomy, it’s absorbing, you have to dwell underneath.
“The Four of us are Dying” is not any like a relief after the thick and gloomy monolith of “Ehja”, just a long and dim intermezzo.
The catharsis comes with the final track “Psyar”. Again, not an piece easy at all, it doesn’t bring the redemption you are longing for, more like accepting the pain, accepting your fate, accepting death.
For me this album is about this: fight through life, getting used to the final absorption into the unfathomable ether. It’s a painful and unavoidable experience. Jex Thoth has never been such profound. The cover artwork made by Sami Hynninen (Reverend Bizarre, Orne, Opium Warlords, etc) makes adds the vinyl the extra mystical feeling. The woman observing the world from underneath plus the title “Blood Moon Rise” also suggesting this album’s theme could be about passing. From the early formula Jessica is the only member left, the album was written merely by her, being the best under the JEX THOTH name so far.
Magical, mythical, hypnotic, slow, atmospheric, mournful, dazed. So, so far from the occult trends and actual bands with female singers.
Rating: 9 / 10