Sunday, 16 June 2013

Jex Thoth - Blood Moon Rise (Album Review)

Blood Moon Rise cover art

Album Type : Full Length
Date Released : 15/6/2013
Label : I Hate Records


Blood Moon Rise, album tracklisting:

01 – To Bury 2:54
02 – The Places You Walk 5:04
03 – The Divide 6:38
04 – Into a Sleep 4:06
05 – And the River Ran Dry 1:12
06 – Keep Your Weeds 5:49
07 – Ehj¤ 8:16
08 – The Four of Us Are Dying 3:59
09 – Psyar 8:33


Heavy and thick in the spirit of Black Sabbath, brewed with the soul of Sabbath contemporaries like Amon Düül II, Pink Floyd, Heart and Blue Öyster Cult. The classic song craft, weaving melodies, rich tones, and crushing drums on this album will have even the most sober of listeners completely transfixed!

Well worth the long wait, BLOOD MOON RISE delivers not only a collection of catchy doom ballads, but a flowing tapestry of cursed, psychedelic heavy metal. The album reflects JEX THOTH's expanded vision, while incorporating celebrated elements from the band's self-titled debut. Mixing shamanistic and futuristic sounds with harsh and more subtle tones, it cradles and sways, dooms and dances, shivers and quakes. Some tracks send you floating away, while others bind you firmly to the earth.

Line up:

Jex Thoth - Vocals
Nick Johnson - Drums
Nico Kain - Guitar
Matt Jacobs - Guitar
Danny Gonzalez - Bass


What can I say about a record that may go down as one of the least sludgy in the history of Sludgelord?  What could I possibly say to convince hardcore sludgesters out there that this is a record that they should probably pick up or at least look into because they’ll probably dig it?

Hm.  Nothing I suppose.  But I’ll try anyway, because no matter where you’re coming from on your heavy journey through music land, you probably will dig this record.

First off I’d call it psychedelic doom with beautiful vocals, blessed by nature with Jex Thoth’s just right feminine timbre.   I’d say that the music is darker than you might think.  Then I’d say, never mind all that and just give it a listen because this is some incredible stuff.

To my mind and ears, ‘Blood Moon Rise’ is the Return of the Jedi of doom.  First you find yourself out on the western plain, in a desert setting, then you’re deep in the forest and the spectre of the dark side hangs over the balance of the record.  There’s some amazing atmosphere on this thing, it grows thick along the walls like humidity; this is one of the deepest and richest atmospheric records I’ve heard. 

The tones are so low, the vibes are so slow that it’s almost like drone with song structure.  It’s music peeled from a wisp of smoke, then unleashed down a deep dark abyss.  “The Divide” is the best example of this, dressed in the black and crimson robes of a forest ceremony, this song plunges into the heart of the listener.  This is accomplished by the sparseness of drums, not just on “The Divide” but throughout the record, which allows us to forget all about the busy-ness, the hustle and bustle of urban life that I’m positive we are all too familiar with.  It’s only natural that the less busy, deep dark tones bring out those foresty feelings in listeners.  Of course, the forest of Jex Thoth is no tranquil refuge; it is a distressing place, packed with tribulation behind every tree.

“Ehjä” sheds some light on Thoth’s atmospheric keyboards, though only just a pinpoint of moonlight between the leaves.  This is where that droniness comes into play, slow riffs and Jex just leaning on the keys for minutes straight, yet there’s still a lot of movement and ironically, the atmosphere is more suggestive than it is explicit or emphasized as it is usually in ambient drone, ironically making it all the more potent for its subtlety.

If you’re looking for the more uptempo stuff, well there’s not a lot of that here, but “The Places You Walk” is a rockin’ little number, more of an insistent pounding than something that can truly be called fast.  Apart from that, the rest of the album is incredibly consistent in mood with the only track that disrupts the flow being “Keep Your Weeds”, which ironically was the first song I heard from this album.  Needless to say I wasn’t ready for the relentless psychedelic occult doom rumble this album had to offer.

This is Jex’s second album and she sounds confident, her backing band is competent and tastefully understated, allowing the vocals to shine atop, rather than being pinned beneath the deep low tones that the doom factory behind her pumps out.  When the glimmering wraith appears from behind the bent boughs of a primeval forest inviting the listener to forbidden worlds, you want to go with, so when ‘Blood Moon Rise’ invites the listener to supernatural places, you should go and see what happens.  You may find a new home there, or they may find your body weeks later, your head a squished puddle.  It’s up to you.  I’d risk it.  In fact I did, I – (squish).

Words by: Lucas Klaukien

As ever, show your support to the band by checking them out at the various links and buying their merch. This record is available everywhere now. Thanks as always to Jan @ Sureshotworx for the hook up.


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