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Of all the bands that have been introduced to me over the last 2 years of album reviewing very few come close to having impressing me as much as Jex Thoth, the psychedelic-influenced proto-doom band from California that is the outlet for one Jessica Thoth and her wondrous set of pipes. 2008's self-titled album is sublime and her recent work on the bizarre Sabbath Assembly album is no less divine, so I waited with baited breath to see what the "Witness" EP would do for me.
At 3 songs and 15 minutes there is little time to grasp their current sound, which has taken on a greater psychedelic influence since my last visit to Thoth-ian shores with a increased prominence given to an organ sound which personally takes me back to Amorphis' classic "Tales from the Thousand Lakes". A different league maybe, but Jex Thoth are worthy of being talked about amongst great artists. The rawer sound in "Raven Nor The Spirit" and "Slow Rewind" belies a more relaxed atmosphere, with Jex's voice gaining extra resonance against the the dramatic and moribund music beneath in ways most female metal vocalists can only dream of. Never overtly soft nor 'fluffy' and with a gritty feel at it's core, her performance stands out in a sea of preening beauties unable to comprehend metal's need for balls, whatever the gender of singer.
The EP closes with a cover of Slapp Happy's "Mr Rainbow", which when listened to in it's original form does not immediately suggest a metal version could be extracted out of it. That Jex Thoth have, and done it with such brilliance to make it the EP's highlight is testament to an understanding of their unique sound, Thoth's passionate voice and the understated artistry of her backing musicians. A fine release it was always likely to be and another reason nailed for why all should be investigating this band on the path to greatness.
Originally written for www.Imhotep.no