Jex Thoth – Witness   Leave a comment

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Jex Thoth released their debut album a couple of years ago now and it was very impressive mainly due to the recreation of the early 70’s occult rock vibes and of course Jex Thoth’s vocals (real name – Jessica Toth). A split with Pagan Altar followed and not long after that a EP called “Totem” which was good but lack the spark of the debut full length album. Now in 2010 and yet another EP is released called “Witness” which features two originals and a cover from the rather obscure band called Slapp Happy which i know next to nothing about. The hype surrounding Jex Thoth and bands like Blood Ceremony has been strong and the term “overrated” has been used by many people including myself. Its not that the bands are bad, in fact the bands are really good but sometimes the female vocalist fronted bands playing a occult-driven kind of Doom rock seems to get more hype and overblown good reviews than their male-fronted counterparts. You can called that a sexist remark if you wish but that is the way i see it.

Witness is 15 minutes of a more Psychedelic approach from Jex Thoth who seem to be moving away from their Doom Metal roots and it sounds a little stale to me and not a particularly good move on their part. I much prefer the heavier sounds that were displayed on the debut full length and the Totem Ep than this release and there is no denying these songs have noticeable weaknesses and its just a slightly different approach which doesn’t gel too well over the course of the 15 minute running time to my ears. They haven’t abandoned their original sound that much however, the two originals still have a down-tempo, laid back, drug induced hazy feel. They also still have the interesting instrumental sections that do push the songs into a heavier direction with throbbing hammond organ sounds but as usual the main focus is on the voice and she delivers another stunning vocal performance on the Witness EP.

The main problem is the two originals just sounds kind of dull and uninspired overall and the cover of Slapp Happy’s Mr Rainbow is wasted studio time to me. Out of all the cover versions of songs they could have chosen, why they picked this one is a mystery to me. The song fits at least into the down-tempo vibe of the EP but after two average originals, this cover version doesn’t help the EP too much. Adding to the problem is the poor production which sounds flat and under-recorded, this hurts the already luke warm songs. Fans of Coven, Black Widow and Black Sabbath will still get something out of this but if you have never bothered to purchase a Jex Thoth disc, i wouldn’t start here at all. I don’t think this spells the end for Jex Thoth, nor do i think this is really bad, its just reeks of pure filler material. Hopefully this is just a stop-gap between full length albums for the band and a teaser for much better things to come. I don’t want to put down Witness too much as i am sure some Jex Thoth fans will still go nuts over this but i am not one of them. For now, i will put this EP away and await the next album to see if they can rise to the occasion. 5/10

Jex Thoth @Myspace
Jex Thoth
I Hate Records

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Posted July 7, 2010 by doommantia in Jex Thoth

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