Saturday, August 2, 2008
I've been terrible about posting consistently, and being abroad for three weeks with no personal computer as of this coming Wednesday won't help much. As such, I'm posting as much content as I can muster.
Jex Thoth, formerly Totem, are a female-fronted doom metal band with who, beyond the Black Sabbath influence, incorporate a lot of '70s psychedelic spookiness into their sound. In addition to the slightly lo-fi production, certain songs are tastefully caked with macabre keyboard melodies, adding to the already enveloping atmosphere. Plenty of folky bits, too.
These sounds could get any fan of heavier rock or metal tunes stoked, but what rams everything home for a heady-heavy grand slam are the gorgeous, haunting vocal melodies emanating from the masterful throat of Jex Thoth herself.
Let's cut to the chase: I got my hands on their new debut self titled full-length album and listened to it four times in one day. It's that fantastic.
A dude on Youtube claims to have literally found this clip from a strange, occult UK movie on TV, hit record, and played Jex Thoth's "The Banishment" over it...and it's creepy and fun in the way old horror movies can be.
Jex Thoth MySpace
I have spoken so many words and written so many paragraphs about this brilliant trio since I discovered them years ago. Hailing from Switzerland, guitarist Tommy Vetterli and drummer "Marquis" Marky Edelmann teched for Celtic Frost on the Tragic Serenades tour in 1986, then joined up with bassist/vocalist Ron Royce to create some of the most criminally underrated technical thrash metal ever. Perhaps even more impressive than their abilities on their respective instruments was their consistent ability to keep their voice intact. Their first effort, R.I.P., shredded and ripped neoclassically with little restraint. Their last, Grin, was full of eerieness and groovy riffs. But every song from every record sounded like Coroner, no questions asked. Tommy's riffs, Ron's snarl, Marky's rock-solid rhythmic base and strange lyrics remain distinctive even today.
So I have three gems to offer the handful of people checking this place out.
Death Cult Demo (1986)
At the time, the three dudes were unsure about Ron taking vocal duties full-time, and turned to Celtic Frost's Tom G. Warrior. This thing shreds in ways only an '80s 4-track thrash demo can, and Tom keeps his trademark vocal style firm. UNGH! This has been bootlegged on CD with two additional later-era tracks from Noise Records' Doomsday News compilations, "Hate, Fire, Blood" and "Arrogance in Uniform." Both these comps (Doomsday News and Doomsday News II, respectively) can be found for cheap and are worth getting, and here at the Squidlair we keep it tr00...so you're gonna have to stick with the four-track original version.
Coroner- Death Cult Demo
1989 Radio Broadcast
This was performed on presumably Swiss radio after 1987's R.I.P. and 1988's Punishment for Decadence, but before 1989's No More Color. Be forewarned, the volume varies randomly at parts, as does quality (albeit briefly). Nonetheless, Coroner put on a great performance and for some damn reason perform that shit novelty of Hendrix cover at the end ("Purple Haze").
Coroner- 1989 Radio Broadcast
The Unknown- Unreleased Tracks 1985-95
During their European farewell tour in 1996, the band distributed this cassette to fans. It's an interesting little collection of knick-knacks; most of the cuts are ambient, experimental stuff. Not amazing, but a good listen to be sure. The extra-special part is the Grin-era live set tacked onto the end...they bust out "Golden Cashmeere Sleeper"! This tape is truly indicative of the band's expanisve pallet and creative ability.
Coroner- The Unknown