Blood Moon Rise (2013) is the second full-length album by US psychedelic rock/doom metal Jex Thoth (also the moniker used by their vocalist, real name Jessica Bowen). It's been quite a while since Jex Thoth released anything, the last being the EP Witness (2010) and still longer than that since the self-titled debut (2008). Jex Thoth returned in 2013 with a largely new line-up compared to what features on the debut, aside from Jex herself, although drummer Nick Ray Johnson did also play on Witness.
When Jex Thoth released their debut there was some debate about whether they counted as metal or not. Female voiced psychedelic doom has had several bands rise to prominence in recent years, a little scene that included Jex Thoth. Much like their fellow scene members Blood Ceremony and their own latest release The Eldritch Dark (2013) Blood Moon Rise no longer leaves room for doubt, this isn't a metal album but a very clear psychedelic rock/heavy psych release.
I quite enjoyed the band's debut but I think on Blood Moon Rise Jex Thoth have found their sound. The debut was heavy, but in a very raw and fuzzy way; an ultimately riff driven album which only made room for anything else to add a bit of psychedelic flavour. Its main charm really was the vocals of Jex Thoth. It's obvious given that both she and the band share the same moniker and that she's remained the only constant member of the project that she is the star of this show and that's still true of Blood Moon Rise. She sounds fantastic; her tone is beautiful and fits so well with the melancholic music, and her singing also has a seductive quality.
The album also features greatly improved instrumental work that sways between light and heavy psychedelic rock, and features a much clearer production. It's still got a bit of fuzz in there, but the fuzz no longer dominates the sound. There's a lot more melody. It still has a slow paced doom metal feel and atmosphere to it though, although it isn't ever nearly as heavy as the debut. Both albums are melancholic, but achieved in different ways. Songs such as The Places You Walk and Keep Your Weeds show off both the rocking and pure psychedelic sides of the album respectively and are both easy highlights, but the real gems are the two longer tracks, Ehjä and Psyar.
Blood Moon Rise shows a bit of a different but also more evolved Jex Thoth, an album which isn't quite doom metal but I expect would still appeal to fans of the genre and the band's debut. The mix of riffs and captivating psychedelic sounds and especially Jex's vocals have certainly won this metal fan over to the new lighter direction. A four and a half stars range rating is deserved.
(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven: http://metaltube.freeforums.org/jex-thoth-blood-moon-rise-t3308.html)