Totem - _Totem_
(I Hate Records, 2007)
by: Quentin Kalis (8 out of 10)
I've heard psychedelic doom before, but the little I've heard would rate as a puff on the bong next to the LSD tab that is Totem, to use a rather apt analogy. The album's spinal chord is provided by droning and downtuned riffs, fleshed out by Jex Thoth's (surely not her real name?) lush voice and various effects, ranging from analogue synths through to good ol' fashioned wah-wah pedals designed to simulate the aural sensation of indulging in hallucinogenics.

Despite possessing the molasses paced riffage of doom, little in the way of po-faced glumness can surface in-between Jex's exuberant vocals and the cornucopia of psychedelica on display here, resulting in a tone that is surprisingly up-tempo, but does not suffer in the slightest. The cover picture of a Sixties-looking young woman being consumed by flames appears to be a tribute to the infamous and seminal photo of Thích Qu'ng's self-immolation in protest against then South Vietnamese repression of Buddhism. It could very well be that this iconic photo has been appropriated as a means to capture the zeitgeist of the period of protest against established norms. Or perhaps I am reading too much into it, which is also a possibility.

Intended as a taster for an upcoming full-length, all I can say is bring it on, and bring it on sooner rather than later. Recommended for all those who considered Electric Wizard's _Chrononaut_ to suffer from a psychedelica deficit.

[On July 14th 2007, Totem announced on the I Hate Records website that they have changed their name to Jex Thoth.]

Contact: http://www.ihate.se

(article published 24/7/2007)


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