Thanks to a club night, London’s stoner scene mainstays SEDULUS  find themselves starting to a pretty empty room, which is a shame as they lay down a thunderous, prog-tinged groove.
Equal nods to Opeth, Tool and Kyuss abound and whilst they may be on before most people arrive, they are still able to illicit a positive response. Hopefully their abilities will be rewarded with more practical stage times soon. Drifting across the stage like the heroine from an old Hammer or Tigon horror movie, the eponymous vocalist JEX THOTH  is an utterly bewitching spectacle. Wrapped up in a cloak wreathed in incense and lost in the music, she is a pagan priestess invoking gods from the pages of the books of Arthur Machen and Lord Dunsany. It’s as much a ritual as a rock show, and with a set drawing heavily on 2013’s glorious Blood Moon Rise, Jex Thoth are nothing short of incredible. Entrancing doomed rock with psych touches is bathed in Hammond and vintage synth that harks back to early sounds of Coven and Black Widow, as well as Mountain and Sabbath. Gender should never be an issue with music and there are few singers, male or female, as compelling as Jex.
Italy’s UFOMAMMUT  take a different tack. Making up the art collective Malleus, their distinctive artwork has graced dozens of records and posters over the last two decades – everyone from Pentagram to Faith No More have used their work – and they use projections of their distinctive psychedelic visuals to great effect. Having suffered major technical issues last spring at Desertfest, thankfully things run much more smoothly this time around.
Less immediate than Jex Thoth, their music is a downtuned wall of noise that is crushing but hypnotic. Whilst they might lazily be described as stoner, in reality their approach is to take jagged, Melvins-styled riffs and feed them through a Krautrock grinder. There is a power in the repetition of riffs when used right and the low-end fuzz and tribal pounding rhythms combine with the trance-inducing animations to slowly draw you into a dark, altered state.