Kovenant

Picture of Kovenant

Animatronic

Kovenant - Animatronic ©1999 Nuclear Blast
1. Mirror's Paradise
2. New World Order
3. Mannequin
4. Sindrom
5. Jihad
6. The Human Abstract
7. Prophecies Of Fire
8. In The Name Of The Future
9. Spaceman
10. The Birth Of Tragedy

Having ditched practically half the band, changed stage names and band moniker and assumed a really dorky image for the cover (placing them in contention with Dødheimsgard for silliest album cover photo), The Kovenant is primed and ready to pursue a somewhat divergent path than the outfit that released Nexus Polaris last year. The main benefit to all this is that no one is going to confuse The Kovenant with black metal any longer. The band has moved into a territory that is occupied firmly with Samael's latest as well as Rammstein on the more basic, pedestrian side. The Kovenant tends to sound a bit like Rammstein with a more straightforward rhythm approach and occasionally reminds me of Skrew. There is a bit of an industrial/electronica edge but it tends to lean more towards a metallic side than anything. Psy Coma's guitar playing is simple riffing while Von Blomberg lays down nothing but simple yet appropriate drumming. His amazing skills aren't really being challenged here, but for what this band is apparently trying to achieve, it works. Lex Icon's vocals are still somewhat annoying, but they are further back in the mix and less of an earsore. They also retain the female "ooh/aah" backing vocals and I must say they do a lot of good for the album on a whole. Most importantly, though, when this band is on, they are really on. "The Human Abstract" is an example of an aggressive, driven song that is exciting. "New World Order" also is something that will get stuck in your head. Overall, Animatronic is a suprisingly good effort that should have appeal to anyone with a soft spot for gotho-industrial music. I'll still favor Samael's explorations in this territory, but The Kovenant are worthy followers.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 11/1999

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In The Times Before Light

Kovenant - In The Times Before Light ©2002 Hammerheart
1. Towards The Crown Of Nights
2. Dragonstorms
3. The Dark Conquest
4. From The Storm Of Shadows
5. Night Of The Blackwinds
6. The Chasm
7. Visions Of A Lost Kingdom
8. Through The Eyes Of The Raven
9. In The Times Before Light
10. Monarchs Of Mighty Darkness

I'm a tad suspicious here. If you recall, The Kovenant became the band with the special K after the electronic outfit Covenant protested the usage of their name. Thus, after our Covenant released Nexus Polarus, the band switched letters, lost some members and went slightly industrialized goth on Animatronic. That was 1999. It's now 2002 and instead of having any sort of new material, we are getting a fresh treatment of Covenant's debut, In the Times Before Light. No, the band didn't just pull the CD out of its obscurity and reissue it. Instead, the band re-recorded quite a few parts, provided new artwork and have put the K over the C. In fact, the band was so kind as to provide a little bedtime story about how this reissue came about in the liner notes. But despite all the trouble the band went through to dress up the CD, it does beg the question, "Where the hell is a new album?"

According to the liner notes by our pal Lex Icon, In the Times Before Light was originally recorded in 1995 but due to troubles with artwork and a zillion other things at their tiny label, its release was delayed until 1997. And being that it was on a small label, it reached the plateau of complete obscurity in, oh, twenty three minutes after release. Upon the decision to reissue the album, the band not only remixed it, but completely revamped and re-recorded the keyboard parts and added some effects. In other words, the Kovenant modernized it to sound like it might have been the first album of their industrio-gotho incarnation rather than the Grade B black metal it was at the time. One must realize that although the sound quality, the dominating synths and effects all sound great here, the original album they're working with was a dog. In the Times Before Light, the original, was simply mediocre black metal that was quite uninteresting compared to many of their contemporaries. Even if you fluff up a bed of rocks before naptime, it's still a bed of rocks.

This new version of the album is certainly a major improvement over the original, but compared to Nexus Polarus or Animatronic, it's still not that special. As a curiosity, it's fine, but I'd much rather hear new material from The Kovenant, rather than years of delay and distraction.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 12/2002

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S.E.T.I.

Kovenant - S.E.T.I. ©2003 Nuclear Blast
1. Cybertrash
2. Planet Of The Apes
3. Star By Star
4. Via Negativa
5. Stillborn Universe
6. Acid Theatre
7. Perfect End
8. Neon
9. Keepers Of The Garden
10. Pantomime
11. Hollow Earth
12. Industrial Twillight

One could tell there was something unpleasant brewing with Norway's Kovenant over the past two years. It struck me as suspicious that it has taken the band nearly four years to produce a follow up to 1999's funfest called Animatronic. Worse yet, the band spent a considerable amount of time reworking their pre-Kovenant debut, In the Times Before Light (originally recorded as Covenant), to sound "current and modern". Such a dearth of new music didn't bode well. Of course, looking at things altruistically, one could just assume the band was utilizing their time to create a masterpiece that would blow the doors off the industrialized metal world.

S.E.T.I., which should stand for Something Entirely Terrible Inside if there were truth in acronymns, is utterly wretched. Perhaps the defections of notable members such as Sverd and Hellhammer (who left after photo sessions for the album) were a harbinger of things to come. Most likely the more talented members of the band wanted nothing to do with such abhorrent refuse. Kovenant has fully dived into the goth-o-sized industrial-metal world and apparently it's quite the shallow pool. Don't they place signs around pools where you aren't allowed to dive? I know they do at most motels for liability reasons. Perhaps they should place those same signs around genre pools to warn bands when they're about to break their collective necks. S.E.T.I. presumably wants to establish the band as the next Marilyn Manson, but keep in mind The Onion reported that Mr. Manson had to resort to offending America by going door to door. The market for shock value simply isn't there anymore and this loathesome record certainly won't win any fans who have a working set of ears. From the dismal excuse for clean vocals to the completely lackluster songwriting to the incredibly uncreative keyboard laced guitar approach, S.E.T.I. is repulsive and undigestible. It might appeal to a fourteen year old kid who has a CD collection eighteen discs deep, but trust me, there are entirely better releases to be chasing after. S.E.T.I. is an unbearable burden of bad music.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 04/2003

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