COVENANT

Album: "Northern Light"
Label: Metropolis Records (2002)
Style: Synth-pop
Songs: 11
B
 

Reviewed by: Darklight

Covenantís previous release United States Of Mind was their most mature and accessible album yet, featuring a variety of electro-pop styles. With this Northern Light CD, the band has matured even more, compiling and delivering a very focused and consistent release. The electro-industrial and EBM elements from the bandís past are almost completely absent from this disc. The band now sticks to more of a serious and straight forward synth-pop sound, and it suits them very well in my opinion. The music is more melody driven with nicely programmed and layered electronics over beautifully orchestrated harmonies. Eskil Simonsson sings in his usual deep accented clear voice along with the music perfectly.

This is overall a rather relaxed album. There are some tracks such as "Monochrome", "Call The Ships To Port", "We Stand Alone" and "We Want Revolution" that are somewhat energetic and could work as club tracks. But the other seven songs "Bullet", "Invisible & Silent", "Prometheus", "Rising Sun", "Winter Comes", "Scared" and "Atlas" are all quite laid-back and melodic. They play at a mid-tempo pace that keeps you awake, but definitely are not dance tracks. Theyíre best suited for home stereo or headphones.

The basic sound of the music here is not a big departure from what Covenant has done recently. Each and every song does indeed sound like Covenant. But this album also contains the least amount of club tracks of any Covenant release before it. This is a much more calm album through-and-through.

The quality of the songs offered here are top notch with excellent polish. The stand out track in my opinion is "Bullet". Itís the smoothest flowing track with a memorable chorus that you wonít be able to resist singing along to. While each and every song here is rather good, I do like "Call The Ships To Port", "Bullet" and "We Stand Alone" the most. Theyíre definitely the best tracks on this album.

The bottom line is that this Northern Light recording does seem like the natural progression Covenant would take after United States Of Mind. So I donít expect itís more toned down sound to really surprise anyone. But if you like Covenant more for their club tracks, and less for their melodic songs, then you might be a little disappointed with this release.

 

 

Album: "United States of Mind"
Label: Metropolis Records (2002)
Style: Electro industrial/EBM/synth-pop
Songs: 11
A
 

Reviewed by: Darklight

Covenant have really matured as a band, and it's proven on every song found here. Track one "Like Tears in the Rain" is a heavy beat driven song with melodic soundscapes and deep passionate vocals. It's a very powerful song full of emotion. Track two "No Man's Land" has a slightly funky edge to it with light techno music combined with relentless beats and upbeat singing. Track three "Afterhours" is a synth-pop song that sounds very similar to Depeche Mode. It's catchy with an upbeat edge. Track four "Helicopter" is a light and melodic song with ambient textures and spoken word type vocals. Track five "Tour De Force" is an excellent energetic electro-industrial dance song featuring fast paced electronic rhythms and beats combined with harmonic singing. Track six "Unforgiven" is a dreary beat heavy song with ambient melodies and deep sung vocals. Track seven "Humility" is a dark slow paced synth-pop song that again sounds a lot like Depeche Mode. Track eight "Dead Stars" sounds like an 80's New Wave song with dance energy. I really like its old school sound combined with a modern edge. Track nine "One World One Sky" is alive and energetic with upbeat rhythms and beats combined with passionate vocals enhanced with a nice echo effect. Track ten "Still Life" ends the album perfectly with its beautiful melodies and emotional singing. This CD offers the most variety Covenant has ever delivered before. The band has finally taken their music to the next level to create songs with a lot of mood and passion. There's a good mix of energetic dance tracks combined with melody driven synth-pop songs. This CD is their most polished work yet, and deserves to be heard by electronic music fans everywhere.




 

Album: "Europa"
Label: 21st Circuitry Records (1998)
Style: Electro industrial
Songs: 9
B
 

Reviewed by: Darklight

When Covenant first came onto the scene with their debut album "Dreams Of A Cryotank" they delivered an original sound that mixed elements of both gothic and industrial into one. Their second release "Sequencer" backed away from the gothic elements and focused mainly on noisy sequencing and a lot less on orchestrated synths. I didn't really care for that direction. Now Covenant return with their third release "Europa". While I like this album more than "Sequencer" due to it featuring a lot more variety, it's still not as good as "Dreams Of A Cryotank". The music delivered here is very noisy and scratchy combined with repetitive electronic sequencing and drum programming. While each of the tracks manage to sound a bit different from each other, they don't have a lot of changes during their playing course. They sound pretty much the same from start to finish never really throwing in anything new to surprise the listener with. The music never seems that creative. It's a bit basic and straight forward. The vocals are what really carry these songs along. They are deep and accented with a clean edge and really pack a powerful punch. This is what makes them sound a bit out of place with the music. I would expect the singer to be in more of a dark gothic band rather than this noisy and experimental electro industrial band. But it does all come together quite well. There isn't a bad track to be found here, but some do stand out a lot more than others. I especially enjoy "Leviathan", "Wind Of The North" and "Go Film". The other songs just don't do a lot for me. I like them, but they don't offer anything that make me want to listen to them a lot. Everything here plays at a fairly fast pace with a slight techno and synth-pop edge. These songs could work in clubs. But there just isn't a lot happening in the music. It's not very layered with a lot of creativity. Covenant fans won't be disappointed with this release, but they also probably won't find it to be that exciting.

 

Album: "Sequencer"
Label: 21st Circuitry Records (1997)
Style: Electro industrial
Songs: 12
B
 

Reviewed by: Darklight

Covenant is an electro act from Sweden. This CD includes both the "Sequencer" album and "Stalker" EP. The first song "Feedback" starts off with static electronic noise and then a dark synth melody fades into the background. Clean undistorted well sung male vocals are layered on top while catchy energetic electronic rhythms and beats complete the package. The variety in this first song alone makes it very obvious that Covenant is something special. Covenant combines EBM, noise, techno, goth and synth-pop into one hybrid sound. Malfunctioning electronics, dance quality rhythms and beats, dark gothic keyboards and synth-pop style vocals. This combination makes for a very unique experience and an overall enjoyable listen. It's great how the band manages to blend both experimentation and structure into one. You get a little touch of everything here and it works. The only drawback is that the songs don't sound too different from each other, but this is a very minor gripe considering that everything is good here. Do yourself a favor and pick this up today. You won't be disappointed.

 

Album: "Dreams Of A Cryotank"
Label: 21st Circuitry Records (1997)
Style: Electro industrial
Songs: 12
A
 

Reviewed by: Darklight

This is the debut release from the Swedish trio known as Covenant. Even though this is earlier work of theirs, I do feel that it's better than the material found on their newer album "Sequencer". I just find this album to have a lot more variety. Each song sounds diverse bringing in something new that makes it stand out. This album blends energetic dance style electronic music with haunting synths and clean deep gothic style vocals. Everything is mixed together excellently and does give the band a unique sound when compared to other electro industrial acts out there. The music is both structured and experimental with a lot happening in it to keep the listener interested. It could work on the dance floor with its fast paced catchy electronic rhythms and beats. Some songs are more relaxed and melodic while others are noisy and aggressive. But the album does manage to stay consistant throughout its playing course never delivering anything that sounds out of place. There are a lot of samples in each track as well adding even more layering to the overall music found here. There really isn't anything bad that I can say about this album. There is one instrumental and one remix that I could have done without, but the album still delivers ten excellent original tracks with vocals that provide plenty enough musical enjoyment.