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Covenant/ “Leaving Babylon”

Filed under: Goth Stuff,Recorded Music — doktorjohn October 25, 2013 @ 7:41 pm

Covenant
Leaving Babylon
Metropolis Records

By Doktor John

Leaving babylon

“Leaving Babylon” is used to exhort Christians to leave the sinful world behind and to refuse to participate in political and social life. I would venture that Covenant meant some other variant of meaning. I will leave the interpretation to the reader/listener.

The title track comes in two forms. As the first track, it is a mere 3.2 minutes long and opens with indistinct samples as if one were eavesdropping on a newscast, followed by bare-bones percussion one might hear from banging on a trash can lid a la Skinny Puppy or Einsturze Neubauten. Soon a slow-paced cadence supersedes and the title is repeated again and again as a disconsolate mantra. “Leaving Babylon II” is the seventh track and consists of a slow-paced monotonous10 minute zombie walk, I perhaps through a virtual cemetery.

“Last dance” picks up the pace and eventually evolves into symphonic, electronic strings and full-throated but grief-stricken vocals. “Thy Kingdom Come” begins with a mournful acoustic guitar then proceeds into a lush melody and dire lyrics sung over a moderately-paced rhythm providing a showcase for Simonsson’s uneasy, stressed-out vocals. “Prime Movers”—in ancient and medieval philosophy—is the term that refers to the creator of the universe, and was once employed by Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas as proof for the existence of a god. I can’t say exactly how the title was chosen by Covenant, but this track has a nice galloping pace, combined with a recurring synthetic riff that will pull everyone irresistibly onto the dance floor.

The 6.5 minute track, “Ignorance is Bliss,” starts with an eerie high-pitched drone of strings hanging over the introduction, with delicate synthesizer notation soon taking over as doleful singing brings it all together. A bridge of jubilant chimes intervenes, then a brief, bare-bones, techno-industrial run with simple vocals before the strings, vocals and compelling rhythm rise again in a grand crescendo to which the chimes gloriously return. The effect is an uplifting, emotionally triumphant experience.
“For Our Time” is real change of pace, with few if any techno or industrial conventions. It is sparse on instrumentals, relying heavily on Eskill Simonsson’s deep dark and up-front vocals.

“I Walk Slow” begins with the Eskill Simonsson’s intimately addressing the listener in pained, troubled whispers, his sad words punctuated by simple, sympathetic guitar strumming and disorienting bursts of static. “Auto (Circulation)” returns to the driving, techno-industrial style that won’t allow the listener to sit still, so compelling are the seductive beats. The final track, “Not to Be Here” is a lusciously beautiful, romantic, but anguished ode with a wistful narrative of the kind that sometimes motivates those on the dance floor to square off, embrace and dance two-by-two.

Whether one is looking for classic Goth, hard-core industrial, dark themes or uplifting, triumphal anthems, Covenant has put all these qualities together in their latest, must hear/must have album.

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