National Music Reviews: Dark Picks of 2016

Review: Covenant – The Blinding Dark

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Covenant
The Blinding Dark

Metropolis Records/Dependent Records
Street: 04.04
Covenant = Haujobb + Clair Voyant + Bruderschaft

You can walk into almost any underground night club in the world and hear a track by this band from Sweden—they are renowned as artists that bring people to the DJ’s dance-floor with their amazing musical talent. With this release, the Covenant fellows have something to be very proud of. Here they have broken boundaries with their sound, and it appears that as long as they continue to create music, the trend will go on. The willingness to step outside of their comfort zones is what makes them outstanding musicians. It is also nice to hear Daniel Myers’ style and influence return to the style of the band.

One of the things that I appreciated most with this release was that fact that you could hear the artist’s sound progressing and becoming something beyond fabricating a poppy tune. In a place and time where you have heard every type of sound in a song, it relieves me to hear artists striving again to find new ways to create them. You can hear this innovation in the track “Sound Mirrors.” It is fascinating that they took, manipulated and used actual sound reflections from sound mirrors. This is a song about reflection, so it is a very appropriate that they have used such instruments in its creation. They truly gave birth to a beautiful harmonic track with their ingenuity.

They finally have put our wait to an end by finally releasing “I Close My Eyes.” They started performing this track live approximately 10 years ago, and have never had a place in their discography to put it in until now. Frontman Eskil Simonsson comforts with his soothing voice as he sings the profound lyrics of despair. This song is a very powerful track that pulls you in with its beat and wakes you up with its message. In times of trouble, close your eyes and take a breath, and your path will reveal itself.

All of the tracks on this release are remarkable, but I just want to list a few things about those that stood out. The instrumental track “Summon Your Spirit” seduces your mind and takes you on a dark journey through sound. This is almost an ambient track that calms you, but it also awakens your audible energies with a downtempo style and sporadic, four-count crashes. It is mostly a mood track, and due to its technique, this track is my personal favorite. “The Morning Star” reminds me of The Who and their creativity back in the early ’80s, spliced with today’s technology. The catchy hook and sounds stick with you and are pleasurable as they run through your head throughout the day. “Cold Reading” has more of the stompy, dance-floor club feel. It has higher BPMs that build energy and provoke movement. It is also a great transition song from faster to slower songs or vice versa.

There is something for everyone here, as this release covers many styles of music in our underground genres and subgenres. The Blinding Dark has elements that are experimental, downtempo, ambient, synth-pop and EBM. The varying sound styles, as well as the clearly sung lyrics with minimal effects and strong emotional content, are the reason why it has made my pick of the year. –Mistress Nancy