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Covenant (Sweden)
(Joakim Montelius, Eskil Simonsson, Clas Nachmanson)

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"With three critically acclaimed releases already under their belts, Covenant is one of the top names in the electro underground. There are very few electro clubs in the United States that do not feature tracks from Covenant in their weekly rotation. Covenant is one of the most addictive dance acts today, but what makes them special is the undefinable charisma and presence that the band brings to their discs and stage show, much like Bauhaus brought to the gothic scene in the 80's. United States of Mind marks the fourth release from the popular Swedish trio, following closely the recent release of their new smash club single, 'Tour De Force'. United States of Mind carries Covenant's unique mixture of synthpop and driving electro to a new level of perfection, which is certain to make this their best selling release to date and one of the top albums of 2000.

Covenant have, in a surprisingly short period of time, launched themselves into the stratosphere of electro music, having risen high above the heads of other bands with similar interests and musical bents. They have done this through consistently high quality compositions, excellent musicianship, and by continually taking their music on the road and letting all of North America hear and see what they are about. "
-- metropolis-records.com

 Covenant Discography - Album / CD Reviews


*** 1995: Dreams of a Cryotankaudio

"Covenant are combining yesterday's sound wave (industrial) with the modern dance floor craze (techno), and doing a rather nice job of it, actually. They combine a dance-conscious beat with predominantly industrial electronic action and spice it all with a charmingly 80s new wave vocal sound which is delivered by singer Eskil Simonsson in a rather industrial style, yet is relatively unaffected with voice toys. They don't lack their fair share of mood either, but seem to place it throughout Dreams of a Cryotank in bits and pieces rather than murk it into one whole piece. Altogether, Covenant is a refreshing product of the Cyber-Techno scene and will likely prove an instigator in its movement into new arenas."
-- Demian Wright, hallucinet.com/asylem/asylem7/cov2.htm

*** 1996: Sequencer audio

"There's a something of a history behind Covenant's second album. Originally released as 'Sequencer' in May 1996, it was quickly re-released shortly afterwards due to a mastering fault with the track Tabula-Rasa. Curiously, the second issue had a different colour sleeve - making the 250 copies of the first release highly collectable. (The Stalker single was then released at the end of 1996 and became a club hit.) The album was finally re-issued in March 1997 as 'Sequencer [Beta]' with one additional track, Luminal. Interestingly, Luminal was not just tacked onto the end, instead it became the penultimate track. Collectors will undoubtedly want the earlier releases but 'Sequencer [Beta]' definitely wins out in offering value for money. Not just because it has one extra track, but because that extra track is so central to the album as a whole that it is difficult to imagine 'Sequencer' without it. 'Sequencer [Beta]' delivers just what you hope it would after listening to 'Dreams of a Cryotank'. But it improves upon its predecessor on every conceivable level. Production, song writing, lyrics and performance are all vastly superior. It also represents the pinnacle of Covenant's 'hard' sound with heavy percussion and bass lines throughout, all delivered with staggering amounts of deliberate distortion."
-- Rob Dyer, dso.co.uk

*** 1998: Europa
"... filled with danceable combinations of heavy reworked sounds and solid beats.The band prides themselves on their danceable style of music and the clubs play them for that reason. "Europa" varies from song to song by leading with the breakbeat sounds of 'Final Man,' flowing with the softer sounds of "2D," and finishing with an electro dance groove of 'I Am.' Covenant is consistantly pleasing the ears of fans worldwide, and is continuing in that vein with this album."
-- DJ Dysdynia, inmusicwetrust.com, 4/99

***¾ 2000: United States of Mindaudio

"Covenant finally nailed it this time. Their first records just weren't engaging enough to justify their success in the industrial scene. They were about pounding danceable rhythms but not enough melodies. "United States of Mind" is all about suave melodies driven by vivace electro-beats. With influences and similarities ranging from Blancmangeand Cabaret Voltaire, to Kraftwerk and Depeche Mode, Covenant finally established a sound of their own on this album. The opening track, 'Like Tears in Rain', is a sure winner with synthpop and EBM music fans, and so is 'Tour de Force'. 'Dead Stars' is a favorite industrial dancefloor killer."
-- S. Sukkarieh, Musicfolio.com, 8/01

2000: Synergy: Live In Europe

Live performances from the 2000 'Tour De Force' tour accross Europe. Includes most of their hit songs. CD includes also a screensaver.

**** 2002: Northern Light audio

"The gentlemen Joakim, Eskil and Clas constantly try to find new ways to express themselves. However, they always maintain that inimitable Covenant sound. That sound is very much evident on 'Northern Light', but now with much more maturity and emotion. In these times of copycat future pop and EBM bands it feels good to hear music that has been given some thought out and made with care. The album begins with the beeping and bopping Monochrome, which gives a hint of what is to come. Lush strings and Eskil’s voice makes this a good number indeed. The album then moves briskly along with the first single Call the Ships to Port, destined to bring havoc on dance floors the world over for many years. Bullet comes next, and it is the upcoming single complete with a totally awesome video. This is brilliant electronic pop. Invisible and Silent is a warm and cosy slow track, with fantastic strings, choral arrangements and an infectious melody that sees Eskil working with his voice more than ever. Truly marvellous. My favourite from the gig at the Arvika Festival in July, We Stand Alone is a dramatic and riveting experience, also headed for the clubs, but works good at home too. (...) Every track has the finesse and exquisite attention to detail that we have come to expect from these perfectionists, and the song writing is better than ever. Kudos to the producer Jakob Hellner for bringing out the best in the band."
-- Johan Carlsson, releasemagazine.net, 10/02

***¼ 2006: Skyshaper audio

Tracklisting: 01 Ritual Noise 02 Pulse 03 Happy Man 04 Brave New World 05 The Men 06 Sweet and Salty 07 Greater Than The Sun 08 20 Hz 09 Spindrift 10 The World Is Growing Loud.

"... Very dancy and techno-y, but just enough industrial fuzz and dissonance to register it a cut above the other Futurepop cannon fodder out there. Ritual Noise is the lead off track, and also the first single from the album. A futuristic, tribal vibe permeates this one. Perhaps not the catchiest song they've ever done, but passible indeed. I can't help that the lyric "rhythm of time" is a subtle tribute to EBM godfathers Front 242. Pulse is a fairly innocuous song. Nothing stands out too much on this track. Happy Man...wow! Immediately I think of early synthpop stuff, such as Depeche Mode's 'Speak and Spell' album. This sort of retro-sound is pretty popular now, so this wasn't too bad of a move on Covenant's part. The lyrics though? Hah. Simplistic, perhaps to a fault. When you see the title, Brave New World--obviously it's going to bring to mind Alduos Huxley's influential dystopian masterpiece. As far as I can tell, this song has nothing to do with that. But it is a fun little tune! Way too upbeat to have anything to do with something so gloomy. The poppiness continues until we get to Sweet and Salty. A suprisingly ominous EBM spoken word track.
(...) On its own, it is an enjoyable and rewarding album to groove to. Not tremendously deep by any means, but most dance music isn't. The programming is interesting and the vocals are well-done."
-- supercoolnothing.com

***¼ 2011: Modern Ruin audio

Tracklisting: 1. Modern Ruin 2. Lightbringer (ft. Necro Facility) 3. Judge of My Domain 4. Dynamo Clock 5. Kairos 6. The Beauty and the Grace 7. Get On 8. Worlds Collide 9. The Night 10. Beat the Noise 11. The Road

"... It is not a flashy or intrusive album, nothing that would jump at you to grab your intention in no time. This album does need time! For the most part, this album seems to be somewhat withdrawn, cautious, introvert and decidedly non-aggressive. (...) Judge Of My Domain and Dynamo Clock are the two tracks which are closest to classic Covenant club fodder. Stomping beats, Eskil Simonsson’s mesmerising and vivid vocals, dark atmospheres and the catchiness of Covenat’s “Pop with an edge”, as they put it themselves. Both tracks still offer a few new elements and prove that Covenant always have an eye on the most recent trends in electronic music outside the Goth / EBM scene. They still love to experiment, and track number four - Kairos - just proves this. A weird, one-minute short ballad full of atmosphere and with Eskil singing in higher notes than before. Next is probably the most epic song of this album, The Beauty And The Grace. Many will already know it from the ‘Lightbringer’ EP, where it was featured in a remix by new member Daniel Myer. The album version is more like the “full” version, and one of the strongest songs of this new Covenant output. It surprises with something which sounds like an acoustic guitar(!) but Daniel Myer assures that it’s actually a processed piano sound. (...) As good as it is, I’m not quite sure if ‘Modern Ruin’ is the band’s strongest set of songs - simply because long-players like ‘Northern Light’ or ‘Europa’ still rank high in my all-time favourites from any band. Still a pity that If I Would Give My Soul, I Close To Me and Come - the new songs we already know form Covenant’s live shows - are not included on ‘Modern Ruin’."
-- J. "Niggels" Uhlenbruch, reflectionsofdarkness.com, 12/10
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Recommended Links:

The Official covenant web site
Plastiq-Flowers: Covenant
Covenant Forum
 
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