Nine Covens – On The Coming Of Darkness

Categories: Reviews
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Published on: August 14, 2011

Do you know what I like about Britain’s Nine Covens? They don’t give a fuck. Who are these guys? Why are they wearing cloaks? The Candlelight Records press release gives us the mysterious “current and former members of some of the key extreme bands from the last decade.” That’s cool; I don’t want to know anyway. Nine Covens, take your black metal supergroup ambiguity and run. WE LIKE IT THIS WAY.

My favorite Nine Covens comment so far: “meh, not that epic for tackling the ever so imposing weakness of mankind from the utmost epic players of the last nine hundread decades of black metal madness.” Ok, I can’t exactly mess with “nine hundread decades.” However, …On The Coming of Darkness is an unassuming, bitingly unfocused landscape of genuine black metal. Much better than I expected (read: elitist).

…On The Coming of Darkness is split into four parts. The first three tracks are part of “On the Resurrection and the Harrowing of Hell.” Despite an unnecessary acoustic lead in, “Concealed in Darkness, He” features Blake Judd-influenced black metal gang vocals. This is great, and much more palatable than some of the cringe-worthy growling that dominates this genre.

Part 2, “On The Ascension and the Torment of Hell,” starts off in a much more traditional vein. Tangible song structure, masterful transitions and solid drumming narrowly save these two tracks from becoming generic black metal and my “next” button. Nothing monumental to speak of here.

“On the Day of Judgment,” the third chapter of …On The Coming of Darkness, is where things get more interesting. “A New Light For The Earth Shall Shine” is a standout track. I don’t know if it’s the guest vocals from Grutle of Enslaved, or the drastic transformation of pace, but “A New Light For The Earth Shall Shine” is a fine example of the somber, austere musicality I love about black metal. This song could be filed under the “depressive” subgenre (I won’t get started), and I wouldn’t mind seeing Nine Covens delving deeper into this elegant bleakness. Thanks Grutle.

Nine Covens wraps it up with an awesome fourth installment, “The Exiles Complaint.” Things get EVIL. Midway through “A Friendless Exile,” the band suddenly shifts into black metal breakdown gear, 1184 style (don’t panic – that doesn’t mean it’s anywhere near the godlike Windir – just listen to “Black New Age).” …On The Coming of Darkness needs more of this, Nine Covens can clearly write music.  The final song, the confusingly titled “A Mind Sorrows Rest,” is another deviation from the first seven tracks. The band displays ADD-like flexibility, and I kind of like it. It’s also the first time vocal effects come into play, although somewhat muddled.

…On The Coming of Darkness is a promising debut from some clearly talented musicians. If you’re a fan of Sargeist, or fellow labelmates Krieg, I definitely recommend this album. Despite sometimes straying into typical black metal convention, there’s something intriguing about …On The Coming of Darkness. The competence and skills are there, and with more originality Nine Covens have serious potential. I’m definitely curious to see what they do next, and, I have to admit, a little curious to find out who the hell is behind those cloaks.

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