Coven - The Advent

Coven - The Advent

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(EP, Svart Records, 2017)

COVEN is kind of a trivial name for a Metal band but it is still intriguing because it does not hint what the band’s musical identity will be. I mean, it can pretty much fit every Metal genre, so you just have to first rely on the album’s cover artwork and then, of course, to what your ears will tell you after dropping the needle on the spinning wax. In the case of “The Advent”, the cover artwork combined with the fact that COVEN come from Japan were kind of a turn off, since it seemed to be something modern with a Manga twist which falls way far from my cup of tea. Oh man, how wrong was I...

The riff-based intro of “Brave Warriors” made me double-check if I had clicked on the correct audio file because there was some serious guitar attack coming my way. Yeah, this is Japan’s COVEN and their trade is guitar-based NWOBHM, so you can imagine how I was pleasantly surprised. On top of this, the lyrics are in Japanese and contrary to what you may think this is not a turn-off simply because it adds a different taste in the already saturated '80s-nostalgia Metal making and I believe it perfectly represents that country’s Metal identity. The galloping guitar groove has an epic feel which may bring to mind RIOT or even early MANOWAR and this should ring you '80s Metal bell. Of course, one needs to overcome the language barrier since the distinct Japanese accent and articulation may not be for everyone. However, it would be such a same to let this go under your radar simply for such an inconvenience. Think about this as “Karma” brings along some MERCYFUL FATE influences in the rhythm guitars and I will also give credit to the producer for enhancing the live feeling of the recording and for giving the bass its own voice. Ok, the mixing could have being more in favor of the killer guitars by making the vocals a tad less loud but this is strictly a matter of personal taste. You can also find some IRON MAIDEN here especially after the guitar solo where the hi-hat and the faster tempo took my mind over the “Piece Of Mind” days. The faster “Wings Of Glory” with the super-sweet bass and the mood-lifting guitar riff have the term ‘vintage’ written all of over it and an icing on the cake being the catchy chorus (there are some English words) which almost made lip-sing along (and miserably failed). And if you don’t get an IRON MAIDEN flavor of the Paul Di’Anno days during the slow break with the guitar solo, then you should check if your Metal tasting buds are still working... The same goes for the slower “Screams For Tomorrow” which has an almost “Remember Tomorrow” style and awesome-sounding guitar leads / fills. As expected, the song speeds up during its second part with more guitar action and I especially like how the rhythm section stays in the front while the solo takes a step in the back. Again, the epic side in COVEN’s music sneaks up with some perfect-to-chant-along oooooooohs and guitar riffs.

Language aside, I believe COVEN have ticked all the boxes related to NWOBHM with powerful guitars, catchy vocal lines and simple song structures that are still extremely effective. Ok, it will take some adjusting to the Japanese pronunciation and to the fact that you don’t understand what Taka is singing about, but if you are a non-native English speaking metalhead, like I am, then this might remind you of your teenage days when understating the lyrics was a challenge. You see, tapes copied from originals did not have lyric sheets and speaking English came a bit later... Anyway, “The Advent” is definitely on my radar, especially since it will come on vinyl too. Check them out.

8/10 


Links:

www.Coven.Site
www.FaceBook.Com/Coven.Japan
www.Twitter.Com/CovenJapan


Tracklist:

01. Brave Warriors
02. Karma
03. Wings Of Glory
04. Scream For Tomorrow


Lineup:

Akihiro Ito - Guitar
Taka - Vocals