|Covenant — Leaving Babylon [Limited Edition] (2013)|
Covenant — Leaving Babylon [Limited Edition]
± Covenant is a Swedish electronic band signed to San Francisco's 21st Circuitry Records. Their music is built around deep, droning tones and thundering rhythms that support dark songs focusing on science fictional and cyberpunk themes, such as "Replicant" and "Painamplifier" from Dreams of a Cryotank. The third recorded band to use the name Covenant, they issued The United States of Mind in early 2000.
Location: Helsingborg, Sweden
Album release: September 10, 2013
Record Label: Metropolis Records/Dependent
Duration: 56:12 + 76:18 => 132:30
01 Leaving Babylon 3:19
02 Prime Movers 4:55
03 For Our Time 4:22
04 Thy Kingdom Come 4:44
05 I Walk Slow 3:04
06 Ignorance & Bliss 6:36
07 Last Dance 6:16
08 Auto (Circulation) 6:42
09 Not To Be Here 6:30
10 Unnamed 9:44
01 Jag är Fullständigt Tung (Feat. Helena Sterlund) 76:18
± Eskil Simonsson — lead vocals, composition, lyrics, production, synths
± Joakim Montelius — lyrics, composition, production, synths, additional vocals
± Andreas Catjar — keyboards, guitar, composition
± Daniel Jonasson — keyboards, composition
± Daniel Myer — programming, composition
± Eskil Simonsson — lead vocals, lead composition, engineering, lyrics, production, synths;
± Joakim Montelius — lead lyrics, composition, production, synths, additional vocals (now writing and working in the studio);
± Andreas Catjar — (live member since 2013);
± Daniel Jonasson — synths (touring member since 2012).
± Clas Nachmanson — engineering, production, synths, additional vocals (left in 2007);
± Daniel Myer — engineering, production, synths, additional vocals (left in 2013)
± With 2011 s Modern Ruin still a fresh memory, Covenant is already back with a brilliant follow-up, entitled Leaving Babylon. Beat-heavy yet introspective, Leaving Babylon is Covenant´s sonic exploration into uncharted emotional waters. It´s the feeling of memory made sound the melancholy of Sweden in the wintertime, the strange beat of electric hearts, and the longing for forgotten parties.
± It’s almost the 20-year anniversary of Covenant’s first album, Dreams of a Cryotank, and since their first-ever publicly released song in 1992, Eskil Simonsson and his crew have made impactful waves in the Electro music community. Their blend of catchy, pulsating synths and melodic ballads has fully showcased the band’s ability to be a complete musical experience. With instantly recognizable tracks such as “Bullet” and “Call the Ships to Port” being a mainstay in Goth and dance clubs, it would seem that Covenant is not going anywhere anytime soon. Their latest effort, Leaving Babylon, is further evidence that their longevity is well-deserved.
± There is something unique about Leaving Babylon despite the fact it’s not drastically different from the typical Covenant formula.
± You have hard driving keyboards and synths with an excellent balance of ambient, minimal harmony. But this album has more drive and oomph equipped to even the slowest and longest songs on the album.
± The second disc of the Limited Edition consists of a 76 minute piece called “Jag är fullständigt tung” with text and vocals by Swedish poet Helena Österlund.
By: Johan Carlsson; Release Magazine; Score: 8
± Covenant have really managed to establish a unique sound, and what’s even more impressive is that they managed to do it already on their first couple of albums. It’s still very evident today, and the successful blend of Eskil Simonsson’s voice, thoughtful lyrics and influences from techno, EBM, trance, pop and experimental music is very much present on “Leaving Babylon”. It’s unmistakably Covenant, and I mean that in a good way.
± The band lineup has changed around a bit though, as Daniel Myer left after “Modern Ruin” to focus on his own projects, even though he has co-written a couple of tracks here. Now co-founder Joakim Montelius is a studio-only member, and live member Daniel Jonasson — member of Dupont, DJ and Stockholm organizer — has joined the band properly, together with Andreas Catjar.
± At first glance you might think that this is just more of the same, but I think the songwriting and lyrics are stronger now than. “Thy Kingdom Come” stands out and is an example of their talent for making epic, sweeping dance tracks with a rousing chorus where Eskil is almost trembling with emotion. The big surprise for me though is the track “Ignorance & Bliss”, which I think could well be a hit if they made a shorter radio version of it. The verse is still very much Covenant, but it totally transforms when the chorus arrives, rebuilding it into a grand pop song somehow both melancholic and uplifting. Other than those we are served both slower and dancier material, all sonically interesting and with intriguing lyrics to boot.
± Some songs are quite old, as far back as from the “Northern Light” era, but to me they all gel together very well, making “Leaving Babylon” a cohesive and strong album. ± There are a lot of new favourites to be found, and presumably many of the darker clubs will deploy several of the songs on here when they want some action on the floor. Let’s hope that the band now stabilizes and continues to bring us their unique vision of electronic music.
± I have graded the standard edition but a special mention has to go to the bonus track “Jag är fullständigt tung” (“I’m completely heavy”) on the second disc of the limited version though. It’s a completely insane spoken word and ambient piece that’s an hour and 16 minutes long. It’s a poem from Helena Österlund that Eskil has treated and put on top of a midnight cityscape and some strings. It’s an ambitious track, and I’m not nearly literate enough to analyze it properly, but I’m pretty certain it will not be one of my most played tracks from “Leaving Babylon”. And that’s probably not the point either. (http://www.releasemagazine.net/)
Written by J. Niggels Uhlenbruch;
Friday, 30 August 2013 18:39
Total: 9.5 / 10
By SEAN M. PALFREY; August 20, 2013:
± "This is a very strong release. The band have shown us their cards and they have a pretty decent hand. But despite the renewed focus, there is still the feeling that they're just holding something back. The songs are – as always — well written, performed, produced and overall a little more mid-paced than we're used to. But they don't really push things as far as they hinted at on the 'Last Dance' EP. Instead they've opted for a slow build and revealed just enough to pique people's interests to see where they take it from here, but more than enough to restore your faith." (excerpt)
± Dreams of a Cryotank (December 1994)
± Sequencer (May 1996; March 1997, 2nd ed.; July 1999, US version)
± Europa (April 1998)
± United States of Mind (February 2000)
± Northern Light (October 2002)
± Skyshaper (March 2006)
± Modern Ruin (January 2011)
± Leaving Babylon (September 2013)
± Synergy (November 2000)
± In Transit (October 2007)
Singles and EPs:
± Figurehead (October 1995)
± Stalker (December 1996)
± Theremin EP (1997)
± Final Man (February 1998)
± Euro EP (October 1998)
± It's Alright (November 1999) A single which was released on vinyl record and limited to 500 copies.
± Tour De Force (December 1999)
± Dead Stars (February 2000)
± Der Leiermann (February 2000) Released simultaneously with the Dead Stars single in Germany.
± Travelogue (February 2000) Included in the United States of Mind box set.
± Call The Ships To Port (August 2002)
± Bullet (January 2003)
± Ritual Noise (January 2006)
± Brave New World (September 2006)
± Lightbringer (feat. Necro Facility) (October 2010)
± Last Dance (June 2013)
± Theremin is an EP released by Covenant in 1997 by the American label 21st Circuitry. It compiled tracks which were, for the most part, previously unavailable in the US. It was re-released by Metropolis in July 1999. Picture: Covenant performing live at Amphi Festival in 2011 / 17 July 2011, 20:48
|Covenant — Leaving Babylon [Limited Edition] (2013)|