Nine Covens – On The Coming of Light

Nine Covens
On The Coming of Light
Released November 12th, 2012
Black Metal
Released via Candlelight Records

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Nine Covens are a Black Metal band from the UK, a place not known for a particularly vibrant Black Metal scene, despite one or two hidden gems scattered here and there for those with an interest in this particular scene. Are Nine Covens one of those gems? Perhaps. I have yet to listen to their previous effort “…On The Coming of Darkness” in full yet, but I have read mixed reviews and heard enough to gain a general idea of what this band are all about: a more or less traditional, no nonsense Black Metal band with a lot of ideas and interesting lyrical themes. This release feels like a much more straight forward and focussed effort. Gone are the unnecessarily long song titles and now the band are represented by a much more slick piece of album artwork that wouldn’t look entirely out of place on the cover of say – Behemoth’s next release.

By glancing at the album cover and somewhat unconventional song titles, it might be a good guess that this is a band trying to emulate the new wave quasi-religious, occult avant-garde Black Metal, mostly centred on French acts Blut Aus Nord and Deathspell Omega. Well not quite. Whilst I can’t really guess at what half the lyrics are (this is Black Metal after all and the lyrics aren’t entirely discernible), I can tell you that musically this is much closer to the traditional fair that your average Black Metal fan will expect. Aside from a few interesting flourishes here and there, it is a more or less straight forward take on the genre that has been done a thousand times. Every now and then an unorthodox riff will kick in or the vocalist (/s?) will incorporate some deeper vocals more in the style of Death Metal than the typical shrieks – which are done quite well – that are present throughout this album. At its best, it’s quite interesting; at its worst it is boringly average (though it is simply average and never actually bad). A standout track for me was “White Star Acception”, but there is plenty for listeners to find here.

Although played at a fast pace for much of the album, The band do quite a good job of creating an often droning sound that slowly shifts the song forward, lending the songs a feeling of mystery and longing; however very few of the songs cross the five minute mark and the pacing of this album never feels self-indulgent, as a lot of bands that incorporate these droning tremolo riffs tend to do. At times there is a feeling of something more epic and supernatural. This rarely feels like “angry” or “blasphemous” Black Metal on display here, instead it seems to be trying to communicate something much more hypnotic and profound, and I think that for the most part it succeeds in this.

The band have chosen to remain anonymous, letting the music do the talking. It more or less pays off. I am sometimes left wondering if this band might achieve a more noteworthy style if they pushed the boat out a bit more. There are obviously some interesting ideas here and a lot of thought has been put into the crafting of this release, however not all modern Black Metal should be completely unpredictable or avant-garde. Obviously meant as a sequel to …On The Coming of Darkness this is a record defined by confident song writing and interesting themes. Time will tell whether or not this becomes a cherished classic of the genre, but it is certainly one of the more interesting Black Metal releases I have heard from the United Kingdom.

3.6/5

Paul Gibbins

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