Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Coven - Blood On The Snow CD (album) cover





2.09 | 22 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

siLLy puPPy
3 stars COVEN returned a bit to its Satanic rock origins of its debut "Witchcraft Destroys Minds & Reaps Souls" as evidenced by the devil playing the violin on the album cover however COVEN's third and final album BLOOD ON THE SNOW which came out in 1974, three years after its self-titled sophomore album only hinted at the occult themes of the 1969 debut which featured a complete recorded black mass along with an a gatefold spread on the original vinyl that featured a weird occult ritual. It seems the band simply invented occult rock and then got cold feet but then wanted to revisit those days without fully committing. The result is that BLOOD ON THE SNOW is a combo of the band's first two albums.

The first obvious different on BLOOD ON THE SNOW comes in the form of a slicker production job courtesty of Shel Talmy who worked with The Who. While the musicians provide the same hard and folk rock instrumentation, the tracks offer a more symphonic backing with all those tricks you can accomplish with a more advanced mixing job. COVEN proved a potential marketability with their cover of the song "One Tin Soldier" which was featured on the film soundtrack for "Billy Jack" and cracked the US top 40 singles hits however despite the attempts to follow in these commercial footsteps however once again the band sounds a bit dated offering a more polished 60s bluesy country rock sound than something contemporary.

Once again the star of the show is the eccentric vocal style of Esther "Jinx" Dawson whose vocal range was impressive. Also guitarist Christopher Neilsen also shares lead vocals resurrecting the flashback to the 60s psychedelic rock of Quicksilver Messenger Service however this time around there's a greater emphasis on the Elton John style piano parts which gets this album tagged as piano rock by some sources. The album also featured a guest saxophonist and a few conga parts. While the album is more focused than the self-titled predecessor, this one also jumps around from pop piano rock to hard rock, blues rock and kitschy over-produced pop. Whereas the previous albums had catchy melodies that you could grasp onto, this one feels more forced however once again nothing is really bad once you adapt to the stylistic shift.

While the musical side of the equation was clearly geared towards marketability, on the lyrics side that's where the band revisited its occult past with bizarre cryptic references and a gatefold spread that featured the the band in full Halloween regalia. The song "Blue Blue Ship" displays lyrics that suggest Dawson has already passed away and is left haunting the world from another realm. Despite the attempt the occult themes, the musical deliveries are more on the jocular side with honky tonk piano rolls, countrified slide guitars, easy on the ears blues rock grooves and Dawson sounding as if she had just enough to drink at a party and having the time of her life. The band seemed to throw caution to the wind following a hit single and in the process lost the gamble in following up the momentum created by spawning a hit.

In many ways this album sounds a lot better than the previous ones. The pop songs are more consistent, there are no lame filler songs (i'm talkin' bout you "Jailhouse Rock") and the musicians seem more confident and competent this time around however on the flip side none of these tracks are as memorable either as the first two albums featured some better songwriting skills that stood out. This one is more formulaic albeit with a much slicker production job. Once again Dawson shows she can do her best Grace Slick turned Janis Joplin at the drop of the hat but this album as with all album only gives one the impression that this band was highly misdirected and had so much more potential than they ever were allowed to capture. If you ask me, COVEN is the perfect example of a talented band that was dumbed down by the record labels to exploit. This is a good album but by no means one of the seminal releases of 1974. In the battle of COVEN vs Satan, looks like COVEN lost.

siLLy puPPy | 3/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this COVEN review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.