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Coven biography
Formed during the late 60's, Coven is a legendary U.S proto-metal band that captures a variety of approches, combining classic psychedelic tendances with folk vibes and proggy-doom-goth accents. Heavy and catchy this musical odissey includes Kinx Dawson's absolutely gorgeous, groovy, sensual and sometimes agressive, demonic hard rockin' vocals. In touch with the occult, black magic and esoteric practices, the atmosphere of their first classic called Witchcraft destroys mind and reaps soul (1969) is ritualistic, austere but also majestic and beautifuly melodic at the same time. In 1970 their recorded their second album that is also really enjoyable despite that it sounds less challenging and less pioneering than their first. The band is dissolved in 1974. In 2007, Jinx Dawson announced the re-formation of the band. They recorded new materials published for the album Metal Goth Queen-Out of the Vault (2008). An important contribution in the developpement of prog rock's heavy side. A classic proto-prog band next to Ultimate Spinach, Arthur Brown's crazy world, H.P Lovecraft (...)

- Witchcraft Destroys Minds And Reaps Souls (1969)
- Coven (1972)
- Blood On The Snow (1974)
- Metal Goth Queen~Out of the Vault (2008)

: : : Philippe Blache, FRANCE : : :

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Witchcraft Destroys Minds & Reap SoulsWitchcraft Destroys Minds & Reap Souls
Akarma 2013
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Blessed Is the BlackBlessed Is the Black
Restless Records 1993
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COVEN discography

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COVEN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.65 | 38 ratings
Witchcraft Destroys Minds And Reaps Souls
2.29 | 9 ratings
1.49 | 11 ratings
Blood on the Snow
3.67 | 3 ratings

COVEN Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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COVEN Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Metal Goth Queen: Out of the Vault 1976-2007
0.00 | 0 ratings
40 Years of Hell

COVEN Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

COVEN Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Witchcraft Destroys Minds And Reaps Souls by COVEN album cover Studio Album, 1969
2.65 | 38 ratings

Witchcraft Destroys Minds And Reaps Souls
Coven Proto-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The decision to include a 13 minute spoken word rendition of a "Satanic Mass" (blatantly play- acted and cobbled together from diverse sources, including Anton LaVey's own tedious brand of commercialised Hollywood Satanism and Dennis Wheatley novels) perhaps overshadows any other aspect of Coven's debut album. The fact is that whilst its inclusion was controversial enough at the time to get some temporary publicity for the band, the album's reputation has suffered in retrospect for the inclusion of 13 minutes of embarrassing and often tedious Satanic ritual which goes absolutely nowhere.

It's a crying shame, because if you actually ignore the last track there's some solid psychedelic rock with progressive moments on this album. Thematically more reminiscent of Dennis Wheatley and Hammer Horror movies than anything more sinister, the tame Satanism offered here would look wimpy next to even the (still quite cartoonish) antics of Venom or Mercyful Fate in the 1980s, let alone the extremes the black metal scene would reach in the 1990s, but it does offer a precedent for acts such as Blood Ceremony, Uncle Acid and even Electric Wizard, with Blood Ceremony in particular coming close to the Coven sound in their more psychedelic moments. But at the same time, we can't pretend that the band didn't offer up an album with an unforgivably high proportion of filler in the form of the Mass. Three stars seems fair.

 Blood on the Snow by COVEN album cover Studio Album, 1974
1.49 | 11 ratings

Blood on the Snow
Coven Proto-Prog

Review by VOTOMS

1 stars Horrible. I'm not deep into this band, I don't listen to their albums, but I tried once the three releases and this one is the worst, I have found nothing new here. And I prefer the Goblin logo than this ugly album cover.

Coven was a pseudo wicca/satanic/evil band. They are from the 60s, their bassist was called Oz Osbourn and they have a song called Black Sabbath. Kinx Dawson was a great vocalist, and she was gorgeous. But this is their third release. Nothing new. Nothing more than a poor hard rock album. The mixing of the album is too damn bad. The piano, saxophone and strings doesn't fit. The best song is the title track, because it's the shortest torture. It's a bad addition to their own discography, I don't need this, and you don't need this too.

 Witchcraft Destroys Minds And Reaps Souls by COVEN album cover Studio Album, 1969
2.65 | 38 ratings

Witchcraft Destroys Minds And Reaps Souls
Coven Proto-Prog

Review by GruvanDahlman
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I guess that most people find satanism to be more in tune with pure metal, black or whatever, but I have always been of the opinion that the most chilling tales of satanic (or otherwise) rites, the occult (in general) and the supernatural comes more to the fore when the music is rather gentle and nice than screaming and thumping around like a norwegian black metal band. Who's to say that the Devil doesn't like his music to be relaxing?

It comes across less forced and more natural, as if all the mumbo jumbo is genuine beliefs, when the music speaks of all the good things (if there are any) with the Devil. Nice, gentle songs. That is the scariest stuff. Black Widow is such a band, Coven is another. If it is metal I am not hearing it, hard rock maybe but certainly some kind of proggish pop and rock with just a hint of folk.

The singer is crazy and her vocals are furious. Behind the blonde beauty lies Hell and she holds the key, I'll tell you. All the songs on the album are nice tunes with good enough lyrics. "White witch of Rose Hall" being my favorite, alongside "Pact with Lucifer". The so-called "Satanic mass" is maybe a track you listen to one time, I have not managed to do even that. I guess it is on there more as a novelty than anything else. On the other hand you have to realise that there was some sort of satanic music movement on the prowl, at least groups dabbling in the occult albeit dressed up in fany hippie clothes and flowers on their heads. Self t proclaimed satanists performing mock sacrifice on stage (like Black Widow) were (maybe) just out for the publicity, like so many other artists and groups before and after, but it seemed real and by that kind of scary.

Coven's first album is quite good. I would not hail it as a masterpiece, though by no means bad. It is rather solid, musically, but comes across these days as more of a novelty act than the real deal. On the other hand this outfit seems, even today, to be more scary and unpredictable than, say, Gorgoroth or Root. These boys and girls were in it for real, as it seems, and who knows, maybe there were a few apparitions gathering at the gigs, staring from the other side...

 Witchcraft Destroys Minds And Reaps Souls by COVEN album cover Studio Album, 1969
2.65 | 38 ratings

Witchcraft Destroys Minds And Reaps Souls
Coven Proto-Prog

Review by Progfan97402

4 stars This album really gets a bad rap. People who want to hear Satanic rock wish it to be metal, on the lines of Black Sabbath, and that's not what they get here. Some can't stand Jinx Dawson's singing, but I have no trouble with her voice. I expected her voice to be like that, with that evil, wicked tone you come to expect with music with such themes. My interest in Satanic rock are non-metal acts. Dr. Z's Three Parts to My Soul, the Jacula albums, Black Widow's Sacrifice, and the two songs Beggars Opera did on their Pathfinder album, "The Witch" and "Madame Doubtfire", for example. And Coven is right up my alley. They also happened to be the only American band I know of doing non-metal Satanic rock. Witchcraft Destroys Minds and Reaps Souls is much like Black Widow's Sacrifice as they're both cited as early black metal albums, or even black metal pioneers. I don't notice anything metal about these acts (besides the fact many real metal acts picked up on the Satanic theme), any more than Dr. Z, Jacula, and Beggars Opera, and no one ever calls them metal.

On the other hand, I find Witchcraft Destroys Souls to be a tremendously underrated album. Yes, it's not too far off to think of them as a Satanic Jefferson Airplane. Probably because they use late '60s psychedelia as their platform and a female vocalist, but while Grace Slick seems to be such an easy comparison, I more think she reminds me of Catapilla's Anna Meek. Some of the music does have early prog leanings, but might be too psych for progheads. Highlights for me include "Black Sabbath", "Coven in Charing Cross", and "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge". "Coven in Charing Cross" also features some chanting that got me thinking of "Seven Bowls" off Aphrodite's Child's 666. "Satanic Mass" is not a song, but a Satanic initiation ritual. I was laughing when the priest yelled at the young lady (presumably Jinx Dawson herself) in the most angry and demanding tone you can imagine, "Kiss the goat!" The actual music, to me, is actually a great collection of psychedelia with early prog trappings. If you enjoy Black Widow's Sacrifice and also the music of Jefferson Airplane, this is more up your alley, than if you were expecting something like Sabbath.

Frank Zappa's 1971 movie 200 Motels featured an animated clip called "Dental Hygiene Dilemma" in which Jeff (Jeff Simmons) wanted to quit the comedy group (The Mothers) and how he wanted to be heavy, like Grand Funk, Black Sabbath, or Coven. I really laughed at that, since it's only Sabbath one can actually call heavy. Not to mention this was more or less the same group who by that time scored a hit with "One Tin Soldier" which sounded more like AM radio fare (the band had to change after the backlash of Witchcraft).

It's been said about eerie similarities to Black Sabbath. Coven's bassist was named Oz Osborne. But he's not Ozzy Osbourne, despite similar names. Coven recorded a song called "Black Sabbath", but is hardly the same song Sabbath recorded on their debut. Plus Witchcraft Destroys Minds was never released in the UK, so we can speculate the coincidences until our face turns blue.

Also interesting to note two members of Aorta, Jim Donlinger and Jim Nyeholt appeared on the album. What puzzles me is how did Jim Donlinger (James Vincent) agreed to play and even write for this album? He was openly Christian, so that's ever more puzzling. The March 1970 issue of Esquire Magazine had an article called "Evil Lurks in California" which apparently featured a picture of Charles Manson holding a copy of this album, which Mercury didn't want a backlash and quickly deleted it. Original LPs have became a rare collector's item, I was in rather shock to find a copy at a local Eugene, Oregon record store, so I bought a copy and glad I did!

I know many people won't like this album, but I do, so I won't hesitate to give it a four star rating.

 Witchcraft Destroys Minds And Reaps Souls by COVEN album cover Studio Album, 1969
2.65 | 38 ratings

Witchcraft Destroys Minds And Reaps Souls
Coven Proto-Prog

Review by AdamHearst

2 stars This is a strange little novelty record. The music is actually not bad: it's basically folky psychedelic rock similar to Jefferson Airplane. The songs feature campy lyrics about Satanism, witchcraft, and the occult; I happen to enjoy music with that sort of aesthetic, and i find the far-out, over-the-top-evil lyrics quite enjoyable, amusing, and entertaining (in a Hammer Horror sort of way).

Jinx Dawson has a really good voice but she over-pronounces words like Eartha Kit and uses a super-exaggerated vibrato which can get annoying fast. The songs are theatrical but simple folk and blues based acid rock.

This is far from essential material for Prog fans, or anyone else for that matter... but I like it's quirky atmosphere and, as i said, some of the music is pretty good (especially the songs 'Black Sabbath', 'White Witch of Rose Hall' and 'Portrait') but it's mostly forgettable... and the 'Satanic Mass' track is just about the biggest waste of tape i've ever heard. I would only recommend this to 60's-and-70's B-Horror movie fanatics looking for a musical equivalent... and maybe Jefferson Airplane fans.

 Coven by COVEN album cover Studio Album, 1972
2.29 | 9 ratings

Coven Proto-Prog

Review by Epignosis
Special Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

2 stars Coven all but ditched their Satanic image for an almost equally frightening commercial approach. The sound is close to acts such as Elton John, Carly Simon, Fleetwood Mac, Led Zeppelin, Three Dog Night, Bachman-Turner Overdrive and even Lynyrd Skynyrd. This is to say that while what is here is good pop music (even if second-rate most of the time), it bears no relation to progressive rock. Sadly, it is the best thing to come from Coven.

"Nightingale" Simple, the first song is pleasant enough. Jinx Dawson's vocals are clearer and more dynamic than they were on their debut. The piano is lovely enough, and the overall musicianship is decent, if somewhat uninspired.

"Shooting Star" Song number two is a barrelhouse rock song with thumping bass and a rock and roll piano holding it all together.

"Natural Love" The third song floats somewhere between funk and blues, with a solid bass groove and interesting riffs, but an otherwise basic structure. Dawson does some high-pitched screeching just before the guitar solo for no apparent reason.

"What Can I Get Out of You" One of the best songs on the album, this one has a good bass groove and more intriguing instrumentation, moving between soft sections of harpsichord and more barrelhouse rock. The male vocalist is more pleasant than Dawson here, as she does quite a bit more screeching, but the counterpoint at the end and the acoustic closing are a highlight of the album.

"Dark Day in Chinatown" Also a fairly funk-like song, with the bass and guitar working together on the riffs, here is something that isn't disappointing, but also rather plain.

"Jailhouse Rock" Coven gives this Elvis Presley classic nothing new to speak of except pretty good lead guitar; other than that, it's really rather bland and probably shouldn't have been included, especially with all of Dawson's unwarranted screeching and vocalizing.

"Lonely Lover" This sounds exactly like a cross between Led Zeppelin and Lynyrd Skynyrd, employing a catchy main riff and hammered-out piano chords.

"I Guess It's a Beautiful Day Today" This shows the softer side of Coven, fluttering between pop-rock and country music, actually sounding a lot like Three Dog Night. Honestly, when viewed in that light, it's a satisfying song with a great refrain. This is probably my favorite Coven song (which isn't saying much, I realize, but one can take that for what it is).

"Washroom Wonder" Perhaps an attempt to inject a little humor into the album, this piano-based song begins with the sound of a flushed toilet. It boasts some fairly raunchy lyrics. Musically, it's very similar to Bachman-Turner Overdrive's hit, "Takin' Care of Business."

"Nobody's Leavin' Here Tonight" Despite it's fast tempo, this song remains uninteresting. The lyrics are lame, as is the "hardcore" singing by the male vocalist. The electric guitar solo is quite good, however.

"One Tin Soldier (The Legend of Billy Jack)" Perhaps Coven's most famous effort, the last song on the album has a fun and delightful melody, and the overall sound makes me think of Renaissance's "Carpet of the Sun," released a year earlier. In my opinion, it's probably their second-best song.

 Blood on the Snow by COVEN album cover Studio Album, 1974
1.49 | 11 ratings

Blood on the Snow
Coven Proto-Prog

Review by Epignosis
Special Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

1 stars Coven's third album (like the second) is one I suspect would make fans of the first album cringe. Despite the album's artwork (which I have vividly remembered since the first time I spied it among my parents' record collection), it is conventional pop-rock with little experimentation. It's decent to listen or dance to, but bears little, if any, relation to progressive rock.

"Don't Call Me" A straight-ahead rock and roll number kicks this album off. The rockier sections are bridged by a piano part with vocals that are mixed very poorly.

"This Song's for All You Children" This is typical straightforward 1970s rock fare- it honestly sounds a good bit like Carly Simon.

"Lady O" Coven gives a song replete with pop-country music sensibilities. This music sounds like something that would be right at home on The Lawrence Welk Show.

"Blue Blue Ships" Lovely piano and violin introduce this unassuming song. The overall instrumentation is pleasant. There is a rocking part in the middle with some distorted vocals and a pretty good guitar solo through a wah peda; that whole part is muddy, like the band pulled a teenager off the street to mix it. The song ends interestingly enough, with a delayed vocal and a nice build.

"I Need a Hundred of You" Strings and piano begin this one, and soon the band gets back into the straightforward pop-rock delivery. The guitar solo is gritty but satisfying.

"Hide Your Daughters" Dawson briefly steps in the background, with a male taking lead vocals on the some of the verses for this one. This time, the band possesses a popular Fleetwood Mac sound. The lengthier number is dominated with piano and crunchy electric guitar.

"Lost Without a Trace" For little over a minute, "Lost Without a Trace" provides the listener with a hauntingly pleasant bit of music before becoming slightly heavier. There's a lengthy guitar solo during the second half over the main chords, with Dawson vocalizing over it some.

"Easy Evil" Yet another bouncy song with terrible mixing, this one features somewhat Latin percussion and a loud saxophone.

"Blood on the Snow" The title track is the shortest one, just a second over two minutes. There are lyrics, but it's main function is to give the lead guitarist the opportunity to jam, since apparently there was no such place elsewhere on the album.

 Witchcraft Destroys Minds And Reaps Souls by COVEN album cover Studio Album, 1969
2.65 | 38 ratings

Witchcraft Destroys Minds And Reaps Souls
Coven Proto-Prog

Review by Epignosis
Special Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

1 stars Coven was a band that laid the foundation for future doom-ridden acts that bathed their music in devilish imagery. They are credited as being the first rock act to use the horned hand salute and the inverted cross in their photographs. The inside photograph was of the band in satanic garb performing a black mass, with a young woman completely nude on the altar (not Dawson, incidentally, who felt she was too overweight- I suppose Dawson was just too modest to lie naked on a satanic altar with a golden chalice covering her pubic region). Anton LaVey himself had Coven performing as something of an in-house band for the Church of Satan in California even. Christian conservatives at the time sought to prove rock music was rife with messages of the occult, looking at techniques such as backmasking for hidden messages. There are no hidden messages or secrets here- devil worship is the key element throughout the entire album. Thirteen minutes and fifteen seconds of the album are not music, but audio of a devil-worshiping session. As for that which is actual music, I find it fairly pleasing, but the constant occultist lyrics seem juvenile and sometimes downright laughable. Jinx Dawson possesses a voice similar to Grace Slick, almost exaggerating her idiosyncrasies, and the overall sound is indeed comparable to Jefferson Airplane. There has been discussions and interviews about whether or not Black Sabbath copied Coven (since, interestingly enough, the bass player's name was Oz Osbourne and the first song on the debut album is entitled "Black Sabbath").

"Black Sabbath" The first song on this dark album features a pleasant jazzy introduction that eventually gives way to a heavier edge. Rather than give the song a spooky, sinister feel, the layers of voices only serve to annoy me. The guitar playing is overall decent. There is some cacophonic business to conclude the song.

"White Witch of Rose Hall" Second up is a jaunty number with bouncing bass and a roadhouse-like piano. Despite the bluesy, almost countrified music, the lyrics regard the mysterious character of Annie Palmer. There is a 1928 novel by H.G. de Lisser regarding the same subject.

"Coven in Charing Cross" With lyrics describing a demon-summoning ritual (along with mentioning the drinking of infant's blood) and some droning chanting, the concept overwhelms what is otherwise good music. The music even stops during the chant. Dawson vocalizes loudly over the guitar solo in the end.

"For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge" Obviously entitled after a variant of the popular canard regarding the original of a certain expletive, this song features some distorted guitar and rapid organ chords. As with other songs, the vocal harmonies are not harmonically pleasing.

"Pact with Lucifer" The music here is close to what a lot of popular blues-rock bands were doing at the time (this one reminds me of The Doors a bit). Dawson's vocals are all over the place and are raspier than ever.

"Choke, Thirst, Die" This one has some pleasant although bland music. The guitar work is quite good, running through various blues riffs, but again, Dawson feels the need to shriek over the guitarist's work, effectively ruining it.

"Wicked Woman" The second shortest track has a fairly basic structure but for a few interesting variations. At last, the guitarist gets an uninhibited chance to show his stuff.

"Dignitaries of Hell" Utilizing heavy tom work and several accents, this is the most drum-dominated song on the album. The singing about Satan and hell and all that sound out of place over such upbeat music, especially over those major chords. The guitar playing is tastier than anywhere else though.

"Portrait" The shortest song is a shadowy, more psychedelic one. The guitar is more subdued than on other tracks, allowing the bass to stand out, and the organ also achieves a bit more presence. Again, the lyrics are about Satan.

"Satanic Mass" Had I been inclined to have purchased this album without much knowledge of it, I would have been sorely disappointed. What seems to be the epic of the album is the band's attempt at recreating an actual Satanic mass. It begins with the tolling of a bell, but everything after that is chanting, preaching, the initiation of a neophyte, and a benediction. They chant The Lord's Prayer backwards. The leader says things like, "Are you prepared to serve our Lord Satan with your whole mind, body and soul, permitting nothing to deter you from the furtherance of his work?" and "I deny Jesus Christ the deceiver." The band pulled from numerous sources, including French miracle plays like "Le Miracle de Théophile," wherein one of the players sells his soul to the Devil. Much of the English dialogue was taken verbatim from Dennis Wheatley's occult novel, The Satanist. They also borrowed from Grillot de Givry's Witchcraft, Magic and Alchemy. I've heard it once- I won't hear this foolishness twice.

Thanks to Philippe Blache for the artist addition.

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