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Coven - Witchcraft Destroys Minds And Reaps Souls CD (album) cover





2.95 | 53 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Coven's satanic debut album from 1969 opens with a song called 'Black Sabbath' and features a bassist called Greg 'Ozz' Osborn. The band is credited by metal historians for introducing the sign of the horns, that hand gesture people make at rock concerts. The artwork in the gatefold sleeve has a picture of a naked woman in a satanic mass. SO.. that's a lot of mojo for sure.

The music itself has nothing to do with heavy metal, this is a proto-prog psychedelic pop record with imaginative lyrics about satanism, witches and the occult. Female fronted by the eccentric Jinx Dawson, it is perhaps best compared to Arthur Brown's debut album. Organ dominated, performed with over-the-top enthusiasm and quite charming, creative and even catchy at times. The album is however plagued by a weak production. It sounds like a full-band live-in-a-studio recording with all its natural flaws; unwanted peaks in vocal volumes, poor mixing of the instruments and some slightly out of pitch instruments and vocal performances. The overall sounds isn't like flat or something, it's just a bit unrefined. On the plus side, this album does sound like a natural performance by an energetic group. Furthermore, when it comes to the compositions, this really is proto-progressive music; the organ-based compositions do remind me a bit of early Genesis. The quality of the songs is also fairly consistent.

The thirteen minute 'Satanic Mass' which concludes the record is precisely that; a staged live recording of a mass in which is a new girl pledges her devotion to Satan. Like a good joke, no need of hearing it twice.

In conclusion; I could not find a single reason as to why this record should not come as recommended to collectors of psychedelic or proto-progressive rock. It has a history, awesome artwork (there's a fine Akarma vinyl reprint) and some actual musicality and lyricism to back it all up. Its just that some of the vocals are a bit harsh on the ears.

friso | 3/5 |


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