Coven — Witchcraft Destroys Minds and Reaps Souls
(NEVOC 13, 1969/2008, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2006-05-01This is one of the freakiest things I've ever heard — a psychedelic rock recording from the late 60s entirely based on a kind of horror-movie Satanism, including more than thirteen minutes devoted to a Black Mass in which a female supplicant pledges her eternal service to the dark lord, all presented without music (unless you count a bit of chanting). The rest of the recording features nine songs of fairly ordinary rock of its period. There are a few twists, of course, most prominently the lyrics, all of which deal with witches, hell, and the devil. The majority of the lead vocals are by a female singer a little reminiscent of Grace Slick, though less folky. Frequently the backing vocals attempt a kind of Carmina Burana power or break into chanting. It is by turns silly and creepy, and I suppose a superstitious person might have trouble with the subject matter. Mostly I just find myself amazed at the bizarre spectacle, surely one of the oddest things recorded. Or maybe there's a whole underground recording industry catering to Satanic cultists, and this album is their rock talisman. I don't know if all the later devil-obsessed heavy metal bands can really be traced back to this — certainly it predates them, but it may be obscure enough to have been unknown to them.
Related artist(s): Coven
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santan, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more