Covenant: Leaving Babylon

Leaving Babylon is used to exhort Christians to leave the sinful world behind and to refuse to participate in political and social life. I would venture that Covenant meant some other variant of meaning. I will leave the interpretation to the reader/listener.

The title-track comes in two forms. As the first track, it’s roughly three minutes long and opens with indistinct samples as if one were eavesdropping on a newscast, followed by bare-bones percussion one might hear from banging on a trash can lid. Soon a slow-paced cadence supersedes and the title is repeated again and again as a disconsolate mantra. “Leaving Babylon II” is the seventh track and feels like a slow-paced, monotonous 10-minute zombie walk.

“Last dance” picks up the pace and eventually evolves into symphonic, electronic strings and full-throated but grief-stricken vocals. “Thy Kingdom Come” begins with a mournful acoustic guitar then proceeds into a lush melody and dire lyrics sung over a moderately-paced rhythm, providing a showcase for Eskil Simonsson’s uneasy, stressed-out vocals. “Prime Movers,” in ancient and medieval philosophy, is the term that refers to the creator of the universe, and was once employed by Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas as proof for the existence of a god. I can’t say exactly how the title was chosen by Covenant, but this track has a nice galloping pace, combined with a recurring synthetic riff that will pull everyone irresistibly onto the dance floor.

The six-and-a-half minute “Ignorance Is Bliss” starts with an eerie, high-pitched drone of strings hanging over the introduction, with delicate synthesizer notation soon taking over as doleful singing brings it all together. A bridge of jubilant chimes intervenes, then comes a brief, bare-bones, techno-industrial run with simple vocals before the strings, vocals and compelling rhythm rise again in a grand crescendo to which the chimes gloriously return. The effect is an uplifting, emotionally triumphant experience.

“I Walk Slow” begins with Simonsson intimately addressing the listener in pained, troubled whispers, his sad words punctuated by simple, sympathetic guitar strumming and disorienting bursts of static. “Auto (Circulation)” returns to the driving, techno-industrial style that won’t allow the listener to sit still. The final track, “Not To Be Here,” is a lusciously beautiful, romantic, but anguished ode with a wistful narrative of the kind that sometimes motivates those on the dance floor to square off, embrace, and dance two-by-two.

Whether one is looking for classic goth, hardcore industrial, dark themes or uplifting anthems, Covenant have put all these qualities together in their latest, must hear/must have album.

In A Word: Need