Evil Dr. Smith : For all you industrial Scandinavian Star Trek-blackies I like to start with this warning: no, this ain't the Norwegian sci-fi post-black metal band The Covenant (or The Kovenant), nor is this the Swedish electro-industrial of Covenant. This is the gloom 'n' grunge of the Amsterdam-based The (real) Covenant. There were three things I thought about this band
- They were a mediocre gothic rock band.
- They had a lousy singer.
- The band died many years ago.
I was three times wrong. The band never folded, although the last couple of years they only played a couple of shows each year. This album is their sixth, but it took them no less then ten years (!) after the fifth album. They never played gothic rock, so I really have no clue why I thought of that. Sometimes prejudices are unexplainable. They do play some gloomy kind of hard rocking grunge, but it's to energetic to be filed under gothic. The band's energy resembles more like bands as The Cult, Danzig, Masters Of Reality, Soundgarden and above all The New Model Army. Then we have the singer, who also wrote and composed all the music and lyrics. Well, you can say a lot of things about this Frank van der Reep, but not that he isn't a good singer! Just check him out on the YouTube clip here below, where he gave an astonishing performance on some kind of crappy festival. Brilliant! He sounds a bit like Joe Cocker in his best (read: hoarse boozer) days. He even looks a bit like him. The studio version of this song, the title track, can't compete with this live version, but the firm rock music is certainly a present surprise. What was I thinking all those years? Especially 'Chasing Her Down' is beautiful, where Frank does an impressive imitation of the Mark Lanegan's dark timbre.
Due to some guests (for instance some female singers like Frank's wife in the lovely 'So Easy' and the Asko-Schönberg Ensemble in 'Sue Me') the band is able to give their rock music more depth. Just like their old albums, the DIY-mentality is omnipresent. It's released on their own label (Dutch & Dregs), they recorded, mixed and produced it all by themselves, and only Q-Point Mastering did the mastering. The rock music sounds sincere and genuine, but to be honest: not truly remarkable, just very pleasant. It's only a pity that the rather short album (35 minutes) ends with the corny indie pop song 'The Worry Song' ('Don't You Worry'), because it sounds silly, stupid and tedious. Nevertheless it's still a lot more entertaining than that utterly annoying happy song of Bobby McFerrin.