Wednesday, 31 March 2021

The Kovenant "SETI" (2003)

Well here is a fascinating band I have sat on for far too long. Becoming a recent obsession again, it is finally time to dive into a peculiar band with an abridging discography spanning their unique transition across the spectrum of Metal. They helped forge a significant portion in the musical landscape of my youth. I discovered them through the CKY movie soundtracks sometime before this albums release. As the forth of four, it is the duo of Lex Icon and Psy Coma's final offering, with the specter of the supposedly fully written, fifth, unreleased record Aria Galactica left in limbo to this day.

For me, this band have never set a foot wrong, with each of the albums living up to its own vision. SETI, however is a notably trendy record, aligning somewhat with the rapidly rising Rammstein sound. Its an Industrial Metal romp rocking strong symphonic and electronic instruments with a mild hangover from their Black Metal days. Its complexity is notably less lavish compared to what came before but in this simplicity a catchy stride is struck.
This brings me to my favorite aspect, each of the songs have character and theme that sets them apart from one another. Embroiled in the post Nu-Metal vibes of that era, the duo seem to have an ear for what makes the downtrodden anthems tick, repackaging them in their spacey, synth heavy take on this popular strand. SETI has a handful of songs I wouldn't blink twice if I heard blaring in the intermissions at Metal festivals and clubs. The reality is a sad one though, these legends are very much overlooked and forgotten having barely toured since this final records release.

The record ebbs and flows between slabs of stomping distortion guitar led groove and melodic counterparts of estranged cyberpunk synth, the songs often finding its climax when they fire on all cylinders. Equally from track to track it alternates with slower anthems. Star By Star, Stillborn Universe, The Perfect End open up with moody singalongs that have something wonderful emanating through the walls of sound. This is a dense record, a barrage of Industrial kit sounds give the meaty sound depth as peculiar key tones drive home its potent melodies. They often pull up a classic old school monster flick spooky synth sound that is just delight to indulge with.

In the madness of thick instrumentation the pair are quite adventurous with the vocals, the best comes when brooding melancholy lyrics from a burly voice. Between it all, a variety of intensities often harking back to harsh Black Metal screams gives the whole record bursts of raw aggression that is fantastic. Early on strong operatic female vocals are worked in like resonate symphonies drawing in more expectant vibes to deliver the massively cosmic and astral tone the music encompasses. Neon would be a keen example of diversity as drawing in Eastern sounds adds to the flavor, somehow making them beautifully alien in the process.

This record potentially has one flaw and that is length. Filling a CD up at a bold sixty seven minutes, many of these numbers crossing the 6 minute mark and seem lengthy with the repetition loaded in song structures. Yet it is not so, these songs are so infectious they hold you in. The weaker cuts do find themselves towards the end however they all give you something unique, speaking of which, it ends on a cover of The Memory Remains. Originally by Metallica, its a rocky cover, not quite finding the groove but when the sing along melody hits, the operatic vocal brings it in wonderfully. All things said, this record is etched into my soul somewhat. I've adored this band for so long and think its a massive shame they are not known of more. Diving back into these records and writing about it will be some good therapeutic fun however!

Rating: 9/10