Gospel of the Witches – Covenant (Aural Music)

Wednesday, 30th October 2019
Rating: 8.5/10

Four years removed from their potent debut in Salem’s Wounds, the Karyn Crisis/Davide Tiso group of Gospel of the Witches has finally come back for more. One of the strongest points of their debut was the unique atmosphere that was conjured up from beginning to end, making for a gripping listen that you couldn’t be sure of where it would go next. While Covenant feels slightly less ‘wild’ in this regard, it still captures that one-of-a-kind atmosphere that made them such a potent act to begin with.

The one glaring point that seems to stick out is that there feels like there is a bit more restraint this time around. There’s not any really brutally heavy moments, even if Karyn Crisis does employ the full-arsenal of her vocal range. Her voice has always been easily identifiable, and she showcases it all in excellent form, from raging screams to delicate cleans (and pretty much everything in between). But with that small reduction in heaviness (the album still is far from a mellow one – check out “Great Mothers”), it does come with a sometimes more dreamy vibe in some songs. Not exactly a joyous dream, but one that draws you in with its curious and slightly eerie nature. The guitars, drumming, and vocals wrap together to often give the music a feeling of a ritual in progress (such as “Dea Iside”), and one that never fails to offer some riveting moments. Likewise, it still has that cinematic flair to it as well, giving the music a larger-than-life feel to it that helps set it further into its own landscape.

Covenant is an enjoyable follow-up to Salem’s Wounds, and offers up a unique experience that metal fans are simply not going to find anywhere else. Tiso’s eerie and attention-grabbing riffwork as well as Crisis’ legendary vocals are a combination that simply oozes creativity. It’s equal parts haunting and otherworldly as it is affecting and beautiful. Hopefully this continues to be a fruitful outlet for the both of them.

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