Review: Covenant – Modern Ruin

It felt like forever. The interminable wait for the new, oft-delayed Covenant album is over and what we’re left with is…a bit of a mess, frankly.

The Swedish trio behind such electronic classics as Skyshaper and Northern Light was supposed to release this alum over a year ago but delays got in the way. Often, in the film business such repeated delays usually mean the end product is going to be a bit of a dog’s breakfast. Modern Ruin is, sadly, reflective of Covenant’s own morning meal for the family pooch.

There are two predominant musical forces at work here. One is the slightly derivative synth-pop-with-a-darker-edge we’ve seen in earlier work and the other is a we-want-to-be-an-experimental-band-in-the-mold-of-The Normal collection. Neither works all that well though it’s on the latter point that they misfire the most obviously. On a series of experimental electronic instrumentals the boys get their self-indulgent booty a-shakin’. The title track is a noisy drag that tries to evoke an earlier, industrial-tinged era but just comes off as unimaginative and dull; “Node” is a tuneless, mirthless dirge. We understand what they’re attempting to do but it doesn’t work on any level. Even on most of the vocal tracks it forms electronic wallpaper. There’s just so little that rises up from the morass.

There are stand-outs. “Beat the Noise” is a Teutonic wonder of thumping anthemic wonderfulness. The “Beauty and the Grace” is a great little pop tune with some nice sweeping synth washes to lend it an air of real majesty. “Get On” could be any darkwave band on the scene but it is expertly crafted. There are nuggets of cool here even if there’s no obvious “Stalker” or “Bullet” in the picture. Still it’s what isn’t here that dominates the Modern Ruin narrative and it’s too bad because we know how much they are capable of accomplishing. Because we really dig this band, we’re always hopeful for more from this engaging bunch of Swedes and we’re prepared to wait until they get it right again. Hopefully the wait won’t be so long next time as they beat the noise for real.

Listen to: Lightbringer

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2 Responses to “Review: Covenant – Modern Ruin”

  1. Tobias Andreasen Says:

    Actually I like this album much better than “Skyshaper”. I find it quite refreshing. Oh well, we’re all different 🙂

  2. This LP is just a s**t !

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