Following the release of their mammoth Northern Light album, the Swedish trio return with a vengeance for their latest offering. Skyshaper finds Covenant on higher footing with an effective mix of synthesized bliss and grooves that move. The album kicks off with “Ritual Noise,” a foot-stomping beast of epic proportions. Steady beats permeate this gem alongside Eskil’s passionate vocals. It is with good reason that this track was chosen as the first single. Harsh analog programming and revved up BPMs fill “Pulse” with brilliant energy. Although a more simplistic sound design is evident, there are pleasant surprises at every turn. Hypnotic images are conjured up when listening to this one with headphones. Moving past a mediocre track (“Happy Man), “Brave New World” comes in and saves the day: a more laid back piece that can still draw a crowd to the dance floor. Maybe the boys realized their mistake and quickly rushed to the rescue.
“The Men” creeps up next with brutal rhythms and haunting samples. Here we see Covenant excel with vibrant structures and a stellar performance. I can just imagine how amazing this one would sound in a live setting. A more experimental side is explored on “Sweet & Salty,” with its bombastic percussion elements. Eskil limits his vocals to spoken phrases that are loosely scattered about. In spite of this, “Sweet & Salty” works quite well. Extraterrestrial bleeps and deep bass dominate “Greater Than The Sun.” The vocal effects are superb and compliment the musical landscape nicely. The imagination runs wild with this one. This is a sonic journey of the third kind at its best. Soaring atmospheres pop up at the midpoint, before returning the listener to an altered state. The raw “20hz” follows on familiar territory similar to “Pulse.” This paves a treacherous path that leads to the engulfing “Spindrift.” Pulsating beats play alongside eerie sampled voices that raised the hair behind my neck at first listen. I soon found myself drawn to this one like a magnet.
The slower-paced “The World is Growing Loud” provides a smooth closing to this aural adventure. Treat yourself to the varying musical realms of Skyshaper and get hooked.
Metropolis Records: www.metropolis-records.com