ESPEJO DEL DIABLO craft an olde world witchery with “Dos Oraciones”

It is at this time that Covenant Records is proud of unveil the debut demo of Espejo Del Diablo, concisely titled “Dos Oraciones”. Espejo Del Diablo is all at once familiar and unique for us as a label, blending an esoteric dark folk sound with a traditional Latin sound inspired heavily by Buena Vista Social Club, Carlos Puebla, and Victor Jara.

No less steeped in the black magic that weighs a heavy fog on the rest of the projects to emerge from the Covenant Circle, Espejo Del Diablo approaches this sorcery through a different conduit. Relying on intuition, and following an ancestral path, “Dos Oraciones” prays to the daemons that haunt our worlds, reconciles hidden tragedy, and cries out to a beleaguered people, exclaiming “ARISE!”


CROOKED MOUTH descends from the mountains to embark across the sea with “Coastal”

An ever enigmatic character, forging a singular path, living and breathing the land, Crooked Mouth is the contemporary bard we dearly need in our sterile age. Somewhere between the mountains, forests, and sea in a liminal place between places, the sound of Coastal crashes upon the rocks of spiritually-dead modernity to cleanse a moment in time. Open your ears to the next chapter in the journey.

Stand on the beach on a grey morning in the Pacific Northwest, gaze out across the rolling waves, and imagine a sound. Crooked Mouth’s latest is the closest approximation of the melancholic, crisp freedom that exists nowhere else but here.

Replete with the elements as expected: a driving 12 string acoustic backbone, tinkling bells, obscure strings, dense layers, and that unmistakable soaring voice. Although, always one step ahead, the dreary tones on display push the lush darkfolk sound to another level entirely. Folk traditions meet shades of post-industrial darkness colliding with early Sub Pop sensibilities, in an aural tapestry that is quintessentially bound to place.

Always infused with an esoteric nature, the music of Ian Campbell’s Crooked Mouth is the result of an adept balance between the deeply spiritual and the utterly personal. The essence of Coastal takes on an even more internal journey, using the map of the British Columbian wilderness to chart the inner being. A man torn between the light and the dark – not unlike wandering the impenetrable coastal forest.

Recently released by the perennially unique BRAVE MYSTERIES RECORDING CO., Coastal is now available on digital and cassette format.


Covenant Records Premiere

SATURN’S CROSS EP ‘Possession’ unleashed now on Covenant Records – Listen to the full stream

Covenant Records is proud to debut the digital release of Saturn’s Cross EP Possession (CVNNT007). Written and recorded across the winter and spring of this year, the EP represents an enormous step-up in songwriting and production quality from the Vancouver-based musician.

As was the case with 2018’s This Is Going To End In Blood (also available digitally through Covenant Records), all visuals were produced by visionary photographer and film-maker artist Max Montesi, and an intense master was given to the songs by infamous Toronto-based producer and musician Camp.30.

Possession is not easy to penetrate. It takes an honest, galvanizing look at our inescapable flaws and faults in enormous wrong-doing. Drawing as much from a retro 80’s sound as a modern R&B sound, and combining it with intense industrial and ambient elements, Possession is sure to sound unlike anything else you’ll hear this year.


Premiere Spirit

HERUKA unveil sacred, wrathful chants in ode to the realized tāntrik sages with “བརྟུལ་ཞུགས་སྤྱོད་པ་ (Tulzhug Chöpa)”

On this particularly auspicious day, Covenant presents the yet unknown and shadowy entity known as Heruka. While grounded in Kathmandu, Nepal, the project reaches far beyond the limits of the material plane striving towards the greater work at hand. Taking inspiration from the ancient Indo-Tibetan Vajrayāna tradition, Heruka’s demo entitled, བརྟུལ་ཞུགས་སྤྱོད་པ་ (Tulzhug Chöpa), is an ode to the realized tāntrik sages of this specific sacred landscape, whose wisdom minds dwell in the indivisibility of bliss and emptiness.

While seemingly brief, the demo itself contains a potency rarely experienced in wholly realized albums and musical projects all together. At only two tracks, the first “དུས་གསུམ་སངས་ (Dusum Sangye)”, is a ritual ambient hymn sung in the Tibetan language, paying homage to Guru Padmasambhava, an 8th century Indian Mahāsiddha (Great Adept), who is credited with establishing Vajrayāna in Tibet. The second, “བརྟུལ་ཞུགས་སྤྱོད་པ་ (Tulzhug Chöpa)”, is a death/doom and ritual ambient track, which pays homage to the inner and secret aspects of the philosophy, path, unconventional behaviour, and appearance of a realized tāntrik yogin. The track is sung in a mix of Sanskrit, English and Tibetan languages, and it utilizes actual tāntrik ritual implements such as a damaru (hand-held drum), drilbu (ritual bell) and pre-recorded samples of rolmo (‘fierce’ cymbal) and (dung chen) trumpet, which are generally used by practitioners during tāntrik ceremonies in Vajrayāna monasteries or at hermitages. 

First initiated over two years ago, the project’s research work involved an in-depth study of the existing Vajrayāna tradition in the Tibetan lineages that currently thrive in India and Nepal along with a sincere inquiry in its Indic roots. The research work behind the lyrics and ideological concept behind Heruka included a thorough study of different complex aspects of the tradition’s philosophy and soteriology, which was further strengthened after receiving transmissions and teachings from various contemporary Vajrayāna masters hailing from India, Tibet and Bhutan who have meticulously preserved and mastered several outer, inner and secret aspects of the tāntrik path.

We spoke with the figure behind the voice, Padma Vajra. Previously known for his advisory role and vocal contribution to Cult of Fire‘s मृत्यु का तापसी अनुध्यान (Ascetic Meditation of Death) album, the vocalist has since fully immersed himself in research and exploration of the enigmatic Tibetan Vajrayāna tradition and its Indian antecedents.

In the face of flippant misuse of these wisdom traditions in so much modern extreme metal, Padma decided action was needed. “During recent years, it has become somewhat of a trend in the underground metal scene, particularly black metal, to flirt with Eastern mysticism, but unfortunately most acts lack a proper exposure and understanding of the philosophy, soteriology, and symbolism of the myriad traditions, practices and deities that exist in our part of the world,” he states. Padma Vajra is no new comer to metal music nor the spiritual currents of which he delves, he clarifies that “as a student of the Vajrayāna tradition of Tibet, and as someone truly invested in the underground music scene, I felt an urge to create an honest and true-to-the-roots musical project to pay homage to the spirit of the Tantric Buddhist tradition for kindred spirits who are equally interested in the mystical and the obscure.”

Despite its brevity, བརྟུལ་ཞུགས་སྤྱོད་པ་ (Tulzhug Chöpa) represents the culmination of years of research, dedication, and hard work. “A lot of work went behind the research and understanding required for a project dealing with the inner aspects of Vajrayāna,” he says. “It involved visiting Tantric temples, monasteries and power places, understanding Tibetan ritual, academic research, and most importantly meeting authentic Vajrayāna masters in India and Nepal and receiving their precious teachings and blessings.” Padma tells us that the influence of these teachings are leveraged in Heruka’s music to “pay homage to the ‘male’ aspect of Vajrayāna tradition and especially to Guru Padmasambhava, the 8th century Indian Tantric master, who established Vajrayāna in Tibet.” In fact, even this exact unveiling is calculated to infuse even greater potency, as he explains, “the digital release of the demo also coincides with the 10th day of the current Tibetan month, as per its lunar calendar. This date is very special as its connected with Guru Padmasambhava, commonly known as Guru Rinpoche in Tibet and in the Himalayan tradition in general, and broadly the male aspect of Vajrayāna tantra.”

Soon to be released into physical format through SERPENTS HEAD REPRISAL on tape cassette.

The cover art was drawn by Visionis Phosphorescent, paying ode to the Indian style of Vajrayāna sculpture, which was prevalant in the epochal Pala Empire (8th-12th centuries). Vocals and ambient tracks/recording in conjunction with SISTER

Interview Premiere

ANTICHRIST SIEGE MACHINE deliver a blasphemous call to arms with debut new track “Prime Mover” & exclusive interview

True to their name, Virginia black/death duo Antichrist Siege Machine has been carrying out iconoclastic raids upon the metal underground since their 2016 inception. Following several successful campaigns throughout the United States, their 2016 demo, EP Morbid Triumph, and last years Promo MMXVIII, they are now poised to unleash their debut full length album Schism Perpetration. The coming onslaught is due on LP by Stygian Black Hand and CD by Krucyator Production on August 24th.

Today Covenant premieres “Prime Mover” from the aforementioned Schism Perpetration – an album that sees the band exceed previous outputs with a more developed execution and sound, enhancing upon the barbarity of their formative releases.

From their foundation, there has been a singular purpose to Antichrist Siege Machine’s blunt force approach to music. We talk to drummer/vocalist SB about Antichrist Siege Machine’s past, their imminent album, and future strategems.

“ASM has been a project I wanted to form for many years but could not find a like-minded musician to write with. Z moved to Richmond and we immediately started working. We both wanted to create a sound channeling our influences and to bring an aggression not seen as often with modern acts,” states SB.

In addition to seminal bands in multiple destructive genres, he cites witnessing the destruction of surrounding natural resources, a scorn for religion, and the onset of wars as influences. Whilst many of the topics are not limited to specific events and instead focus on the phenomenon, ideas, and principles, they do draw from personal experience and observation. “As far as music influences, we draw from classic death metal, hardcore punk, and industrial music,” he continues. “We revere the progenitors of this genre: Conqueror, Archgoat, Proclamation, and others. For non-musical influences, I draw inspiration from atrocities committed by the Christian church and the onset of war. I work in land conservation and pull many themes from the carnage I see across Appalachia being perpetrated by monopolized power companies.”

Much of ASM’s material wrestles with ideas versus the recounting of specific periods in time. While something could have happened in 1138, it could also occur in 2020 because the mindset is still there. “As for me saying, ‘onset of wars’ I am referring to the moment or spark in which the flames of aggression burn. That moment is what I seek to draw attention to; not the following violence and not the carnage left over, but the catalyst that triggers the action,” SB states. “I can only draw from my personal experiences for ASM and those are somewhat unique at least among those I’ve encountered in aggressive music. Being raised in a highly sheltered environment sowed the seeds of dissension and rebellion much deeper than those of my peers. I grew to loathe the church and all its co-conspirators. ASM has given me a voice to criticize and blaspheme these crimes against humanity. Abuse is something many are forced to reckon with and I challenge the victims to viciously attack their abusers without mercy.”

Their lyrics draw from the themes mentioned with the execution of the music further sustained with inner conflict, aggression and scorn. “The driving forces behind ASM are warfare against Christianity and the triumph of secular will. Lyrics have taken on a deeper meaning as we have progressed. Initially, the drum parts dictated what the vocals would be as I wrote the words to fit within specific parameters,” he clarifies. “The band has refined this process through each release with growing importance, in itself creating the driving force behind the band.” SB also adds that, “now, ASM’s lyrics reflect much of my own inner conflict and aggression.”

Wielding aggression seems to function as an essential tool in ASM’s creative process. “Aggression is absolutely mandatory for ASM songs. We cannot create without it. Writing these songs requires being in a specific state of mind and if both of us are not there, we cannot work on the band.” Cultivating the mind-set to compose, so to speak. SB proclaims that, “it involves isolation and peace to channel it. Physical fitness is a big part of this band. In order to even be able to perform these songs live, I’ve had to adjust my own breathing habits while drumming and learn new techniques. Cardio is paramount.”

It doesn’t take long for SB to elucidate where exactly this eternal source of fury generates. “Through my work, I witness a lot of tragic sights regarding deforestation and destruction of open-space for human defilement. It is difficult to not become enraged at what this part of the country is undergoing.”

Being a two piece has benefited the band with forging their sound, the creative process, and playing live with minimal disadvantages. From this approach they are able to retain control over the vision without compromise, with an agreed singular purpose and organic writing process – further aiding their productivity. Reflecting upon this arrangement SB adds, “to us, the advantages greatly outweigh the limitations. We precisely target the sound ASM requires. Our writing process is fluid. The difficult part is that we are both involved in many other projects and unfortunately cannot practice very often.”

“Many of our songs have been written from the drums,” he mentions. “Z writes proper [stringed] parts to convey the violence inherent in the drumming. The rest of our songs are the result of collaborative efforts. When writing together we typically will create 15-20 minutes of chaos. The songs make themselves apparent and we split them into cohesive attacks.” In terms of taking this hellish sound to the live arena, he clarifies that, “ASM did not begin as an entity that would play live. It was after the large interest garnered with the 2016 demo that we decided to attempt to play the songs live. It took a little while for my body to adjust to drumming and singing, but now it is somewhat second nature. As far as future ambitions, we would like to continue to tour when able to and visit as many countries outside the United States as we can.”

Antichrist Siege Machine’s first album will be out very shortly, and clocking in at 29 minutes of raw barbaric black/death, it is a purposefully concise salvo. During the writing and recording process for Schism Perpetration, the importance of being selective with their material was paramount. “We felt we were able to convey our intention within that span of time. As far as future records are concerned, it will depend on the way we write the material. Much of Schism Perpetration was written in a short time and when we both feel inspired; we try to write as much as we can. We reject much more than we accept as far as songs go. They will be reworked many times before being performed live as ASM has a distinct sound. If a song sounds good to us but does not fit within ASM’s other material, it is often scrapped.”

Our writing process was somewhat protracted because our schedules didn’t permit us to meet as much as we had been able to,” SB recalls. A move that actually could have been a blessing in disguise, allowing the visionary to further delve into the topical inspiration for this release. “Since this album took much longer, much more time was spent constructing the message for Schism Perpetration,” he reveals. “I had the album title in my head two years ago. It came to me when studying the split within the Christian church in the 11th century. Much of the themes of this record have to do with spreading blasphemy and invoking righteous violence for one’s beliefs.

The album was once again recorded with the band’s trusted ally BQ, responsible for harnessing the Antichrist Siege Machine sound thus far. “He recorded Morbid Triumph and our 2018 promo tape. I have worked with him for many years and he understands what ASM is communicating. ZLAL of Heavy Breathing and Predation fame has also been a collaborator on every effort following our demo. He brings a vast knowledge of analog sound equipment and enables us to recreate the aggression of our live performances for the recorded tracks.”

The topic of spiritual zealotry is recurrent through history and as the band alluded to previously, but it is not limited to a specific time or historical circumstance. “Religious extremism is still driving much of the conflict seen in the world. Especially in the Middle East, we know that this violence will not cease in our lifetimes,” he deftly admits. With the growth of secularism within society, we’re genuinely curious if the phenomenon would cease or whether it is inherent to human nature, likely to be supplemented by a whole new beast of delusion. “America has been moving in a secular direction but people are still looking for ideologies to force upon others. I think religion will always be there. It may not be what we call ‘religion’ today, but, throughout time, it has proven to be a shapeshifter used by influential people to dominate the weak-minded. Some need to cling to religion for perceived salvation. Others need an entity to eternally wage warfare against. The duality of these things is what ASM seeks to identify. Without darkness there is no light.”

“I am apocalyptic despair and Utopian hope. I am you, therefore I kill”

Upcoming Shows: 
8/24 Richmond, VA record release show at Wonderland with Abysmal Lord and Vimur  
—–Tour with Bog Body—– 
8/25 Atlanta, GA at 529  
8/26 Gainesville, FL at Durty Nelly’s 
8/27 Charleston, SC at Big Gun 
8/28 Raleigh, NC at The Maywood 
8/30 New York, NY at Union Pool with Impure, Ordeals, and Bog Body



SATURN’S CROSS returns with lo-fi, noir video for “It Has Begun Again”

Covenant inner-circle dark synth act Saturn’s Cross returns after months of silence with a video for the opening track of 2018’s This Is Going To End In Blood. 

Directed by Max Montesi, the flickering, dark video clip features an extension of the shadowy deals, devious encounters, and urban decay that haunt the Saturn’s Cross egregore. A frightening aura of something undoubtedly malign, but hiding in plain sight. Perhaps even alluring …

Released in October with no warning or indication if its coming, This Is Going To End In Blood blends a 80’s synth sensibility with a strong futuristic darkwave feel, enhanced with a contemporary dark R&B production style. The album is available on Saturn’s Cross bandcamp or digitally through Covenant Records.

Directed, edited, and produced by Max Montesi. Staring: Chelsea Black, Culain, and Saturn’s Cross


Covenant Records Premiere

PAULUS conquers inner landscapes with “Illuminate”: Full Album Debut

Revealing great personal artwork cracks oneself open like an alchemical egg. An incubation of creative magick flows forth like a golden yolk, touching those with eyes to see and ears to hear. This bearing of the soul not only transforms the self inexorably, but also presents the raw power to transform others.

And, it is nothing short of transmutation that we find on the 13 tracks comprising Illuminate, the inaugural release from Paulus. The shadowy figure known for works of pure malice and mystical madness (Rites of thy Degringolade, Amphisbaena, Warmarch, ex-Weapon) has torn himself asunder to release an inner light of ascendance. Completely recorded and performed individually, just accept that you are simply unprepared for the potency that awaits on this conduit of spirit! Please, willingly fly too close to this sun and burn up in its holy fire.

Paulus’s personal songbook falls somewhere at the crossroads of ecclesiastical neofolk, raucous chantey, bombastic ode, and operatic hymnal – all with a sensibility never heard in this kind of music before. Any semblance of loaded tradition or style is razed in favour of a completely personal, singular approach. Of course, there is a darkness that weaves its way through the layers of unbridled triumph, touching sentimentality, and joyous defiance more prominently on display. As the shadow side can never be silenced, it is heard loud and clear throughout the entirety of Illuminate.

Above all it is the voice that commands centre attention in this perplexing procession. At times it dramatically and audaciously orates, blasting bewildering operatic lines and declarations; and, at other times, it expresses a depth of inner honesty so rarely heard, especially from a voice so literally rarely heard on recording until now. Each annunciation carries a visceral potency that drives its message directly into the heart like a blade of will.

Paulus’s music will undoubtedly appeal to fans of Death in June, Current 93, and Cult of Youth, but there is a deeper dimension here that simply has never been breached until now. It is a singular sound as such that sets the soul ablaze and immolates doubt and stagnancy. Forget all you know and set thyself free, for the time to act is NOW!

Available now digitally through Covenant Records on all streaming sites and through the Paulus bandcamp page.

Covenant Records Premiere

AOS SI exalt the otherworldly on “Volume I”: Full Album Debut

It is at this interstice that Covenant is proud to release the long awaited first volume of the music of Aos Sí. Concisely titled Volume I, the band has meticulously honed and shaped this release over the last two years.

Featuring music firmly routed in the realms of mythology, dream, and the fantastic, Volume I is an album that explores the worlds that lie beyond the senses, conjuring images of hosts of phantoms, sprawling landscapes, old spells, and other dimensions.

In these 6 songs, totaling 24 minutes, the band takes you on a journey that is filled all at once with whimsical highs, ensnaring lows, and ultimately the triumph of the Hero’s Journey -in which both the adept and the listener are transported in mythic process.

Sayeth vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Culain of the album:

Scrying the roots of our collective Ancestors, Aos Sí’s journey begins in Volume One (V.I) with the experimental weaving of estranged myths, dreams, psychedelic rituals, and our alchemical reality, all flown by and through gripping folk instrumentation and otherworldly voices, to encapsulate an experience of self discovery in the face of the wholly other.

The artistic direction of the album was handled by none other than Mexican legend Arturo Albarran of the Cold Poison Design institute. On top of carefully crafting a brilliant and evocative cover for the record, so too has he pieced together a visually stunning music video for the song ‘Oratio Draconis’.

While the band handled all the recording and mixing of the record themselves, mastering was taken care of by X.T. of Studio Tehom in Montreal, providing a robust, rich, and immersive finish to the songs.

The band will be making their first ever live performance in a collaborative effort with Night Profound at Covenant Festival V in Vancouver.

Aos Sí Volume I is out now digitally on Covenant Records on iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube Music, and of course available on the band’s BandCamp page.



Fall Into Long Nights & Madness: CAMP.30 full album stream

Having risen to notoriety as the producer behind the dark and futuristic r&b/ambient act PLAZA, CAMP.30 quickly gained recognition for his lush and immersive pieces. Songs from their first EP, ‘One’, already had listeners intrigued, but when ‘Shadow’ was released, it became just how clear the level of detail and technicality put in to CAMP.30’s work is.

With PLAZA’s unique and nocturnal aesthetic already feeling distant and impenetrable, CAMP.30 seemed even further hidden; a faceless, nameless director somehow harnessing this ability to effortlessly distill and perfect these lecherous and depraved slabs of r&b. As he has slowly trickled out more presentation of who CAMP.30 is, it has only gotten more intriguing.

Rich with a bizarre aura created largely through outre photographs and grainy footage, filled with covered faces, abandoned houses, and desperate drives through the night, the imagery released wouldn’t seem out of place in a David Lynch film.

Given his known role as one half of the long-running ambient project, North Atlantic Drift, neither the careful and meticulous procedure behind his droning blanket of sound, nor the slow pace at which he was revealing what he had in store came as a surprise.

Slowly, but surely, more and more material surfaced- a photo here, a song-snippet there, an uneasy video- and little by little it became clear that he was gearing up to release his own solo album. The prospect of hearing the same eerie, but satin smooth r&b with no consideration having to be taken over where the vocals would socket in was immediately tempting.

The album is nothing short of a masterclass in detailed production of electronic music. Shifting, warping passages spew out an endless barrage of evocative vignettes, painting pictures of lust and loss, insanity and secrecy. Where we are used to hearing PLAZA’s crystalline voice over CAMP.30’s bouncing snare, this time it’s whirling and incomprehensible voices to come off like lost memories of failure and faint hopes of renewal.

The pace of the album builds perfectly from the catchy but worry inducing ‘Madness’, which sets the correct tone instantly, across simultaneously pitch black but effervescent middle tracks like ‘Heaven So Blue’ and album highlight ‘The Mental Assassin’, the latter of which featuring some unforgettable Spanish guitar which returns as a theme later on. The close of the album delineates the utter feeling of harsh winter and loneliness, distinctly ditching all shreds of hope after the radio-worthy ‘Split’, and plummeting headlong in to the doom-ridden and gloomy closing trifecta of ‘Long Night’, ‘Winter Baby’, and ‘Final Act’. Here we see the aesthetic that CAMP.30 has worked so hard to cultivate best represented. Mesmerizing, long pans of booming synths, inescapable reverb, and subdued drums paint grand vistas of despair. You realize that all hope of conquering and forgetting past shame is gone, and the long night has set in.

It comes as no shock that musically the album picks up where PLAZA’s ‘Shadow’ left off, but now the paths fork. Whereas his material with ‘PLAZA’ is the city; sleepless night and haggered days, licentious indiscretions, and all the strange games we play; and his material with North Atlantic Drift is some lost passage of time; total weightlessness and abandonment of all sense of being; his material here is a a flawless, if incidental, blend of the two sounds: isolation, internal reflection, and a clear hope to forget the past. Crushing, droning, instrumental r&b, with no chance of redemption in sight.


HARROW stream new EP “A Fire In The Mountains” destined to evoke & ignite the spirits of the land

Smoke rises from faraway peaks. The grey sky pours rain on moss, gravel, cedar, and stone. Our hearts are moulded by this landscape. Our souls survive in it.

As forest fires currently wrack and ravage Western Canada, a very timely and touching take on the flames from the peaks and valleys emerges. Serendipity and synchronicity sometimes comes from the strangest sources … Vancouver Island’s Harrow breaks a 3 year silence with A Fire in the Mountains, a meditation on solitude and transcendence recorded in the waning of 2017. Ian Campbell (aka Crooked Mouth) and Jacob Moyer have created an EP that is equal parts frenetic Cascadian black metal and meditative, psychedelic folk. Explosive energy outbursts meet with heartfelt, tranquil campfire song in a fusion indicative of the spirit of the land which wrought it.

Recorded by Campbell in a short live-off-the-floor session, A Fire In the Mountains is certainly the best representation of the band’s live sound captured thus far, and adds new elements like harmonium, cittern, and the poetry of Washington’s David Whyte.

With beautiful artwork by Markus Wolff (Agalloch, Lasher Keen, Antlers) and mastering by Studio Tehom (Gevurah, Night Profound) rounding it out, this release cries Harrow’s return from tops of distant peaks. The fire in the mountains is still burning strong.