By the cover, you might think these guys looked like an evil version of Abba. Covent were a psychedelic rock band whose lyrics and satanic imagery caused a bit of a stir back in the day. The inside cover features a naked woman (similar to the singer Jinx Dawson) with a skull between her legs and the band members hovering over the black mass gesticulating with devil signs. This album WItchcraft: Destroys Minds and Reaps Souls was made in 1969.
To make matters confusing, the band have a bass players whose name genuinely is Oz Osborne. Ironically, the album starts off with a track called "Black Sabbath", which may have gone on to influence the band Black Sabbath, as they renamed themselves at around that time from "Earth" Personally I didn't find the track as inspiring. The satanic type chanting and dark subject matter on tracks like "Coven" and Satanic Mass doesn't do much for me either but is undoubtedly groundbreaking for the era.
The singer's vocals often get compared to Janis Joplin or Grace Slick but the truth is she has her own unique sound and it's a touch deeper than either of those artists, sounds a bit black in her more soulful moments, less hoarse than Janis but powerful.
Accomplished musicians, these guys toured with the likes of The Yardbirds, Alice Cooper and Vanilla Fudge, there's the occasional great guitar solo as in "Choke, Thirst, Die" but for the most part, you feel that they keep it quite under control with their psychedelic jazzy funk.
There are some truly awesome tracks on the album, "For Unlawful Carnage Knowledge", "Wicked Woman" and "Dignitaries of Hell" are my picks. Everything just comes together, really funky guitar player, strong hoarse vocals from Jinx Dawson and great keyboard playing. "Portrait" is also a good track but a much calmer number than the previous 3 raucous.
AllMusic rate the album at 2 stars, and fair enough there are tracks, I'd sooner skip but 2 out of 5 stars doesn't tell the full-story when it comes to three truly fantastic tracks.
There's a poor bootleg version of the album that is selling on Amazon, this is an illegal copy and a matter of controversy. The originals are hard to find but can be sought out through the band's facebook page.