Tokyo-based outfit Coven are an absolute joy to behold. Formed with the expressed intention of producing a ‘new wave of Japanese language British heavy metal’, they’ve come up with one of the most enjoyably marvellous twenty minutes of music you’ll hear all year.
Harking back to the early eighties glory days of bands like Loudness and Earthshaker, tracks like Brave Warriors, whilst undoubtedly offering nothing new to the world, still deliver a thrill-a-minute, power packed trip back in time to a world where Japanese bands were truly an exotic addition to the worldwide metal family. Japanese bands shamelessly aped their Western heroes then, too, notwithstanding the fact that musically they were often very much better than the bands they were paying homage to.
Today, not much is different; Karma has a real Mercyful Fate vibe going on, raw, chugging guitars and simple yet effective drumming backing up bassist Taka’s Minoru Niiharaesque vocals, bringing to mind Loudness faves like Esper and Crazy Doctor; Wings of Glory is more melodic yet still possesses some glorious riffage from Akihiro Ito and a real swing thanks to a sadly-unnamed drummer. The solo section is pure Killers-era Iron Maiden and won’t fail to have you out of your seat and bouncing round the room in unabashed abandon at the gloriousness your ears are encountering.
Final track Scream for Tomorrow is a plucky stab at power balladry and starts creakily, before the band sensibly decide to ditch the ballad-part and get on with the power. Some more sublime harmony guitar playing ensues, and the song’s uptempo instrumental denouement – though completely predictable – will have you up and about again, shit-eating grin plastered all over your slavering lips as you join in with the Maidenesque whoah-oh-ohs as the band speed headlong to the end of the track.
Exhilarating stuff, and quite possibly the best release of it’s kind we’ll hear all year. Now, can we have a full length album soon, lads?
Coven will release The Advent through Svart Records on September 29th.