The Kovenant

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The Kovenant
Kovenant.jpg
The Kovenant in 2010
Background information
Also known as Covenant
Origin Hamar, Norway
Genres Black metal, symphonic black metal, industrial metal (later)
Years active 1993−1999 (as Covenant)
1999−present (as The Kovenant)
Labels Mordgrimm, Nuclear Blast, Hammerheart, Head Not Found
Associated acts Apoptygma Berzerk, Arcturus, Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir, Mayhem, Ram-Zet, Troll, Carpe Tenebrum
Members
Past members (see below)

The Kovenant is a Norwegian black metal band from Oslo/Hamar. The band originally formed as Covenant in 1993, but in 1999 were forced to change their name to The Kovenant due to a dispute with a Swedish electronic band of the same name.[1][2][3][2]

Biography[edit]

The "Covenant" years (1993–1999)[edit]

The band was formed as Covenant in 1993 by two black metal artists known as Nagash and Blackheart. They both met when Blackheart decided to help Nagash with his one-man project Troll. No one seemed to pay attention to them after releasing a demo titled From the Storm of Shadows, but finally a record label, Mordgrimm, took notice of them and released their first album In Times Before the Light in 1997. This album was recorded two years prior in 1995 and established them a fan base in Norway. It sounds similar to Dimmu Borgir's first opus For All Tid. Indeed, Nagash is a long-time friend to the lead vocalist of Dimmu Borgir, Shagrath.[4]

Covenant signed with Nuclear Blast, a major German label dedicated to the hard rock scene, in 1998 and recruited four other members to form an actual band. These people were Astennu (of Dimmu Borgir, Carpe Tenebrum), Sverd (of Arcturus), Sarah Jezebel Deva (of Cradle of Filth and others), and Hellhammer (of Mayhem and others). With these new recruits, they released their second album, Nexus Polaris, which was hugely successful (mainly thanks to Nuclear Blast's promotions) and is largely considered their best album to date by fans. The album also resulted in the band getting a Norwegian Grammy for Best Hard Rock Band and led to Nagash leaving Dimmu Borgir (for which he played bass) in order to concentrate fully on The Kovenant.[5]

Name change and Animatronic era (1999–2002)[edit]

After the release of Nexus Polaris, Sverd, Astennu, and Sarah were fired for what Nagash has said to be "various reasons" in several interviews. Only Nagash, Blackheart, and Hellhammer remained. The band then found themselves being sued by a Swedish band of the same name. The Swedish band argued that they owned the name "Covenant" as they had been known as Covenant before Nagash and Blackheart formed their band. Consequently, they were forced to change their name to The Covenant. Unfortunately, simply adding "The" in front of the name would not suffice, because a Dutch heavy metal band had been named The Covenant since 1988. So they added "The" and also replaced the "C" with a "K" to avoid any future confusions, leading to their permanent name "The Kovenant".[6][7]

In 1999, The Kovenant recorded and released Animatronic, which portrayed a stylistic change to more industrial sound. Soon the band changed their individual stage names to suit their new direction: Nagash became "Lex Icon", Blackheart became "Psy Coma", and Hellhammer became "Von Blomberg". The new album also afforded them another Norwegian Grammy and they gained a new member, Angel, while touring the USA. Although the new sound was frowned upon by some more traditional black metal listeners, the music also inspired other bands such as Black Nocturnal Darkness on their 2002 Xenobite-album.[7]

After the Animatronic tour, Lex and Psy took a break and decided to re-record In Times Before the Light. But Nuclear Blast wanted nothing to do with the album, so they changed labels and released it through Hammerheart Records. A re-release of Nexus Polaris took place as well during 2002.

SETI and the wait for Aria Galactica (2002—)[edit]

In 2002, the band found themselves back in the studio, recording SETI, their fourth album. The full-length release was preceded by a promotional EP SETI Club, and both were issued in 2003. Von Blomberg decided to do more touring and left the band to handle other projects. Two new members were recruited: Küth (of Ram-Zet) on drums and Brat (of Apoptygma Berzerk) on keyboards. They then toured Europe and the USA to promote the album.

Currently the band is working on a DVD and a new album titled Aria Galactica. Lex Icon announced recently that they have 14 pieces written so far. The album will come with a second disc consisting entirely of symphonic renditions of the tracks from the primary disc, which suggests a return to the more symphonic style exhibited by the band on their 1998 album Nexus Polaris.

The following announcement has once been seen at Lex's blog:

On July 31, 2006, Lex decided to stop his blogging due to fans being "know-it-alls" and telling him what he should do with his music. Therefore there will more than likely be no news from him about any Kovenant topics. Psy still maintains his blog, but it is unsure if he will continue blogging as well.

In an interview[8] of August 2007, Psy Coma described Aria Galactica as "technical", with more guitar solos, "much stronger" and different from SETI. The estimated release date would be Christmas (2007). He also denied any relations between Aria Galactica and the DVD, which would be "completely megalomaniac project of making a documentary of [their] entire band history".

In 2007, the band re-released their debut album, entitled In Times before the Light 1995.

In October 2009, The Kovenant were confirmed to be performing their Nexus Polaris album with the original members at the Inferno Festival in Norway, spring of 2010. The Kovenant, along with Mayhem, Finntroll and Taake, were the first four bands to be on the Festival's bill.

In February 2010, Lex revealed on his Myspace page: "Yes, we are working on the new album again. And No, The Kovenant is not disbanded. ... Going according to schedule. Just have to get the business side out of the way. (As in what record company it will be released on etc). And we might start having open try-outs for some new blood in the very near future."[9]

In December 2010, Lex shared "So many things will happen next year... New Troll album, Razor Runner album++, and if the universe doesn't stab us in the back; there shall be a new The Kovenant album. Cold hails from Norway!",[10] showing that the album (and band) have not yet been abandoned.

On October 29, 2011, Nagash did a one-time only performance of their debut album at the Aurora Infernalis III festival in Arnhem, Netherlands.[11] Except for Nagash, no other members of the current incarnation of the band participated.

Band members[edit]

Current members
  • Stian Hinderson (Nagash/Lex Icon) − vocals, bass guitar (1991−present)
  • Amund Svensson (Blackheart/Psy Coma/Pzy-Clone) − guitar (1991−present)
  • Jan Axel Blomberg (Hellhammer/von Blomberg) - drums (1991–2003) (2009–present)
  • Audun Stengel (Angel) - guitar (2000–present)
  • Steinar Sverd Johnsen (Sverd) - keyboards (1998)(2009–present)
Former members

Discography[edit]

Studio albums
EPs
  • SETI Club (2003)
Demos
  • From the Storm of Shadows (demo, 1994)
  • "Promo 1995" (1995)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ravelin, Antti J. "Nexus Polaris review". Allmusic. Retrieved 2011-01-02. 
  2. ^ a b Huey, Steve. "Animatronic review". Allmusic. Retrieved 2011-01-02. 
  3. ^ DaRonco, Mike. "Kovenant biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2011-01-02. 
  4. ^ "The Kovenant Interview". Metalkings.Com. Retrieved 2011-10-06. 
  5. ^ "CoC : The Kovenant - S.E.T.I. : Review". Chroniclesofchaos.com. Retrieved 2011-10-06. 
  6. ^ "The Kovenant Review - The Kovenant". Metrolyrics.com. Retrieved 2011-10-06. 
  7. ^ a b Plunkett, Ryan (2002-09-16). "Review of The Kovenant - In Times Before the Light". Metal Review. Retrieved 2011-10-06. 
  8. ^ Psy Coma interview for The Kovenant Italian Website
  9. ^ "For all those wondering about The Kovenant van Nagash op Myspace". Myspace.com. 2010-02-27. Retrieved 2011-10-06. 
  10. ^ "Nagash | Stream". Myspace.com. 2011-09-28. Retrieved 2011-10-06. 
  11. ^ 'Press release'

External links[edit]