Covenant - _Nexus Polaris_
(Nuclear Blast, 1998)
by: Pedro Azevedo (8 out of 10)
Dimmu Borgir, Arcturus, Mayhem and even Cradle of Filth -- strong names to mention when one is trying to sell a metal CD, and Covenant allow Nuclear Blast to do just that. The result sounds like a mix of the two Arcturus albums released so far, _Aspera Hiems Symfonia_ and a little bit of _La Masquerade Infernale_: only traces of black metal are left and attempts are made to be innovative while using keyboards in a peculiar way. Throw in the vocal performance of Nagash (who also plays bass here), Hellhammer on drums, Sverd on keyboards, Astennu and Blackheart on guitars and Sarah performing backing chants (giving Nuclear Blast the chance to somewhat questionably mention Cradle of Filth as having participated in this project). Most of what Covenant is about is thus described. This is all fine quality music, highly listenable and with many interesting sequences, but it seems to lack spirit. The music itself, like I said, is very good and even somewhat original (despite being strongly inspired by Arcturus), played by skilled musicians and competently produced, but it just doesn't carry much emotion. Of course, that doesn't ruin the musical enjoyment _Nexus Polaris_ provides, but it prevents the album from reaching inside the listener. For that, and within this style, you should get Solefald's brilliant _The Linear Scaffold_ (see CoC #29) or Limbonic Art's excellent _Moon in the Scorpio_ and _In Abhorrence Dementia_ (CoC #18 and #28) instead. Nevertheless, _Nexus Polaris_ will surely sell more than those three superior albums all together. Still, this album shouldn't disappoint Dimmu Borgir and Arcturus fans, as it is musically worthy of its talented creators.

(article published 13/4/1998)

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