This was however the happy fate of the embryonic COVENANT, just like their much admired contemporaries KRAFTWERK and DEPECHE MODE.
The father of one of the founding members nicknamed them ‘The Helsingborg Synthkvintett’ after the town in Sweden, the birthplace of original members Eskil Simonsson, Joakim Montelius and Clas Nachmanson.
The name COVENANT was first used in June 1992 for the initial single ‘Replicant’ which lead to the band’s first record deal and the release of debut album ‘Dreams Of A Cryotank’ in 1994. Shortly after, Clas Nachmanson left and was replaced by Daniel Myer of HAUJOBB who contributed to production and writing as well as live performance. Prolific recording ensued every two years with the release of albums ‘Sequencer’ in 1996, ‘Europa’ in 1998 and in 2000, ‘United States of Mind’. The acclaimed ‘Northern Light’ was released in 2002 and could easily be a greatest hits album with tracks such as ‘Call The Ships To Port’, ‘Bullet’, Prometheus’ and ‘We Stand Alone’.
There was a four year break before album number six ‘Skyshaper’ and it was worth the wait. The stand out track ‘Ritual Noise’ became a mainstay of the band’s live set list. ‘Modern Ruin’ released in 2011 was another masterpiece that included ‘Judge Of My Domain’, ‘World’s Collide’ and the haunting ‘ The Beauty and the Grace’. Daniel Myer departed in 2012 and was replaced by Daniel Jonasson, with Andreas Catjar joining in 2013.
The most recent studio long player ‘Leaving Babylon’ came out the same year and continued to showcase the band’s energetic, rhythmic, electronic sound that swings between melodic synthpop and passionate EBM. Although Joakim decided not to tour, he remains fully involved in COVENANT and acts as an eloquent spokesperson for the band.
For those who ventured out on a cold Tuesday night in Glasgow, a night of hot electronic music at the Classic Grand in the centre of Glasgow did not leave them disappointed. The evening started promisingly with ADVANCE, a local EBM duo comprising of Tom Perrett and Kimberly Copland. Their set included plenty of fast tempo tracks including a great cover of MADONNA’s ‘Frozen’.
Many had come to see the main support act ANALOG ANGEL. Vocalists John Brown and Tracy J Cox had an instant chemistry on stage which soon transferred to the audience who erupted when second track ‘Drive’ began. The band, who also included Ian Ferguson and Del McDonald on keyboards, were certainly having fun on stage and subsequent tracks such as ‘When You Call My Name’ and ‘We Won’t Walk Away’ had the audience singing and dancing. The set also included some impressive drum sequences which enhanced certain tracks and warmed the audience nicely for the main act.
For COVENANT, there was a massive sense of anticipation. It started with the heavy bass lines of ‘Leaving Babylon’ against a backdrop of a dazzling light show that continued throughout the set. Daniel Jonasson and Andreas Catjar squeezed every unique piece of sound from their equipment with the elegantly dressed Eskil Simonsson leading the band and the audience into an impressive two hour set full of old favourites as well as new mixes.
‘Bullet’ had the audience hooked before being followed by ‘I Am’ and ‘Ignorance & Bliss’. After a brand new version of ‘Prime Movers’, the crowd were treated to debut single ‘Replicant’ and another older staple ’20 HZ’. Eskil captivated the audience using every inch of the stage to convey his passion and obvious love of live performance.
Daniel and Andreas were such perfectionists that the show was stopped to adjust sound levels but the crowd were soon jumping once again to classic tracks such as ‘Ritual Noise’, ‘Like Tears In The Rain’, ‘Last Dance’, ‘Call The Ships To Port’ and ‘Get On’ which Eskil declared to be one of his favourite COVENANT tracks.
There was another brief stoppage to present Andreas with a cake and birthday greetings… “Thank you” he muttered before giving an order to “get back to work”. It typified the band’s professionalism and determination to give a good show. Their camaraderie was truly genuine and contagious. The rumoured appearance of traditional Scottish kilts for the encores of ‘Prometheus’ and ‘We Stand Alone’ sadly didn’t materialise, but the show was synth heaven for fans. “Can you feel the passion?” Eskil called… yes we can!0″ /> sadly didn’t materialise, but the show was synth heaven for fans. “Can you feel the passion?” Eskil called… yes we can!
ANALOG ANGEL ‘Trinity’, along with the new single ‘Your Breath’ are available via their Bandcamp
ADVANCE ‘Deus Ex Machina’ is released by Analogue Trash Records
Text by Deb Danahay
Photos by Mark Walker at MNW Visual Communications
20th March 2015