Photo Gallery / Gig Review: COVENANT FESTIVAL II, Night One (Bell Witch, Sheol, Shataan, Randall Collier-Ford, Garotting Deep, and Crooked Mouth) 16 June 2016

Bell Witch at Covenant Festival 2016

Bell Witch at Covenant Festival, 16-18 June 2016

With this week’s gracious shift towards autumnal weather here on the Pacific Northwest coast, now is the ideal time for us to begin revisiting several noteworthy live events of the summer, beginning with the second iteration of Covenant Festival, Vancouver’s premiere celebration of obscure and sinister musical extremes.

Crooked Mouth‘s intimate opening ritual, complete with altar, sage smudge, and ceremonial drumming  transformed the Hindenburg’s blacklighted basement room into a sacred space, evoking an ageless reverence for the natural order, a sentiment which was subsequently echoed or interrogated by successive performers in the cellar’s close confines.

Despite the duo’s reduced lineup (compared to their appearance as a quartet at the inaugural Covenant Festival in 2015), Garotting Deep nevertheless unleashed seething waves of martial percussion, razor-wire guitar, and death metal utterances sonorous enough to stir cthonic forces below the shadowy stage.

Returning to the basement for Randall Collier-Ford‘s set of candlelit dark ambience, an otherwise limitless cosmic void, evoked by laptop and various electronics, was unfortunately disrupted by audio cutouts (a technical difficulty unique to laptop-generated live music, and notoriously difficult to troubleshoot on the fly) but Collier-Ford played on, mostly unfazed and clearly determined to maintain his brand of austere, dark atmospherics.


Randall Collier-Ford’s altar arrangement for dark ambience.

Marking the first performance by a Black Twilight Circle-affiliated act at this year’s festival, Shataan‘s vaguely psychedelic approach to “blackened” music presented a distinctive form of chaotic exaltation, reminiscent of desert rock and perhaps informed by the experimental freakout music of previous eras.

Rather than attempt to describe Sheol‘s relentless death metal steamroller, we proudly present this video excerpt from their Covenant set for your edification:

And, finally, the stark funereal sounds of Seattle’s Bell Witch closed out the first night of Covenant Festival 2016 with sombre finality.

Stay tuned as we continue to process our backlog of summer shows, including Nights Two and Three of Covenant Festival 2016, coming soon…

(Click to enlarge photos)