The final night of this year’s Covenant Festival was a fitting coup de grace to an already historic weekend for extreme music in Vancouver.
Beginning with a hypnotic and utterly heart-crushing set of funeral doom from Temple of Abandonment (whose demo From Outer Spheres…Death is easily en par with other gems of the genre released this year), the calibre and variety of dark material performed throughout the night marks an unprecedented high point for underground events in this city, particularly given its inclusion of generally underrepresented subgenres (i.e. Xiphoid Dementia’s dark industrial soundscapes and John Haughm’s innovative Cascadian atmospherics.)
Auroch never fails to leave decimation in its wake but the showcase of new material elicited transcendent rapture and promises total auditory annihilation upon the release of the band’s forthcoming album Mute Books next month. Hissing’s cavernous roar of sepulchral doom jettisoned all hope in customary fashion and making way for the haunted demonic missives of Spectral Voice and Blood Incantation.
Returning to the aforementioned Xiphoid Dementia, one laments that there are not more dark industrial acts in a city with such an unparalleled history of groundbreaking artists in the genre (i.e. Skinny Puppy and Front Line Assembly); fortunately Seattle resident Egan Budd’s project is in close enough proximity that a repeat visit is a real possibility, as his Covenant set remains a personal high point for this reviewer.
Ascended Dead and Drawn and Quartered dug a deeper pit for the assembled masses with two blistering sets of vile encrusted death, leading to another basement descent for John Haughm’s melancholic psychedelia and captivating visual backdrop. Sadly this also marked the end of our coverage due to logistic constraints but all post-gig reports suggest that Volahn’s closing set was a fitting symphony for the interment of Covenant II.
(Click to enlarge images)