Coven GAL­LEY BEGGAR

THE DOME, LON­DON

Metal Hammer (UK) - - Lives - ALASTAIR RIDDELL

CHICAGO’S OC­CULT SIREN MAKES HER UK DE­BUT

MAK­ING AN ALL-TOO-INFREQUENT ap­pear­ance in Lon­don, Kent folk rock­ers GAL­LEY BEGGAR [8] in­voke the spir­its of Fair­port Con­ven­tion and Pen­tan­gle. Per­haps those aren’t im­me­di­ate names in Ham­mer world but, signed to Rise Above and with al­bums recorded at Toe

Rag (White Stripes/Elec­tric Wiz­ard), there is some­thing that will re­ward the ad­ven­tur­ous metal fan. Blend­ing tra­di­tional folk with splashes of psychedelia – not least on a cover of 17th-cen­tury bal­lad, Let No Man Steal Your Thyme that grad­u­ally builds up to a head-spin­ning cli­max – and guided by Maria O’Don­nell’s yearn­ing vo­cals, they’re a time­less pas­toral trip-out.

Few bands have cre­ated their own mythol­ogy quite so suc­cess­fully as tonight’s head­lin­ers. In the late 60s, Jinx Daw­son and her band laid the foun­da­tions for many of to­day’s oc­cult rock bands with the classic al­bum,

Witch­craft De­stroys Minds And Reaps Souls, which con­tains re­put­edly the first ever recorded black mass – and in­deed the whole metal world has adopted her iconic devil horns hand ges­ture. The pass­ing years have seen Jinx keep the name alive and re­cently res­ur­rected the band with a new line-up, although Jinx her­self seems to evade the rav­ages of time; no one can de­cide if it’s bathing in vir­gins’ blood or she has a por­trait locked away in her at­tic. Ex­pec­ta­tions are high, so can COVEN [6] live up to their name? The dra­matic open­ing with Jinx car­ried on­stage in a cof­fin proves that she still un­der­stands the im­por­tance of psy­chodrama and ritual to the Sa­tanic and the oc­cult. Vis­ually, Coven are stun­ning, how­ever son­i­cally things don’t run so smoothly. In many parts of the room gui­tars are in­audi­ble with cav­ernous re­verb swamp­ing ev­ery­thing. Those stand­ing di­rectly in front of the stage can only hear gui­tars, which are too metal­lic, but noth­ing else. The lineup isn’t even half a dozen gigs old, and whilst there are flashes of great­ness, the band are in need of some bed­ding in. They’re a lit­tle heavy-handed and so the psych soul of Black Sab­bath (yes, it’s the same name but no, they sound noth­ing alike) and The White Witch Of Rose Hall loses its swing, be­com­ing lumpen and some­what flat. Dig­ni­taries Of Hell and the once-shock­ing For Un­law­ful Car­nal Knowl­edge are great songs whose power still re­mains. Blood On The Snow re­tains the power to move but for such a highly an­tic­i­pated event it feels a lit­tle flat. Jinx’s voice, when the sound al­lows it to be heard, still sounds ev­ery bit as im­pas­sioned and soul­ful, but tonight they’re not nearly as groovy and you would have hoped. Not a dis­as­ter but some fine tun­ing is needed to do those classic al­bums proud.

Coven: Jinx Daw­son’s left-hand path fi­nally leads her to Lon­don

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