COVEN — Witchcraft Destroys Minds and Reap Souls (review)

COVEN — Witchcraft Destroys Minds and Reap Souls album cover Album · 1969 · Proto-Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
I always found this album rather underrated. OK, from a metal standpoint, I should probably give this a two star rating, as it isn't particularly metal. But I enjoy the album still the same. Just because it has Satanic themes doesn't automatically make it metal. But there's two strange coincidences on this album. The bassist is named Oz Osborne, and the opening song is called "Black Sabbath", which has nothing to do with the British band in any way, shape or form (or the song "Black Sabbath" from Sabbath's debut). It's doubtful the Coven album ever made it in the UK, so I can't imagine Ozzy Osbourne owning a copy of Witchcraft Destroys Minds and Reaps Souls. What you have here is psychedelic rock that's not miles away from Jefferson Airplane. Replace hippie themes with a Satanic theme, and that's what you have here. Jinx Dawson sounds something like a more evil Grace Slick. I really like Jinx's voice, and if any of you are wondering, this is the same group, two years later, who scored an AM hit with "One Tin Soldier (The Legend of Billy Jack)". The Witchraft album gets some songwriting help from two members of Aorta, Jim Nyholt, and James Vincent aka Jim Donlinger. It's a bit strange that James Vincent would agree to write material for this album given he's Christian. Anyways, there are many songs I really like here, including "Black Sabbath", "Coven in Charing Cross" (which features some sinister chanting), the jazzy "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge", "Choke, Thirst, Die", and "Wicked Woman". Then at the end you get treated with a Satanic Mass, in which a priest initiates a lady (presumably Jinx Dawson) and I get a kick off how the priest demands, in a very angry tone of voice, to "Kiss the goat".

Like Black Widow's Sacrifice, this album was a center of controversy. A scandalous article in the March 1970 issue of Esquire Magazine called Evil Lurks in California mentions Charles Manson, as well as this album in the same article. Mercury Records aware of this article, not wanting further negative publicity, pulled this album out of circulation.

I guess the reason this band is included here, is much the same Black Widow is included here, the occult themes had a big impact on many metal acts to come even if this isn't particularly metal. And on this album there's that Black Sabbath speculation one can talk about until their face turns blue.

So if you don't mind venturing out of metal, and you fancy the idea of Jefferson Airplane-like psychedelic with a Satanic twist, give this a try.
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