Friday, May 9, 2014

Coven - Witchcraft : Destroys Minds & Reaps Souls

This post goes out to Mike Preston and Mark Sandwell - the only two guys in the collecting scene who would even remotely appreciate this!

I can say without any doubt that this is one of the odder purchases I have ever made. I have wanted this album for years, but purely as a curiosity. Since elementary school, the music I was drawn to was always on the "evil" side. From Black Sabbath to Venom to Slayer, and even up to today with Behemoth and Mayhem, I have always been fascinated with heavy music that touched on satanic or occult themes. I get a kick out of it, no different than watching horror movies like The Omen, The Exorcist or House of the Devil.
From the first time I read about this album, I knew I had to check it out. The band, and this album in particular, were always mentioned and appreciated in rock history books and magazine articles. A lot of attention had to do with the fact that they has a song called Black Sabbath and a band member named Oz Osbourne - a year before Sabbath released their first album. They were also the first band to publicly show a strong pro-satanic stance by throwing up the devil's horns and using inverted crosses before anyone else.

The problem is Coven aren't good. At all. Even with the recent popularity of 70's style doom metal/occult rock bands with female vocals like The Oath, Blood Ceremony and Purson, you would think that I would be able to gain an appreciation for the music on this album. Nope. It's just really bad psychedelic folk music. But really, this record has nothing to do with music.

Released on Mercury Records in early 1969, "Witchcraft" was quickly pulled from the record store shelves after a strong moral backlash stemming from the Manson Family murders in California and the fact that the album contained a fucking satanic mass. That's right, a 13 minute black mass on side two to finish off the album.

To tell you the truth it isn't exactly scary or powerful primarily because the guy conducting it sounds just like Principal Skinner from the Simpsons. KISS THE GOAT!

The layout of this album is unreal. 1969. I have to say it again, this was released in 1969.

It's has a weird double gatefold with the altar scene first and then it folds over again like a book for the lyrics. There is nowhere to actually put the record. That must have been inconvenient back in the day before polyethylene album sleeves.

I'm thinking I might spin the satanic mass on Halloween this year for all the trick-or-treaters. I'm a great dad like that.


  1. Wow, when a cover is that cool who cares about the music?

  2. That looks amazing, and while I've heard the name before, I've never bothered to check them out.