Occult-rock legends Coven will destroy minds and reap souls on Halloween | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Occult-rock legends Coven will destroy minds and reap souls on Halloween 

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Courtesy the Artist

This Chicago band’s 1969 debut, Witchcraft Destroys Minds & Reaps Souls, had the misfortune of being pulled from distribution shortly after the Manson murders. The woman-driven Satanic majesty of the band’s ritualistic psych rock had nothing to do with the Family’s helter-skelter, but at that point any occult rock was thought to be a hard sell to mainstream America. Someone was listening, though—front woman Jinx Dawson has always held just short of accusing Black Sabbath of plagiarism, and it looks to me like she has a good case. Coven never had the musical heaviness of Sabbath; what they had was Dawson herself, a self-declared Left Hand Path practitioner whose voice and charisma and daring were the cornerstone of the band’s very 60s sexy Black Mass aesthetic—sincerity counts. Dawson was just in her late teens when she recorded Witchcraft . . . , and through a long fallow period she’s never veered from her convictions. Afterward, Dawson scored one really big hit in 1971 (and again in 1973) with the song “One Tin Soldier” from the movie Billy Jack, but when the band went on hiatus in the mid-1970s, she fell into obscurity, never getting her dues. Coven began their official comeback in 2013 with a new album, Jinx—which has a delirious Hammer Horror-cabaret aesthetic—and once again resurrected the Coven name last year with a new lineup drawn from the occult-industrial-metal band Wolfpack 44 and a heavy two-song EP, Light the Fire. If you go to tonight’s show, throw the horns guilt free—I bet even the ghost of Ronnie James Dio would be happy to acknowledge that Dawson was probably the first to bring it into metal, no matter how many times Gene Simmons claims that title.   v


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