I recently obtained a CD entitled “Boneless Christian” by the obscure and cult followed band COVEN. This record came out in 1994 and is the third album by this Washington state band. From a historical background we all know of the hotbed Thrash scenes of San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York City in the 80’s and early 90’s. However, there was quite a burgeoning and vibrant scene in Washington at the time as well. The upper North West had a unique amalgamation of bands that played together during those glorious years. Punk/Hardcore bands had a distinct sound of their own in this area, far different from the NYC Hardcore/skin-head scene. It was the influence and traces of the upcoming Grunge sound that would completely transform the face of aggressive American music. Some of the greatest bands came out of the dreary and yet beautiful Washington area – The Accused, Forced Entry, Panic, Gruntruck, Green River, and Bitter End to name a few and we can add Coven to that list as well.
“Boneless Christian”. I can’t think of a more humorous title. What we have here is 8 tracks of over the top, blatant, and vehement anti-Christianity. Some of the choice song titles speak volumes as to where these guys are coming from – “Satanic As Hell”, “F**kin A Nun”, “Christsycle/Reaming The Pope”. Before some of you furl your brow, make a face, roll your eyes, or pull a prissy attitude – you gotta understand that this is all cheeky humor. It’s meant to be tongue and cheek and shocking. At the same time that the lyrics are quite ridiculous, you can’t help but laugh because they’re also quite funny in the context of the songs. For being recorded in 1994, this is a monstrous sounding record. The production is thick as a steak and doesn’t tread in the thin and bottom heavy-less sound of the time. At the same time, it is very organic and the tones are awesome and natural. None of the modern day studio trickery, samples, triggers, and all that nonsense that makes everyone sound the same. The drummer is absolutely amazing and his double bass work is mighty. Bass guitar is high up in the mix and this dude plays some wicked lines. The songs are short, concise, and quite memorable. Two of the other guys trade off on vocal duties equally on the tracks. One is better sounding than the other and there’s plenty of high end shrieking to make you cringe. Most of the album stays in mid-tempo range with occasional speedy bursts of mayhem. It’ll keep your foot tapping and your head bobbing. Good stuff, albeit more so for the Thrash purist and collector such as myself.