Jul 2023 05

Album CoverA Covenant of Thorns
Album: Ashes
Category: Darkwave / Synthpop / Goth
Label: Self-released
Release Date: 2023-05-26
Author: Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)


It’s almost strange to think that Scott-David Allen has been helming A Covenant of Thorns since the ‘90s, with Ashes as his fifth full-length effort. Always punctuated by throbbing bass and foggy layers of harmonious synth lines, the album takes the listener through an auditory exhibition of varying darkwave facets, Allen’s vocals particularly elevating the album from a relatively level plateau to heights of emotive release that are sure to elicit memories of the best underground and alternative sounds of the ‘80s. For instance, the growl of distorted guitar and the harsh drum sounds of the opening “Discord” almost belie the relative simplicity of the vocal melodies, but by the time we get to the resonant and anthemic “Halos,” the mood is bathed in a glistening aura of sparse guitar notes and slinky keyboards that enhance the poignancy of lyrics like “always look for something even when the nothing comes” and “always look for hallows even when the darkness comes.” Other songs like “The Dark Sings Softly” and especially “Grace (Like the Back of a Fist)” revel lovingly in the gothic predilections darkwave as coldly ambient synths and light beats underscore Allen’s striking melodies that almost sound like a fusion of the best moments of Wire and Depeche Mode rolled into one. The same can be said of “The Ghosts Inside My Head,” the metallic drum loops and distant gritty guitars reminding this writer of latter day Gary Numan, the high note when he sings “I want to be there when the angels take you” truly a moment of bliss. There is a curiously offbeat quality to “귀신,” the vocal cadence seemingly out-of-step with the instrumental… and yet, it all coalesces into a rather heavenly chorus, leaving “Burn” to close Ashes out with shimmering pianos, scrapes of psychedelic pads, eventually erupting into a boisterous chorus of “I’ll never let the darkness win.” Simply put, Ashes demonstrates Allen’s proficiency as a songwriter, his lyrics and arrangements remaining as sharp as ever. It’s good… oh yes, it’s good.
Track list:

  1. Discord
  2. Idols
  3. Lights
  4. Halos
  5. The Dark Sings Softly
  6. The Ghosts Inside My Head
  7. Grace (Like the Back of a Fist)
  8. Reptile
  9. 귀신
  10. Burn

A Covenant of Thorns
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