Personnel: Stockholm Session Orchestra (strings); Richard Nettermalm (drums); Axwell (programming).
Audio Mixers: Ulf Kruckenberg; Stefan Glaumann.
Recording information: Decibel Studio, Stockholm, Sweden; Jacob's Studio, Stockholm, Sweden; Sound Trade Studio.
For anyone who went to hip dance clubs, Covenant's "Dead Stars," from 2000's United States of Mind, was inescapable. Its synth pulses made the song irresistible for fans of EBM (or "future pop," if you prefer) and anyone who likes to dance. The follow-up falls just short of anything as noteworthy, though Northern Light, produced by Jacob Hellner (Rammstein), still has its fair share of strong arrangements. "We Stand Alone" and "Call the Ships to Port" illuminate the record, with Covenant's recognizable deep vocals and rolling rhythms and nods to Front 242 and Nitzer Ebb. But like contemporaries VNV Nation, the Swedish trio has learned to write songs that dip below 100 beats per minute. "Invisible and Silent," accompanied by a chorus of children, is a moving but strange moment for a band who usually layers stringent dance beats. Aside from these slow moments, the group's fifth album provides more than a few join-in-the-chant anthems. ~ Kenyon Hopkin