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Midnight Coven – Bewitched

Midnight Coven
Bewitched
by Dave Nowels at 21 August 2019, 10:00 PM

MIDNIGHT COVEN is a one man project presenting the musical visions of Aaron Baker from Nova Scotia, Canada. On his Facebook and Bandcamp pages Baker describes the music as Rock/Metal/Multi-genre. What ever you finally decided to describe it as, it's definitely interesting. Yes, I mean that as a positive. For although it falls into some of the usual one man band pitfalls, I found more than enough to intrigue me. Baker/MIDNIGHT COVEN have been quite prolific as today's focus, “Bewitched” is the 10th release that's been put out. This was my first exposure to Baker/MIDNIGHT COVEN, so let's jump right in.

“Bewitched” contains 6 songs and clocks in at 48 minutes long. Let's get one thing straight right off the bat; Aaron Baker is a damn impressive songwriter.  As prolific as it seems he's been in releasing album material, the 6 songs presented here are really solid. This doesn't appear to be throw-away material, or released just for the sake of releasing. These songs have substance, and while we're at it, Baker has got chops. He's one heck of a musician. Guitar, keys, drums, bass and whatever else he's plugging in and slapping around; he plays all of it with apparent ease. The first track “Sinister” pointedly emphasizes this, with highlights of clever bass runs at the midpoint, and a melt your face guitar solo closing it out. “Blood On The Wall” leans heavily on a SABBATH vibe, but never to the exclusivity of losing it's own identity. I must say that I'm not the biggest fan of the effect laden vocals. They seem strained, though they never really take away from the album's stronger points.

“Midnight Summoning's” opening riff is pure evil, though in this track I noticed a few of the aforementioned pitfalls. The song suffers from it's production a bit too noticeably. The drum mix seems distant, and was obviously recorded separately (I know, obviously, it's a one man band, but still….). Still, the structure of the song is outstanding, rendering the drum complaint moot. “Corporate Slave” runs on an almost JUDAS PRIEST feel, yet again, it's merely suggestive as the song is all it's own.  “Welcome To The Horror Show” takes a much more unique approach in comparison to the rest of the release, and I found it probably my least favorite of the tracks. Thankfully Baker seemed to save the best for last, with “Conditioned Nation” being pure fire and seems to have the best mix (especially vocal) of all the songs here.

MIDNIGHT COVEN's “Bewitched” is a really good album. It'll appeal to a wide range of heavy music fans, and I'd expect that if one was to play it amongst a crowd, there would be some definite inquires. I'd love to see Baker's work get a proper production, and tone down the vocal effects a tad. But again, these are minor, and don't take anything away from the album's powerful substance. I'm always amazed that music like this manages to fall through my cracks without me knowing about it. But be sure, this was a pleasant surprise and discovery. I'll definitely be backtracking into MIDNIGHT COVEN's catalog, and keeping eye's peeled for the next efforts.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 6

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Sinister
2. Blood On The Wall
3. Midnight Summoning
4. Corporate Slave
5. Welcome To The Horror Show
6. Conditioned Nation
Lineup:
Aaron Baker – All Instruments and Vocals
Record Label: Loneravn Records
     


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Edited 23 September 2019
 

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