Coven 13 - "Book Of Shadows"
By Marcus Pan
There really are quite a few great singers
out there. From the front of the trance-induced My Scarlet Life, to the
folk-rock of Paris By Nite. Karin of Collide comes to mind too, as does Bel
Canto's Anneli Drecker. I could wax on, but I'll stop here - because I have
another wonderful singing voice to introduce to you today. Only this time
rather than a woman, it belongs to a man by the name of Teisen Russell.
Together with pianist Amanda Adams this Massachusetts based duo have been
bringing their carnival throughout the state. The melodies these two create is
wonderfully matched. Weaving together piano ballads and Renaissance folk songs,
Coven 13 weave a beautiful tribute. Book Of Shadows truly is a beautiful
collection of work. From love to loss and macabre to sorcery, Teisen and Amanda
have finally found a calling they can undauntedly share with the rest of
When Coven 13 play they bring a whole mood with them.
Carnival dancers, jugglers, fire eaters - they're all with them as they twist
their beauty around the audience. Few bands will bring a troupe with them to
recreate their attitudes and moods to such an extent as Coven 13 have been
known to do. Some of their music covers horrific themes and it is these that I
admire most of all. Not because the songs are strong and frightening, but
because they are just as smooth and poetic as the others about love and magic.
Instead Teisen will tickle your spine with lyrics that are wise yet frightening
- and probably more true than any of us care to admit. Coven 13, in the
creation of their debut Book Of Shadows release, attempted to mix
contemporary, renaissance and classical sounds to create "a world where magick
lives." Each song is a story and chapter on a musical journey. While they may
not fit together as neatly as, say, MeridieM's obvious storyline in A
Distant Thunder, they are nonetheless a coherent journey. From darkness to
light, then back into darkness - but not screaming back into the night, no.
Instead it's like a dream. You wake up - the world is ok. You dream - and you
are somewhere else, not as nice, but strangely inviting. Then you wake up again
- and everything in the world is put to rights. But then at last, by the time
Teisen tells you I'll Be Watching You, it is time to wonder - did you
mix it up? Was the dream time the bad - or the good parts of the story? Are you
From the opening Carnival Ride, Coven 13 takes us to
a different place. This particular track to me took me to the story "Something
Wicked This Way Comes." It's slow, moody and moves along with a funeral march
drumming style. It can actually be a frightening song - if you let it. And I
think you should. Opening with a phone call that reminds me of the movie
"Scream," Red is another highlight to the album. Did you ever feel like
you were being watched? Like someone was there, somewhere in the shadows, just
watching you walk down the dark street on your way home from work, or from the
club that night? Maybe there was - do you really know? Do you want to? Me
neither. It's a scary song with controlled guitar riffs dragging you deeper
into the darkness in the background. A whining guitar plays its banshee-like
Windy and cold, icy and far away from home.
The chapter of And Oh, How I've Wanted You brings you to unrequited
love. How do you tell someone you can never have how much you want to wrap your
arms around them? Wonderful piano and masterful vocal tracks coalesce together.
If you still find yourself wanting somebody you can not have, you must get this
album. Just for this song. And then give it to them. Another highlight, nine
tracks into Book Of Shadows, shows the agility of Amanda's ivory hands.
Tell Me's greatest asset is the piano that is always moving. If you want
a slower song, a piano ballad perhaps, you need only wait for Tell Me to
finish and then let the CD roll to track eleven. Here sits In Heaven,
another love ballad. This is the one you give to your unrequited one if ever
you do get to hold them. And Oh, How I've Wanted You is to bring them
closer - and In Heaven is where you can, if you're lucky, go with them when
they get here.
There's more I can say, still further I can go. But this is
where I will stop. Much more lies in the Book Of Shadows, but there it
will have to wait until you discover it for yourself. Put on your lovely
evening dress laced with pearls that cascade like rays of tears from the moon,
I'll bring the chartreuse, and we'll dance together in the shadows masterfully
woven together like Arachne's web by Coven 13.
Entertainment, 72 East Dedham St., Suite #5, Boston, MA, 02118
Fax: (617) 422-0032
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