When Relapse reissued the Pentagram back catalog, many people believed that American doom’s patient zero had finally been given its due. But dig deeper, and you’ll find an even more mysterious nugget with an origin story that seems to defy history. On the sunset eve of the sixties, as flower power was wilting and the winds of change blew a cold breeze over Altamont, a Midwestern rock group called Coven struck the first chords of major label satanic rock. But the story is even stranger than that…
Coven’s debut album from 1969 kicks off with a song called “Black Sabbath.” The bass player’s name on that record was Oz Osborne. These coincidences are almost inexplicable, especially considering the UK album debut from the Sabbath we all know wasn’t released until February 1970.
The second side of Coven’s debut LP, Witchcraft Destroys Minds & Reaps Souls, features a full ritual. This is ground zero for occult rock, and many have followed its bloody footprints in the snow…
Coven was the artistic outlet and brainchild of Jinx Dawson. She was well known for her dead serious satanic beliefs, her succubus beauty, and her thrilling voice. In 2017, its de rigeur to play occult-influenced rock music with dark themes and a female lead singer. In 1969, Jinx broke the mold.
It is unfortunate that the Manson murders and the Satanic Panic derailed Coven’s career in the early 70s (aside from an unexpected hit song with “One Tin Soldier” on the soundtrack of cult film Billy Jack). Promoters were literally terrified to give them gigs.
Times have changed.
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