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Sporting a retooled lineup and a new name spelling (in order to avoid confusion with the Swedish band Covenant), Kovenant moves toward the '90s mainstream with their sophomore album, Animatronic. While the sound is obviously rooted in the Norwegian black metal scene from which most of the band's members came, the album goes off in several different directions, often within the same song: more accessible, Cradle of Filth-style black metal, complete with female backing vocalist; keyboard-driven goth metal, with baroque-sounding passages and moody soundscapes; the other side of the goth metal equation, influenced by Mercyful Fate's elegant riffing and classic horror themes; Marilyn Manson-style theatrics. At times, Kovenant have problems pulling all of this together into a cohesive style of their own, but their ambition is admirable and their sound ultimately distinct from most of their contemporaries.

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