Covenant - Nexus Polaris (Black vinyl)
The Covenant's Nexus Polaris is a layered and complex album with superb production that has set the standard for years to come. From Lex Icon's searing vocals to the majesty of Steinar Sverd Johnsen's beautiful keyboards to the blistering drum mastery from Hellhammer, this album is quite possibly one of my favorites ever. The bands sound is so cohesive on this album that every song sounds like a new masterpiece, never treading over the same path all the while pushing a new threshold in every aspect. Lex's vocals shine on every song while Sverd's keyboards enhance every track, especially his piano work on Bizzare Cosmic Industries which would later set the mold for his piano work on Star-Crossed from the album The Sham Mirrors by Arcturus. The layered guitars of Astennu and Blackheart mesh together perfectly and create a dark atmosphere that has become The Covenant's signature sound on this album. Topping it all of is Sarah Jezebel Deva's soaring vocals floating in and out of the album, but never making it too effeminate even for the most hardcore black metal fan. In fact, I consider this one of her most amazing vocal performances from any band she has ever sang for.