Fields Of The Nephilim - Mourning Sun - SPV Records
Running Time: 55:00
It really started for me with the groundbreaking album Dawnrazor. Here we had a British band taking American Old West attire, overt goth textures, lurching doom, and Lovecraftian mythos, and pounding away at the pieces until they became a shining black jewel...a gateway into the dark, as it were. Through Elizium I followed Carl McCoy out of what would become Rubicon and into Zoon (released under the name Nefilim), which bristled with a metallic/industrial aggression before unfound in the music of FOTN. And then...I waited. And waited. And when tired of that, I waited some more. 2002 came, and with it a release of odds and ends called Fallen, which told me one of two things; Fields... was forever dead, or there would be new music. Now, roughly four years later, Mourning Sun breaks over the horizon, to either dash my hopes or set aflame again the embers.
The opening of "Shroud (Exordium)" finds Fields... at their ethereal best, esoteric and dark melodies rising from the foundation of triphammer drums, and coiling about your ankle, preventing escape from the world according to Carl McCoy. Shades of the Laura EP abound here, in the sonorous and abstract scales, which leads into "Straight To The Light"'. This song is likely what the Nefilim material would've sounded like sans the metal onslaught. McCoy's chant of "Look up, look down, look up. Look straight into the light" is snarled over hypnotic beats, leaving the listener with a good idea where bands like Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride got their early vocal inspiration, and later, their musical direction. "New Gold Dawn" is a testament to looking ahead to tomorrow, which sounds a bit strange coming from Fields..., but then, you've never been able to count on them doing what is expected, so I shouldn't be surprised. The graveworn baritone of McCoy carries "Requiem xiii-33 (Le Veilleur silencieux)" atop celestial keys, ominous rhythms echoing through the cavernous reaches of space created by the music. Driving drums return to goad the frostbitten delivery of "Xiberia (Seasons in the ice cage)" out of the goth realm, and into something near avante-black metal in it's execution. Add some high-pitched wails, some abrasive guitar scrapings, and Fields Of The Nephilim would've created their first BM epic. There's such a Floydian sensibility to "She", that if I didn't know any better, I'd swear it'd been snagged off the cutting room floor during the sessions for A Momentary Lapse Of Reason. Seamlessly, "She" flows into the title track, a ten-plus minute reminder of all that came before, angelic female vocals weaving in an out of "Mourning Sun", adding yet another dimension to Fields... , and ending the album perfectly amid a cavalcade of dissonance and beauty.
That's one of the things that's always set FOTN apart from the herd. Be it raging neo-doom (even at their inception) or guitar-driven goth draped in dusty horror movie filmstrips, there's never been anyone quite like Fields... . And I'm betting there never will be. You can't go get this fast enough.