translated by Ravyn Navarro
and Thomas Bauderet
The face of Carl McCoy, serene under the icy effects of the digital composition, offers a timeless and cold pastel, a portrait that offers itself to the flights of butterflies. Almost christ-like. It is as if time stood still, giving McCoy the occasion to display a serenity that was perhaps lost in the time of the cascade of troubles (the very controversial album of demos "Fallen," released by Jungle, sank the hopes of a possible return). A serenity that says also and maybe: "Here is the last work. Here is my liberation."
And this form itself flies away, exists by itself. From this time forward, it does not belong to McCoy. It rejoins our present, our lives. From this time forward, it gives something back to itself.
The face of Carl McCoy, always and ever. Aged, of course, but more than ever present to the world. Like a phantom, something that cannot die. Such is the myth of these Fallen Angels that governs the writing of the front-man of one of the most important gothic groups - founders of a style which inspired an impressive number of bands coming from the Rock or Metal genres, inspired after the first official end of Fields Of The Nephilim. It was in 1991.
The face of McCoy, at the center of the picture. It is a curious form of introduction for a man who previously hid himself behind the myth, and the mystery - that refused pictures of himself on the two principal studio albums; hid himself behind curtains of fog onstage; covered himself with flour to better disguise his mortal outlines. While this picture already imposes a rupture in the tradition, perhaps it also portrays the dis-incarnation of Fields Of The Nephilim, as a "band." The physical break-up of the original group, a disintegration for a recomposition of the FOTN entity around its lone and glorious leader. None of the original members of Fields Of The Nephilim, except Carl, officially took part in the new venture... at least until we have proof of the opposite. A rather cruel turn for these former members, some of which participated in some of the recording sessions on "Fallen."
McCoy, during the period previous to the release of the album, adopted the strategy of mystery around the new "line-up." The musicians implied in the completion of this longed-for album "Mourning Sun" are not "guests," but "ghosts." No names are given out before the official release of the disc, for who's turn it will be to be the new Fields Of the Nephilim. Nevertheless, here and there, the ear that extends itself distinguishes traces of the past. Certain bass lines recall (cruelly) the vigorous attack and delay of Tony Pettitt, who left to explore a more traditional form of gothic rock (? and very marked by the influence of the original FotN) within NFD. Nevertheless, at present it officially seems that none of the persons that worked with McCoy in the making of the three initial studio releases survived his artistic and personal requirements. Doubtless, he was too particular. Particular to the point of dissolving the first group only to see McCoy rise again to stylistic summits with "Zoon" through his extreme metal project The Nefilim. This group, rooted in post-industrial brutality , did not last longer than 1996. Out of it came a lone studio album, with minimal reminiscence of the past and Dante-esque sounding - like a sacrifice. And Fields Of The Nephilim reappear from the shadows in early 1997-1998, in a time where McCoy (then in the company of Tony Pettitt) undertakes to begin a new chapter in the history of the "formation."
Seven years later, here comes "Mourning Sun." The first "true" album since "Elizium," this disc will have generated all the expectations: the one of nostalgia, draped in a mourning from days gone by, eager to rediscover the dense psychedelic feeling that dominated the flowing guitars of the third opus. In contrast, those were converted with the hardness of The Nefilim and transferred to McCoy as one of the most accomplished torch-bearers of modern, powerful Metal. Expectation can be deadly. It can be murder. It lodges in one's unconscious like a photograph - a projection associated with the memory of his force - to the hope of a respectful mutation of the underlying and original forms. To sublimate youth, to keep the freshness but to make beauty once again. A total experiment, on the whole. This is the price of the waiting. It is a matter for the listener to attend the transcendance, the passing of the aesthetic and conceptual canons for the achievement and the restitution of a supreme form achieved - or one less advanced.
It is true to say that "Mourning Sun" symbolizes the will of McCoy to succeed in this endeavor. Realized completely in The Ice Cage (Carl's movable studio), the new opus symbolizes an independence will, and if "Mourning Sun" is not necessarily an easy disc to tame on first approach, it establishes a new dynamic. It's easy to presume that the first hearings won't be enthusiastic, no matter what the obedience of Carl McCoy's throuh the periods of its work.
The mix sometimes appears as collages, and one wonders if the majority of the drums are not programed. But in spite of these types of reserves, the overall result ends up imposing a form enjoying a new and true edge. And "Mourning Sun" finishes by winning, in the long run.
First statement, pretty obvious: our man partially abandoned the harder framework of the project The Nefilim. The colors that dominate the new album compare themselves more to Fields Of The Nephilim than to the latter project. The epigraph of a certain clarity, whether in the layerings of guitars or even in the vocal exercise, creates the coldest, iciest of atmosphere (" Requiem XIII-33 (The Silent Watcher)," almost worthy to appear on an album by Cold Meat Industry). For as much, it is not a matter at all of "to repeat," or of "to remake." If the echoes of the bass and the heroic electro structures ("Straight to the Light" (announced as the first single in Germany) or the cybernetic piece "Xiberia (Seasons in the Ice Cage)") can evoke (the sense of the album) it will be cold and experimental like "Psychonaut," the "new" Fields Of The Nephilim" plays with the gimmicks of the past to mutate into a more modern and electronic style. Spleen is omnipresent ("She," next-to-last title, evokes a sepulchural mood of despair), but the affinity of the guitars is noticeably modified.
Wright and Yates are no longer there, but McCoy has remembered some of their lessons: gone are the endless psychedelic soli of "Elizium" in favour of tense and hypnotic arpeggios or leads. Pink Floyd is dead, this time. For sure. One can regret it, evidently. But in the background the will to push the music in other directions installs itself in a new management of time for McCoy. Conversely, like his last works for The Nefilim, all the pieces that compose "Mourning Sun" (including the classical gothic rock excess "New Gold Dawn") chose a lengthy, monumental style (between six and eleven minutes).
The autocratic management of the concept sets out today what McCoy has announced as representing his personal vision, most possible nearest myth of the Nephilim. Then, is this again "Fields Of The Nephilim"? Partially, yes. This new recording may be considered as a simulacrum, a solo project disguised under a cultic name matters little. There is a line that is not dead, a vision that belongs to an inspired McCoy, sure of his actions. If he assumes it, some (fans) will follow it certainly, and will do so even if it is not certain that everyone recognizes here the past flamboyance, all the while ingesting the more religious dimensions, in the moods of FOTN era II.
It is even likely to bet that certain frustrations are born from the expectation.
But one thing must be said. It was useless, even especially impossible, to remake what already was. He doesn't necessarilly expect that, that this would be a repetition of FotN, the fixed price. All nostalgic temptation would have rung the death knell for McCoy, and of the "Fields Of the Nephilim" of which he wishes to extend the existence.
In the end, this that blossoms forth as "Mourning Sun," shows the force of Carl's convictions. This man carries in his hands an intangible, magic concept. And the light still sporadically gushes forth again in this energetic and emotional disc, an ambitious work which is projected entirely towards the ultimate of metal and Dante-esque: a self-title in which McCoy projects from himself and announces the forfeiture of the Angels, the revelation of Knowledge on the seal of a judgment for the Eternity of its Carriers.
So maybe the Gods, thus questioned, will recover grom the new declamations of McCoy, in his ultimate masterpiece. With regard to the Humans, and if they keep trying to apprehend these new Revelations, all bets are on.