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"MOURNING SUN" REVIEW
REFLECTIONS OF DARKNESS
by Eric Hazebroek

Introduction

Fields of the Nephilim, a major influential gothic rock band of the eighties, has officially returned to release their first "real" album since the all-time classic album Elizium. This band has been burned to the ground by critics, praised by thousands of fans and even marked as the only gothic rock band that could actually deliver the goods when it came to the words dark, mystical and intense. Throughout the nineties the band was discovered by a huge group of people, including many, many black, death and gothic metal bands. They sort of split up in 1992 though, but several incarnations followed. Main man was always singer and guru Carl McCoy. The man with the characteristic voice and his charismatic appearance. Forget the Fallen album filled with demo-material (2004; McCoy claims never to have given approval for its release), even forget the whole Nefilim period, in which McCoy portrayed a bigger love for the loud and the industrial. This is the new chapter. McCoy has returned with a new band, unleashing his bombastic, dark songs under the monicker Fields of the Nephilim again. A moment a lot of people have been waiting for; including me...

Song Review

01. Shroud (Exordium) - 5:42
Angelic voices enter my room through the speakers, setting the right atmosphere as the soundscapes and string arrangements follow. No real vocal lines on this song, just spoken passages. Sometimes you would think they used Carl's voice as a rolemodel for the voice of Sauron in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. A build-up follows before the immense, reverb-ridden distorted & clean guitars and drums start the actual song. I'm completely blown away by the huge sound they have put down. From it's very first moment I realise that Fields of the Nephilim has come home.

02. Straight to the Light - 6:24
Next track is the first track with vocal lines and Carl's characteristic sound has slightly evolved, but is still so recognisable it's eerie. Never I have heard such a sincere dark voice. Pounding drums, bass lines that drive you into a frenzy. Loads of atmosphere, backing vocals that bring back the angelic sounds of the opening track. The dynamics are closest to the Elizium album. It's complexity in woven guitar and keyboard lines. This is the first classic track on this new album, with it's sing along chorus. "the sky is burning..." This song is bombastic and explosive. It's the real McCoy.

03. New Gold Dawn - 7:58
Third track of this 7 track album. Ouch, I discovered a slight downside to this new effort. The mix is a bit out of balance as Carl's immense vocals are a bit too loud. But when the rest of the band kicks in I tend to forget about it. A very long build up in typical Nephilim style. After 2 minutes the drum beat kicks in and completes the track. Wow!! This is so old-style Nephilim I can barely hide my enthusiasm. Definitely one of my favorite tracks. Despite having a new guitar player in, instead of the characteristic guitar work of the 2 former members of the classic line-up, the sound is almost identical in this effort. Check out the absurd drum break at 4:30.

04. Requiem Xiii-33 (Le Veilleur Silencieux) - 7:21
After some birds, a thunder storm and backwards guitars this laid-back but dark track starts. Right away it reminded me of Love Under Will and Last Exit for the Lost from the Nephilim album. This brings back memories. The whispering, the dark preacher-like voice. How epic can it be. After 4 and a half minutes some immense drums pound the living daylights out of the hypnotic trance the first half has taken the listener to. After that it ever so slightly starts building again. More keyboards, a bell. At some points it even starts sounding like a Dead Can Dance song. The expected drums and loud guitars never arrive though, which gives the song an even more sense of class.

05. Xiberia (Seasons in the Ice Cage) - 7:33
A droning sound and sound effects follow. Some electronic sounds, and the sense of something huge becomes clear. Then a pounding beat sets in with an up tempo feel start off one of the loudest tracks. Carl's voice is pushed through a distortion and the trance is continued. The sound is dark, evil almost. Carl screams, whispers and moans. I think this track is the closest they will come to the Nefilim's Zoon album. All the effects and the loudness of the guitars suggest it is. Sometimes they loose themselves in the cacophony, as if they are caught by their self-induced hypnotic trance. Carl's spoken lyrics in the middle, accompanied by some angelic backing vocals are but a few hints of the darkness that lurks in McCoy's world.

06. She - 9:26
After the immense wall of sound that is Xiberia it's time again for a more old-style track. She starts with a bass-line that could have fit perfectly on the Last Exit for the Lost clasic mentioned earlier. She is low paced. By now I have forgiven Carl for all his work throughout the nineties. Everything turns bleak in comparisson to the epic that is the Mourning Sun album. All the stuff a true fan must have missed is in these 55 minutes. All that and more... She is another wonderful and atmospheric track. So sincere, it makes you wonder why all those gothic bands of today, rock and metal, have such a hard time creating atmosphere on their albums. The master is showing all of them how it's done again.

07. Mourning Sun - 10:33 After some ethereal sounds the title and also last track of this album starts. Just like on the Elzium album the last 2 tracks of Mourning Sun are also connected; making a epic, bombastic song/experience of near to 20 minutes. It is incredible. The details. Listen to this album on some headphones and you will get sucked into McCoy's world filled with sorrow, angels, darkness, esotheric philosophies, and so much more. If you let Fields of the Nephilim, it changes you. The melancholy lasts for days. This last song is not fast, nor is it extremely loud, but it is so intense. "We didn't fall from heaven, we didn't fall for you, we have fallen like the mourning sun". And when this 10 minute track comes to an end, you will feel empty, abandoned maybe. This is the essence of the true goth rock. Carl McCoy is the preacher, and he preaches his own return. And the old and new fans are more than happy to embrace him once again after hearing his latest musical confessions.

Conclusion

I'm impressed (as if you haven't noticed yet)! After all those years of waiting McCoy shows up with one great album. This is definitely the one real gothic album everyone that is into dark music has to buy this year. It's so much more than so many other bands in the genre today. Let's hope this is not a one-off, and let's hope the Fields of the Nephilim finally are going to hit the stage again and show up at a venue near you. Mourning Sun is the classic of tomorrow. No one can make your skin crawl like Carl McCoy does. No one can make such melodic and sorrow-filled guitar lines like the Fields of the Nephilim. It will make all the former fans ecstatic, and it will hopefully influence many generations of music lovers and musicians to come. So set the alarm for the 21st of November, run to the shops and buy this album. It will definitely by my number 1 release of 2005!!

Rating

Music: 10
Sound: 9
Extra's: n/a
Total: 9.5