by "Sir Anon"

Far from obscure in their accomplishments, yet never offering more than a glimpse of the substance of their inspirations, Carl McCoy's band has depth. Those new to their music will probably wonder about the mythology surrounding the band, and might dismiss it as being merely superficial; but having witnessed first-hand on the astral one of Carl's powerful evocations of X.U.L. (pronounced "Zool", the evil and averse L.V.X., a projection of Carl himself), I can only attest to the magickal potency behind it all, however unhealthy it may seem, or be.

Whilst some might actually believe Christina Aguilera is really "nasty", with McCoy it's never been about sales. In fact, it's not excessive to state that Carl is perhaps one of the most accomplished black [Chaos] magicians of his generation. He has evidently understood from his youth the essence of creative magick, and has applied it in the most direct manner possible: by imbuing his thoughts with his life, and giving them independence on their own plane. Rather than being a piece of flamboyant trickery, on the contrary I was really quite worried for the guy, after the Zoon album, that he'd gone too far with his particularly dark magick and would get trapped in his own sometimes nightmarish imagination. The running themes seem to involve a lot about caging, binding and tearing of flesh, crucifixion, etc. Certainly, it's not for the faint-hearted, but Carl evidently wants to suffer for his art, and in an age of increasing tension between image and substance, he dives right into the void.

This new album is ample proof that, far from losing the plot, Fields of the Nephilim are on the up again. Dawning of light is the message of the album, for having explored the depths of X.O.N. (again reversed, presumably pronounced "Zoon") with the last album, I am not counting the Fallen album, which was a collection of unfinished songs released without permission by Jungle Records. this one is naturally an expression of that X.U.L. previously mentioned. So much for the mystical interpretation, which may or may not be accurate; and F.O.T.N. aficionados won't need to be told that the lyrics are loaded with symbolism - the album title, for instance, being an indirect reference to Aries - since one only has to listen to the album to know that the band has come through the winter.

I must confess that it's a bit difficult discussing this album without referring back to previous work, and the glory of Elizium is the high-water mark to which new releases always seem to be compared. Whilst the sweeping, soaring, precise majesty of that album is still my personal favourite, I was so impressed by Mourning Sun, which is far more comfortable a listen that Zoon (frankly, the penultimate track is positively warm) that I have since gone back and listened again to Zoon, and am forced to conclude that the consummate genius of Elizium never went away, it was merely transmogrified (in the technical sense!). What was missing, in order to be able to appreciate Zoon (at least for me), was this new album; and although the metallic sound of that album remains in part, and whilst there are reminiscences of older sounds (though, sadly, not Nod Wright's drums), somehow the evolution of new elements and the mellowing of the years has made this an impressive and occasionally quite beautiful work of art.