THE NEW NEFILIM
by Lynn of the Watchman and Paula O'Keefe
And the lord said, "Behold, the Nephilim." They ruled over all they surveyed.. Yet even this powerful race of giants, who walked the Earth during the first eon of the ancient Sumerian civilization, were swept away as easily as their puny mortal counterparts by the Lord's wrath in the great antediluvian flood. Let is be said, that for the gothic colossus of a band by the same name, the end came just as swiftly. This group of musical nomads, who blazed new trails through the great pop wasteland, saw their demise in the sixth month of the year 1991 A.D. (In fact, the band's final performance is available for posterity on a bootleg LP appropriately titled RITUAL OF FIRE, which came on the heels of the Beggars Banquet live release, Earth Inferno.)
Despite this fiery end, there seems to be something stirring in the ashes of the wreckage that used to be Fields Of The Nephilim. Head shaman and spiritual leader, Carl McCoy, has painstakingly put together a completely new band, and has spent the past couple of years writing and recording material for a new album, soon to be released. The new band will supposedly retain the mystical and atmospheric qualities that made the original Nephilim so popular with the death rock underground both here and in England. Carl's beliefs are still firmly entrenched in ancient and modern occultism, and much of the new material revolves around that theme. The music itself has become more intense and in-your-face. Because of this evolution in sound, the new group is to be called The Nefilim. Presumably, the slight change in spelling echoes Carl's slight alteration in direction.
"Though I've retained most of the dark elements that were involved with the original Nephilim," says Carl, "I've added more focus and definition to the new material. It's a lot tighter. After seven years of Fields Of The Nephilim, I felt it was time to shake things up. We were stagnating and we needed radical change. The rest of the band wasn't receptive to this idea, so we parted company. When you hear the new album, you'll understand why I had to leave. The approach to writing and recording is totally different now than what it was. It took me a long time to find the right musicians to undertake this task. I didn't take this change of course lightly. It wasn't done on some fickle whim. The album was supposed to have come out months ago, but me and the new members are such perfectionists with the songs, that we've had to record several of the a second time. To hold all our fans over until the LP comes out, we released a song on the Beggars Banquet compilation sampler, DEAFENING DIVINITIES WITH AURAL AFFINITIES. The song, 'Chaocracy,' deals with the theory of entropy - how the natural tendency of the universe is to head towards disorder and chaos. Musically, however, it's not really where the Nefilim is right now. It was recorded about a year ago, and our style of writing has changed since then.
"Even though I'd like to see this band always evolving, there will always be elements that makes us uniquely the Nefilim. The new phonetic spelling - with an 'f' instead of a 'ph' - represents this evolution. The reason I didn't throw out the name completely is because I strongly identify with it. It Is me. The other original members don't approve of it, but what I can say. I draw my inspiration from the same eclectic sources I've always drawn upon. The beings who are described in the Bible as the Nephilim will always represent those sources to me. It's a very private philosophy I have."
The distant and dark past does indeed provide much intellectual fodder for Carl's lyrical ideas. The three studio LPs that the original Fields Of The Nephilim released, DAWNRAZOR ('87), THE NEPHILIM ('88) and Elizium ('90), all demonstrated that quite emphatically. Few bands explored mystiscm and the dark side of human history in such detail.
The other original members of the Nephilim have formed a band Rubicon. They too have a penchant for the paranormal in their music. They recently released their own debut LP entitled WHAT STARTS, ENDS. Could that be a veiled reference to their previous band?
As for Carl himself goes, the unmistakable vocals are still present. They are, after all, what gave the Nephilim their truly unique sound. Besides hid guttural, rumbling voice, his rugged western-style appearance remains intact as well.
"You'll still be able to recognize me," assures Carl. "Though I've changed a lot of things about my lifestyle - I've basically cleaned it up - I have not drastically changed the way I look. Until just recently, I hadn't been in front of an audience for almost three years. I didn't want to give people culture shock with a drastically new look. Anyway, I'm comfortable with my old rags - so why change. The new Nefilim will pretty much keep the same atmosphere and visuals in its live performance as well. The Zillo Festival gigs in Germany this past December went over great with the fans. We were in the studio for so long, it was very therapeutic to get out there and perform live again. Those shows were like a tune-up for the tour for the album that's coming soon. Our gigs will be more spectacular than ever before. We're gonna play a lot of the old favourites along with the new stuff. It'll bee a good mix. Hopefully, the album will be out in March sometime. I wish it could have been out earlier, but we wanted everything to be just right. Despite being released four years after ELIZIUM, I really feel the new LP is the next logical step in the cycle. That four year gap was a period of sacrifice, destruction and rebirth. This is like a resurrection for me, something I've been singing about all along anyway."
Carl and the band are also working on some new, very interesting videos to coincide with the release of the album, which is as of now still untitled. The videos are being directed by Richard Stanley, who did much of the Nephilim's earlier projects, including the chilling "Preacher Man" and "Blue Water" videos.
"In the new music and videos, I continue to explore my own mind, and my own vision of heaven and hell," reveals Carl. "It's about achieving a higher level of consciousness - getting tiny glimpses of death, which can change the way you perceive the world. The path of the soul through time has always interested me, which is why I say the new material is just a continuation of where I left off four years ago. It's a line that can't be broken. Each album is just viewing the same thing from different angles.
"The full-length film I made with Richard Stanley called HARDWARE had a lot to do with this same theme. In it I played a harbinger-of-doom kind of character. Sort of an angel bringing the word of an angry God. It's based on a chapter in the Bible - Mark XIII - which is all about the flesh of man passing away from this mortal coil. It's heavy stuff."
And the Lord said, "Behold, the New Nefilim."