by Stella

They call it Spaghetti Metal. With mucho dusty and tattered nuclear-cowboy duds, the Fields Of The Nephilim ride through a dry-ice fog in a posse from the other side of the Atlantic, where people never drive on the right side of the street. That's right, these Spaghetti-Western throwbacks are British.

Together for a little more than two years, Fields of The Nephilim mix up an eerie chuck wagon of post-apocalyptic sounds and wild west imagery. Keeping it a helluva lot more lively than some of those gothic rock bands, the Nephs sound quite a bit like gloomsters Sisters Of Mercy, but with a big boot-kick of spirit.

The debut album, Dawnrazor, vibrates with layers of guitar, a forlorn ghost-town mood and drummer Nod Wright and bassist Tony Pettitt's gallop-paced rhythm. Peter Yates' razor-sharp guitar cuts through on "Intro (Harmonica Man)" a tune by Ennio Morricone, who did the haunting owl-whistle song, "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly", and also scored all those other Sergio Leone directed Clint Eastwood Spaghetti Westerns.

The number - four UK indy-chart-topper that lets the limey dude-ranchers roll out the fog machines, galloping horses, saddles, Stetsons, spurs, leather and ever-dust-laden, well-worn-and-torn garb. Singer Carl McCoy (a man whose vocals throw grit 'n' gravel on any unpaved turntable) shows off a wicked spiked glove that's like something straight out of Rollerball or The Road Warrior, while doing a fire-and-brimstone routine from a pulpit decorated with a fallout shelter symbol. In the meantime the camera conducts some high-speed, point-of-view tours of a graveyard, and some disgruntled soul does a do-si-do with a chainsaw and obliterates the pulpit, sending the preacher-man to the ol' noose-around-the-neck treatment at the gallows.

The band has assumedly taken its name from a Biblical race of giants or demigods, known as the Nephilim, which roamed the Earth in the days just before Noah escaped the floods in his ark. So, obviously, these musicians are familiar with Chapter Six of Genesis (as in the good ol' Gideon Bible not the band, you heathens!)

Theologians or not, Fields Of The Nephilim has accumulated not only billowing clouds of dust and fog trailing them everywhere, but quite a cult following overseas. Needless to say, they'll undoubtedly die with their boots on.