FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM: FALLEN
by Peter Marks
Let's have no confusion here, this is not a finished album in any sense of the word finished. What we have here is a collection of demos paired with the already released re-works of "Darkcell" and "Trees Come Down". "Dead to the World" opens up this, the first new Fields of the Nephilim album since 1990, with a pounding percussive backdrop and a rather monotonous bassline. Carl then jumps in with the trademark growl and discusses - guess what? Death and re-birth. Shocker.
The single "From the Fire" follows and appears to be built off of drum programming and a bassline as the foundation. This formula of drum machines andbass guitar basis dominates this album. Some classic sounding Nephilim guitar work can be heard meandering around in the background but they are smitten by massive droning riffs which certainly are brutal but not quite as precise as they ought to be.
Some other tracks of note are the exceptional "Thirst" and "Subsanity" (the latter being a re-work of an unreleased Nefilim track.) All of the songs onthis album which are new have the potential of being masterpieces but unfortunately, it is extremely unlikely we will ever hear the finished works. That is depressing beyond words.
A few positive notes: one guy who really shines on here is Paul Miles, Carl's guitarist from the Nefilim album. I've really grown to like how he plays when he's not completely rocking out. Cian Houchin (yet another ex-member of a Carl McCoy project) from Saints of Eden makes an appearance on one track to play keyboards and does so quite nicely. For the most part however, it is just Carl McCoy and Tony Pettit filling out the entity that is Fields of the Nephilim. This is what really makes the album suffer. Carl's voice has never sounded better and Pettit's classic tap-styled bass guitar work is in fine form but a vocalist and a bassist do not a complete band make.
The production is uneven to say the least and even the recording levels of the songs differ, thus giving a rather disjointed and rushed feel to the album. "Fallen" is notable in that it gives the listener a look behind the curtain of the Nephilim and shows you how they write songs. It does not give you a proper follow up to 1990:s "Elizium" and indeed it doesn't even completely incorporate all the Nefilim tendencies it aspires to. This band needs two guitarists (or one at the very least) who are permanent. Session players will not cut it. The absence of Peter Yates, Nod Wright and Paul Wright is glaring. I cannot believe Jungle got away with releasing this goddamn album. This is a travesty.