Fields of the Nephilim - Mourning Sun
Gothic Music
7 songs (55'00")
Release year: 2006, SPV
Reviewed by Alex

There is definitely a gap in my gothic metal education. When I was converting into metal as a young teenager in the early 80s and Fields of the Nephilim was shaping European gothdom all the way through the 80s our paths did not converge. Having heard the name, but never actually having heard the music I was aware that many bands quoted the venerable UK act as its primary influence. The fact that the band is Carl McCoy and a group of the “ghost musicians” recording at the unique mobile recording studio only adds to the intrigue. Besides, if you want to read something coherent on the occult and mystical, the band’s website is an excellent source.

Enough of the “around the band” information. If Mourning Sun, literally the first full-length album in ten years, fell flat on its face, no cult status could have saved Fields of the Nephilim. I am, perhaps, just the person to review the album, no days-of-my-youth reminiscing prejudices or comparisons with the albums gone by included.

As much as I agree that Mourning Sun needs to be listened to as a whole to grasp the best perception, it still could be broken down in the sum of parts. As an axis, going right through the album in the opening, middle and closing positions we have three not songs, but compositions. Shroud (Exhordium) develops slowly, adding sounds grudgingly and minimally, not unlike Summoning, without the apocalyptic drums. Despite the band’s occult stories connected to the “fallen angels” Shroud rises, all the way to the sun, where the creatures’ feathers or skin feels the warmth, their bodies floating or rotating lazily under the penetrating rays. Requiem XIII-33 (Le Veilleur Silencieux), my French being pretty poor, is a minimalist acoustic guitar and percussion perpetuating sounds of the rain, until the thundering drums rip you out of the slumber and pure crystal melody emerges. The closer title track is an apotheosis of sorts, bringing to bear all previous proceedings, dissolving and awing all at once, concluding with female backing the dissonant choir.

On Shroud and Requiem Carl hardly contributes a vocal note. Straight to the Light, New Gold Dawn, Xiberia (Seasons in the Ice Cage) and She are different. These are outright gothic songs, not just art compositions spreading dark ether. The rhythms of Straight to the Light and New Gold Dawn are practically dance, almost poppy in nature, repeating parts and obvious choruses revealing gothic rock structure, both guitar and synthesizers are present, without a clear mark of where one ends and another begins. The sound is not huge, more enveloping, with Carl putting his vocals front and center. His voice is a little scratchy, and plenty seductive, rarely touching the extreme (New Gold Dawn). Now I know where Ville Laihiala (Sentenced) and numerous Finnish bands (Charon) borrowed some of their inspiration. “Dance” songs are not the only type on Mourning Sun. She is very dreamy, subliminal, yet distorted parts and extreme vocals are also present. Xiberia is a punchy, industrialized number with vocals withdrawn as if in a bubble. Without the vocals this could be a darker version of some Jean Michel Jarre instrumental.

Mourning Sun is, no doubt, a piece of art, and thus anyone is allowed his/her own interpretation. Maybe mine was wrong, and my descriptions were lame, but I tried. Those who were into the scene way back will salivate over the comeback and buy it blindly. The newcomers would be well advised to check what the fuss was all about. There is a lot of depth to be discovered in Mourning Sun.

Killing Songs :
Shroud, Straight to the Light, Mourning Sun
Alex quoted 82 / 100
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