"MOURNING SUN" REVIEW
BY DUNCAN BRYCELAND
A decade and a half has passed since Fields Of The Nephilim's last official studio album "Elizium." Although in-between there was a live offering, a singles collection, a side project album, and an unofficial release, essentially it's taken until now for Carl McCoy to conjure up an opus that could reflect the Nephilim's unrealized full potential. It evokes the essence from all decisive periods: the filmic elements from the debut "Dawnrazor," the sheer gothic-rock power of "The Nephilim," the nightmarish qualities of The Nefilim's 'Zoon," and the spacious dreamscape styling of "Elizium" into one mystique laced epic sequel. Visionary vocalist Carl McCoy has been reincarnated with "Mourning Sun."
The album is embellished with profound, intriguing, and arcane lyrics from beginning to end., with "Shroud (Exordium)" no exception. It is a true lead-in track. This dark and cinematic song slowly unravels with the cries of a baby (perhaps symbolizing rebirth), together with McCoy's whispery unearthly vocals exhaling "Heaven will shine no more" and layers of darkly ethereal keyboards, which gives way to a spacious and expansive number. It entwines darkness and light into an encapsulating sphere.
"STRAIGHT TO THE LIGHT"
"I will fly again" cries McCoy as "Straight To The Light" with its driving, delayed styled bass (circa "Psychonaut"), dramatic anthemic-like choruses, and archetypical rousiing grandiose crescendos. It is a dynamic, compelling, and inspired number that is undoubtedly a true contemporary Neph classic.
"NEW GOLD DAWN"
"As we rise, we fall, a New Gold Dawn" McCoy growls. The mid-paced "Watchman"-esque number meanders and fluctuates throughout, almost like a single entity. Although it does have its own qualities and grows with each listen, it is devoid of the potency of the other offerings and pales in comparison to the album as a whole.
"REQUIEM XIII-33 (LE VEILLIEUR SILENCIEUX)
"Requiem XIII-33" is a fitting title for this haunting, cinematic lament. The Nephilim are masters at carving great atmospheric monolithic soundscapes and this song is a perfect example of something that is paradoxically so minimalist, yet so immense. Twiddling guitar chords, mournful Dead Can Dance styled Gregorian chants and a nocturnal ambience slowly expands into a vast and panoramic number, which enshrouds you in a world within a world of melancholic bliss. It is a timeless and monochrome aural journey that only The Nephilim could manifest.
"XIBERIA (SEASONS IN THE ICE CAGE)"
The smoldering dark pulsating intro of "Xiberia (Seasons In The Ice Cage)" ignites into a real incestuous fusion of cyber-goth and electro-industrial that combines McCoy's more sinister vocals into a dark sonic mutation that supercharges the Neph' into the 21st century. A greatly ambitious number that by all right should be a contemporary alt-dance floor filler and illustrates the current range of this innovative and influential band.
The ethereal "She" reignites the epic, serene dreamscape of "Elizium." A gently flowing, darkly romantic and captivating song that slowly rises and transcends majestically into an otherworldly realm. It evokes the likes of "Wail Of Sumer" and "Last Exit For The Lost" into one emotive and mesmeric number. It is a dream within a dream, an alluring and timeless classic of immense beauty.
"She" bleeds into the album titled "Mourning Sun" in true "Elizium" style. It carries on the uplifting, ebbing and flowing celestial qualities, but expands into a maelstrom of sweeping monolithic chords, soaring rapturous vocals, and melodramatic crescendos that are all-encompassing. "Like the mourning sun, I will rise again:" a reminder that the Neph' are well and truly reanimated.
"IN THE YEAR 2525"
The bonus track "In The Year 2525" is a sweeping, wonderfully overblown number that is empowered with colossal riffs and doomsday vocals that gives it a real apocalyptic vibe. The gothed-up take breathes life into the original and carves The Nephilim's identity firmly onto it. The near ten-minute epic ends the album in a fittingly bombastic finale.
The icy image of McCoy's face, together with a butterfly on the album cover may well symbolize rebirth, a theme that seems to run through many of the songs. "Mourning Sun" is a very involved album that takes several listens to seep through, but when it takes hold it becomes essential listening. It has an evocative and warm aura that leaves a vibrant afterglow. It is an atmospheric, multi-layered odyssey through darkness and light, an epic cinematic and all-encompassing collection of songs that complement, contrast, and merge into one another. It combines all the best hallmarks of The Nephilim into one outstanding album. "Mourning Sun" is immense, compelling, and totally essential.