It would seem that by now, 9 years after the last official release of new music from the Nephilim camp, the fans' expectations and the general disbelief in the prompt emergence of anything from Carl McCoy would be associated with hype so enormous that no matter how good the release would be, it would never be able to be satisfactory. Well, I think it is enough if I say that this album actually does not disappoint and proves to be well worth the long wait. This alone should be enough information for people familiar with this band to make them drop everything and buy Mourning Sun the moment it is released. Nevertheless, I feel a bit of elaboration is needed on my part, so here I go.
Far too many reviews of Carl McCoy's latest magnum opus take on the form of a terribly pretentious, poetic attempt at describing the music with images vivid enough to appropriately capture its depth. I will try not to do this although frankly, this is not an easy task when dealing with as intricate and magickal a piece of art that this album is. Constructed a little similarly to Elizium, it all starts with the creepy intro that is "Shroud (Exordium)." The initial atmosphere created by ambient synth washes and Carl's demonic whispers suddenly gets interrupted by a vintage Morricone-inspired FOTN guitar solo. The rest of the song is a stunning crescendo of metallic drumming and progressively heavier guitar harmonics, all of which finally lead into "Straight to the Light," the superb melodic and anthemic opening song. "I fly again," bellows McCoy and we also feel like we are floating with him, on top of a morphic bird exploring the realms of forgotten, mythical knowledge. This album is definitely a direct follow-up to Elizium and not any sort of metallic side-step or unofficially released compilation of demos.
After the "Psychonaut"-esque bass acrobatics and almost thrashy guitar riffs of "Straight to the Light," "New Gold Dawn" begins and infects us with its shameless catchiness. The slightly grungy beginning aside, it is by far the most traditional song on this album and it will take a long time before its riff and melody will leave our minds. "Requiem VIII 33 (Le Veilleur Silencieux)" is an entirely different kind of song. Very much in vein of "At the Gates of Silent Memory" from Elizium, it is an example of the very minimal for of gothic rock that I don't think any other band can perform. Carl's vocals come to the forefront here and it is unbelievable how unique and powerful they still sound. "Xiberia (Seasons in the Ice Cage)" provides us with the album's only real surprise as it is a nod to the EBM/Aggrotech scene and features electronic beats and grooves, as well as distorted vocals and metallic guitar riffs.
Although all that has been described above is of extremely high quality, the real gems of this album are left towards its end. "She" and "Mourning Sun" together form an overwhelming epic that cannot be ignored. Starting with the elegant atmospheric rock of "She" and ending with the heavy, doom-metal inspired grind of the title track, we are taken on an exquisite journey. "We are fallen!" screams McCoy and we scream along with him, preparing to begin listening to this album again from the beginning and hoping that we wont have to wait another 9 years for a followup.I cannot imagine any band in the broadly-understood gothic rock/metal genre being able to create anything even remotely as deep and inspired as Mourning Sun. Every fan of good music owes it to themselves to go and get this phenomenal concept album. Although I failed rather miserably at avoiding writing the over-enthusiastic and poetic review that I hoped I wouldn't write, you have to believe me that I am only scratching the surface here. Honest!