Fields Of The Nephilim - Mourning Son
Quickly, name me 5 artists you know of who broke up, reformed at least a decade later, and managed to write and record a disc. Might take a moment or two, but I'm sure you can manage. Now, narrow it down to those who released albums you would consider 'good', at least. Can you do it? I don't blame you; neither can I. But feel free to start your lists with Field of the Nephilim's Mourning Sun.
In typical fashion, the trademark sound and style of the Nephilim is still present and given in heavy doses. Twangy guitars, a thick blanket of dirty bass, and all the atmosphere and dusty, dirty, grimy feel from frontman Carl McCoy, who is still surprisingly at the top of his game all these years later (but is helped more than a little by vocal effects). More so than previous records, the immense scope of Mourning Sun can be quite daunting at first. None of the 7 (or 8, depending on your copy) songs runs less than 5 minutes, and only one runs less than 6. Working in these timeframes, you'll be more than impressed with their ability to fuse different ideas together into cohesive mini-suites, each with it's own identity and emotional weight.
To single one of these numbers out is quite the task. I love the creepy mid-paced rhythms of opener "Shroud (Exordium)", sounding quite like it was pulled from their The Nephilim era. "Straight To The Light" follows up and represents the closest thing to a true single here. Catchy as hell, in a way only Fields of the Nephilim are capable of. From here the songs all stretch out over 7 minutes, and each of them offer up what could be enough intricate ideas, twists and turns to be fleshed out into 15 songs. Again, the sheer depth of it all is nothing less than stunning.
While the album does impress in this way and that, it is somewhat saddening for this reviewer to make note of the increased dependance of 'modern' production tricks and electronic assistance. While it was nothing less than inevitable, it does take that golden quality all Fields albums contained in the past and sort of leaves it in the dust from where it once spawned. It's still there, but at times it feels artificial, forced. Somehow I feel a low-fi production does this band more service than it would for most.
A small complaint, and it's my only for this outstanding goth-rock album. The industrial and electronic influences has apparently gained them a whole new fanbase, so you can attribute that to the band's natural songwriting talents. They've always been not only one of the most underrated bands in the 80's goth movement, but overall one of the most underappreciated groups of talent this side of King Crimson.
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