Fields Of The Nephilim - Elizium review
|Band:||Fields Of The Nephilim|
|Release date:||October 1990|
01. (Dead But Dreaming)
02. For Her Light
03. At The Gates Of Silent Memory
04. (Paradise Regained)
06. Sumerland (What Dreams May Come)
07. Wail Of Summer
08. And There Will Your Heart Be Also
09. Psychonaut (Lib III) [bonus]
10. Submission Two (The Dub Posture) [bonus]
11. Sumerland [single version] [bonus]
Carl McCoy's obsession with magick (with a "k", to distinguish it from the kind magic David Copperfield performs) and myth is pretty obvious from the very opening track "Dead But Dreaming", which happens to be one of the greatest and most fitting intros I've heard on any album. It should give you a fairly good idea what to expect from the rest of Elizium: gloomy, mystical and spine-shivering gothic rock, utilizing mostly a minimalistic approach when it comes to the instrumentation, but creating rich soundscapes filled with quiet sorrow and otherworldly sensations.
In the past, Fields Of The Nephilim's sound was inspired not only by occult themes, but it also had a very Wild Western feel about it. Cowboys doing magick. That conjures up quite a picture, eh? This allowed their songs to be not only mystical and brooding but quite rocking and catchy at the same time. Elizium features only two such tracks, namely "For Her Light" and "Paradise Regained", both of which sound like outright gothic rock classics. The rest of the album, however, mostly removes the "rock" from gothic rock and resembles something more akin to ambient. Other than the two tracks mentioned, the album rarely moves from a dirge tempo or features coherent riffs, instead presenting itself as a wave after wave of obscure, bass driven sounds, each adding one more layer to the final mix. McCoy's deep, gritty voice hovers above it all, more in the vein of reciting the lyrics instead of singing them, plunging the listener even deeper into the gloomy, dreamy depths of the album.
Unfortunately, sometimes the album feels like it needs a bit more spice to it, as it tends to aimlessly drag on certain occasions. "At The Gates
of Silent Memory", A.K.A. one of the most extremely minimalistic pieces of music I've heard, can be especially tough to get through and is downright impossible to listen to unless you're playing the album in its entirety. And yes, the only way to truly experience Elizium is to get comfortable, shut off the lights, put on headphones, maybe light a few black candles and draw a magickal rune or two on the ceiling and play it from start to finish. It's not so much a matter of atmosphere as much as the way the album is recorded: the first four tracks (including the intro) are actually a single huge track, split in four and the same goes for the final two tracks as well. Also, a thing that may bug you is that there is a lot of repetition going on, so if you need constant tempo, dynamic and mood changes to keep you entertained, look elsewhere.
To summarize? I'll be brief: look at the cover artwork. Can you tell me what it is? Didn't think so. All I know is it's beautiful. The same can be said about the music: beautiful; murky and stark; obscure and elusive; dreamy and ethereal. To put it in a single word: otherworldly.
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