Fields of the Nephilim

Elizium

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    9
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For the first time since Dawnrazor, the Nephilim worked with someone other than Bill Buchanan as producer; whatever Andy Jackson's particular qualifications, happily he knew not to ruin a good thing. The end result was the band's best all-around album, consisting of four lengthy pieces that showcase their now near-peerless abilities to create involved, textured, driving, and loud pieces of rock. It was still goth as all heck, but like the best bands in any genre, the Nephilim transcended such artificial limitations to create their own sound. McCoy still comes up with an occasionally curious lyric, to put it mildly, but such is the power of his performance as well as the band's that, at least for the time it's playing, Elizium really does sound like it's about to call up darkling spirits from the nether planes. The opening song is divided into four parts but mainly known by its second, "For Her Light," which was edited into a single. It moves from initial crashes of noise, feedback, and keyboards to catchier brooding and riff action, a calmer midsection with appropriate samples of Alistair Crowley, and a last slamming run to the song's conclusion. "Submission" stands on its own, switching between minimal bass with guitar stabs and massive crescendos. "Sumerland (What Dreams May Come)" takes the apocalyptic element of the Nephilim to its furthest extent; its relentless pulse supports some of the most powerful guitar out there while McCoy achieves a similar high point with his commanding voice. "Wail of Sumer" concludes Elizium on a striking two-part note, gently floating rather than exploding over its length, while McCoy's lost, regretful voice drifts along with it as a soft, yet still unnerving conclusion. Combine that with another fantastic job on art design, and Elizium, once you accept the Nephilim's basic conceits, simply stuns.

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