After Carl McCoy left the Fields of the Nephilim in a spectacular huff -- though keeping the rights to the name, or some variation of it as it turned out -- he apparently went into hibernation for nearly half a decade before resurfacing. By the time he did, the industrial/metal fusions of Nine Inch Nails and White Zombie had shifted the sights of many goth-inclined rockers, while everything from underground black metal to the incipient nu-metal breakthrough also pointed to an extreme, wired, and wound-up combination of brutal riff noise. McCoy wasn't ignoring any of this, and the Nefilim's one album found him sounding even more thrashed than ever, the music often exchanging the subtleties of Elizium for a thrilling if not always unique explosion of feedback. The moments where McCoy lets his black-clad Morricone idolatry seep more clearly through the mix provide the best and most memorable moments -- the sudden slow break in "Xodus," the rising start and slow-grind crunch of "Melt" (his vocals here really do sound demonic), the extended atmospherics on the three-part title track. The album high point, "Shine," in particular proves the logical extension from Elizium -- McCoy's raspier singing retains all of its dark attractiveness with the calmer start, while the main arrangement balances thrash with a controlled, surging build. In many ways, though, this really is a new band through and through -- if McCoy's lyrical obsessions about power, mysticism, and doom are still front and center, the Nefilim are out to invigorate mosh pits rather than pagan temples. Guitarist Paul Miles can spit out the skull-crushing riffs with the best of them, while the Cian Houchin/Simon Rippin rhythm section matches the energy just as well, making such rampages as "Penetration," "Pazuzu," and "Venus Decomposing" a good headbanging time.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett