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fotn ceremonies
Artist: Fields Of The Nephilim
Title: Ceromonies (Ad Mortem, Ad Vitam)
Genre: Goth Rock/ Rock Noir/ Gothabilly
Release Date: 2nd March 2012
Label: EMI & Sacred Symphony


Album Review

‘Ceromonies (Ad Mortem, Ad Vitam - To Death, For Life)’ is a live album & DVD of FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM to be released in the beginning of March and in words of their vocalist and creative force, Carl McCoy: "[The Ceromonies] project is about crystallising a point in time which embodies magical moments created by Fields Of The Nephilim. Having focussed on the live elements over the last few years this represents a closure and regeneration. ‘Ceromonies’ is a representation and remembrance of where the Nephilim is right now, from this point we move forward. We continue to evolve." The release is taken out of the band’s two-night performance in Shepherd’s Bush Empire (London) on 12th and 13th July 2008. The DVD footage was captured by Richard Stanley (also director of Hardware, Dust Devil). From what I can gather from the already released reviews of the visual part of ‘Ceromonies’ it is promising - alongside the feel of the concerts it has been given many visual effects as to permeate it with that special flavour FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM evoked over the years. And indeed there to complement the mystery they shroud themselves with as is fitting because McCoy’s enchantment with the occult hasn’t ceased over the years. Without his deep interest and conviction, even if it’s not what you believe in, their music wouldn’t be as magnificent, captivating and richly atmospheric as it has always been. They might just as well have converted ‘Ceremonies’ into ‘Ceromonies’ because out of all the myths, rituals and beliefs McCoy coined a quite unique brand of “Nephiliac” code together with a distinctive and unforgettable sound.

Let’s get now to the part of material I have an access to, which is the double-album. The first part comes under the heading of ‘Ad Mortem’ - ‘To Death’. The album begins with ‘Shroud’ (Mourning Sun, 2005) which is as always a great opener not only because it sounds so fitting with the subject of death, but because it’s the same invite to foreboding as a fog contrasting the darkness and fear is to any good gothic landscape or soundscape as the case is here. Even though the songs are assembled from the whole time spectrum of their catalogue there seems to be a lot of attention put on continuity and a resemblance of a common thread loosely binding the songs, evident by the lyrics but they also appear to be fitting pieces of puzzle when considering the music. Ranging from the dreamier songs reaching to the hardest peak within the fotn carlmccoymiddle of the album with ‘Penetration’, a song that comes from ‘Zoon’ LP (1996), which was released under moniker of NEFILIM (branded as a ‘newer version of the band’) following some internal disputes, with a more brutal, closer to Metal sound. Though ‘Shine’ (taken from the same album) is softer it shows off harsh edges too and is a good transition in terms of not breaking off the feel too abruptly back to the more ethereal compositions that follow.

What is of interest is how the relatively new line-up worked with the songs of the previous era, and the answer is that they infuse the music with a fresh feel - there is a distinct feel of subtle details added and honed, and yet still they managed to preserve the essence of the songs as the fans had come to love them. Another enticing element is also inclusion of ‘Wail Of Summer & ‘And There Will Your Heart Be Also’ as a token from the rare live performances, both the lingering gold dreams of ‘Elizium’ (1990). The latter especially is a gem of this release, the added detail to the guitar work is something else... ‘Trees Come Down’ (‘From Gehenna To Here’, 2001), a song from their early time, speeds up the sound so not to send you into a slow-lingering day-dreaming reverie too deeply with point of no return. Together with ‘From The Fire’ (‘Fallen’, 2002) in its first quarter the CD offers a wide cut across the time and albums indeed.

Starting off with ENNIO MORRICONE ’Once Upon a Time in the West’ inspired intro ‘Harmonica Man’, ‘Ad Vitam - For Life’ brings right from the past old classic songs as ‘Preacher Man’ (‘Dawnrazor’, 1987), ‘Moonchild’ (‘The Nephilim’ LP, 1988) connecting them into the songs (Requiem, Xiberia, Mourning Sun) from the 2005’s ‘Mourning Sun’ album with one song from ‘Zoon’ again (‘Zoon, Wakeworld’) and a rare addition of ‘Celebrate’ (‘The Nephilim’ LP, 1988). It seems to be a more “specialised” or “zoomed in” regarding the movement of time. The sound feel is more unified than previous part of the album, which is not a comment to mark it as better or worse - it’s just a difference in terms of feel and mood it evokes as a whole. The download version of the release contains another song ‘Last Exit For The Lost’ (‘The Nephilim’ LP, 1988) in this part, which is a bonus track taken from performance at the M’era Luna Festival of 2008.

Of course all these songs will be familiar to all fans of the legendary band... As a I am a long time fan of the band myself and have collected all of their discography, the question posed itself would I want this retrospective too? The answer is a resounding yes. The elements, some of which I have mentioned already - of many of the songs given a slightly more modern feel, new details and depth whilst the songs retain their timelessness about them, the way they fit together and create a whole new experience tipped the scale for me. The production of the album is of a good quality - the sound is clear and unobstructed, the crowd noise brings enough of the concert feel but is never overpowering and is unobtrusive. I consider ‘Mourning Sun’ album to be their masterpiece so it’s with great curiosity to now await and hear what FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM will bring forward in its evolution after this “demarcation”. Intriguing to say the least and made all the more so by this brilliant walk through their past achievements.


Tracklist - ‘Ceromonies Digipack & Double Vinyl

CD 1: Ad Mortem
01. Shroud
02. Straight To The Light
03. From The Fire
04. Penetration
05. Shine
06. Wail Of Sumer
07. And There Will Your Heart Be Also
08. Trees Come Down
09. Psychonaut

CD 2: Ad Vitam
01. Intro (Harmonica Man)
02. Preacher Man
03. Moonchild
04. Requiem
05. Xiberia
06. Zoon (Wakeworld)
07. Mourning Sun
08. Celebrate

DVD (not included in the review)
01. Shroud
02. Straight To The Light
03. From The Fire
04. Penetration
05. Wail Of Sumer
06. And There Will Your Heart Be Also
07. Trees Come Down
08. Moonchild
09. Psychonaut
10. Mourning Sun


Line-up

Carl McCoy – lead vocals
Tom Edwards – lead guitar
‘Snake’ – bass
Gavin King – rhythm guitar
Lee Newell – drums


Websites

http://www.fields-of-the-nephilim.com/ / http://www.myspace.com/fieldsofthenephilim


Cover Picture

fotn ceremonies


Rating

Music: 10
Sound: 10
Total: 10 / 10


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