Rating:
8.5
Fields Of The Nephilim - Elizium
October 1990


01. Dead But Dreaming
02. For Her Light
03. At The Gates Of Silent Memory
04. Paradise Regained
05. Submission
06. Sumerland (What Dreams May Come)
07. Wail Of Summer
08. And There Will Your Heart Be Also


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.

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 8


Band profile: Fields Of The Nephilim
Album: Elizium


 


written by Slayer666 | 23.09.2011


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.



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Milena - 23.09.2011 at 15:29  
You write reviews like crazy I'm soon to get into these guys actually.
Slayer666 - 23.09.2011 at 20:29  
Written by Milena on 23.09.2011 at 15:29

You write reviews like crazy I'm soon to get into these guys actually.

Hop to it, then. They're awesome. Might want to skip the Zoon album, it's actually McCoy's solo project, it's more industrial/death metal, really not that good compared to the rest.
Milena - 24.09.2011 at 01:01  
Written by Slayer666 on 23.09.2011 at 20:29

Written by Milena on 23.09.2011 at 15:29

You write reviews like crazy I'm soon to get into these guys actually.

Hop to it, then. They're awesome. Might want to skip the Zoon album, it's actually McCoy's solo project, it's more industrial/death metal, really not that good compared to the rest.

Currently I'm on a melodeath roll, will skip right to them when I'm in a darker mood and I'll be sure to follow recommendations
jupitreas - 24.09.2011 at 11:49  
I beg to differ regarding how you claim the album drags. Are "Submission" and "Sumerland" really devoid of dynamics? I don't think they are, the Nephilim merely choose to present everything in a uniquely ritualistic way, but those songs still certainly do have riffs and a lot of rock energy. The final song(s) is also way too perfect and glorious an achievement if you take into consideration the underlying concept behind this album for it to ever drag.

"Elizium" is one of the best albums ever released by any band and although I don't agree with this review in its entirety, its good that its still receiving some attention.
Stuart - 30.09.2011 at 09:56  
Written by jupitreas on 24.09.2011 at 11:49

I beg to differ regarding how you claim the album drags.

agreed, i think the album just gets better and better whilst you're listening to it.
Slayer666 - 30.09.2011 at 10:50  
I said the album sometimes tends to drag a bit. This is only a minor quirk in 1 track, 2 tops.
Something that has a flaw even remotely serious as dragging often would never receive a mark of 8.5. Not in my review.
matai65 - 31.12.2012 at 08:51  
Stunning album,one of my alltime favourites.Beautiful etherial music,never fails to do it for me everytime.

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