Fields of the Nephilim “Elizium” (1990)

This is humongous milestone in the world of dark rock/ metal music. The reverberations are still felt today, every time someone combines darkness and aggression with dreamy landscapes. At first, I was thinking of reviewing this for the Beyond the Border section but upon revisiting the record, found it to be more of a metal release. You will be surprised how original and relevant this record still sounds 17 years after its release, and stands in contrast to what was making the rounds then and now.

Imagine the underlying darkness and edginess of the best of early eighties gothic / new wave scene. Now infuse it with the guitar intricacy of Iron Maiden (suitably reverbed and twanged). Add a blanket of doom metal and ethereal dream rock to the proceedings, and wrap the package up in a lush floydian production (Pink Floyd produces Andy Jackson does the honours), complete with segues and samples. Voila! You have a post-modern dark metal/rock masterpiece. Combine this with Lovecraftian and Crowlian imagery referencing multitudes of esoteric lore, yet making it all sound personal, and you have THE ALBUM.

The intro “Dead but Dreaming” is a sufficiently epic glimpse of things to come and then jumps right into the more traditional and rocking “For Her Light” which is nevertheless a behemoth tune, and dark enough to turn day to night. Instead of relying on cheesy theatrics and clich és so rampant in gothic rock and metal, this music is steeped in a blackness of the soul. The winning ace is Carl Mc Coy’s extremely low and heavy shamanistic voice, that’s whispers, moans, sings and growls in equal parts. It segues beautifully with arpeggios and samples into “At the Gates of Silent Memory”, which is kind of song that can make one cry if truly listened (and being the kind of guy I am , i cannot say this for any other song). Strangely, the song writing gets more epic, and the occult subject matter more apparent as the album progresses. When “Submission” explodes with one of the best guitar solos ever (Paul Wright broke his whammy et al during this), it is hard to even pick one’s jaw from the floor. Further twists and turns including the dreamy nostalgia of “Summerland”, lead to the heart-wrenching and epic closer “And There Will Your Heart Be Also”. And it is over too soon. You just have to press play. I hope I have emphasized how dark and rocking this manages to be while still being dreamy, emotional and lush.

All the musicians involved are the absolute top of their game, and everything produced after this by them has always been something of a letdown when compared to this work.

And for those metal heads who still do not get it and may need further endorsement, everyone from Moonspell, Celtic Frost, Tiamat, Katatonia and Paradise Lost to Mindrot have cited this as an influence. So if you have not heard it, get it NOW!!!



Release:  October 1990
Label:  Beggars Banquet Records
Avantgenre:  Progressive Dark Rock
Duration:  49 Minutes
Origin:  UK
Official site:
Review online since:  25.09.2007 / 06:59:28


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 Sumer
09 – And There Will Your Heart Be Also

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