Themes From Great Cities

It might have come to your attention that I'm not a regular poster of love and understanding, which you will just have to get used to. I will however, have bursts of creativity where I move completely randomly from post to post with no rhyme or reason. I have recently posted a few singles (7 & 12”) and the odd bootleg which have been received very well by all who visit. More of the same will continue as you, dear readers, seem to be enjoying them.

Some of the rips are my own, but many more are from other blogs and I’m just sharing the wealth. If other bloggers out there wish to share the rips from my posts, please as I do, host them yourself. To combat this, the FLAC files that are over 6 months old will be replaced with MP3 files.

Finally I am happy to re-up old posts where the link has expired. Please comment in the relevant posts comments box.


Once Upon A Time In The West

Losing the saxophone player from earlier EPs and taking advantage of better budgets and studios, the Nephilim on their first full album established themselves as serious contenders in the Goth world. It certainly didn't hurt having signed to Beggars Banquet, home of such acts as Bauhaus and the Cult, though the more obvious source of the Nephilim's sound at this point was The Sisters of Mercy, various attempts to deny it aside. Like Eldritch's crew, the Nephilim fivesome weren't aiming just for the clad-in-black audience, but at being a great group in general; while that goal wasn't quite achieved on Dawnrazor, the band came very close. With sympathetic and evocative production throughout by Bill Buchanan, the album strongly showcases another chief element of the Nephilim's sound: Ennio Morricone. The at-the-time totally outrageous fusion of smoky, cinematic spaghetti western guitars with the doom-wracked ominous flavour of the music in general, not to mention McCoy's growled invocations of pagan ceremonies and mystic energy, provoked a lot of merriment from outside observers. The Nephilim stuck to their guns, though, and by wisely never cracking a smile on this album, they avoided the cheap ironic way out. Songs here which would become classics in the band's repertoire included the fiery "Preacher Man," which sounds like what would happen if Sergio Leone filmed a Stephen King story; the quick, dark gallop of "Power" (originally a separate single, then added to the album on later pressings); and the slow, powerful build of the title track, featuring McCoy practically calling the demons down on his head. For all of the undeniable musicianship and storming fury of the songs, sometimes things just get a little too goofy for words, as revealed in a classic, unintentionally hilarious lyric by McCoy from "Vet for the Insane": "The flowers in the kitchen...WEEP for you!."

A grating buzz-saw guitar riff echoes over the windswept landscape as five shadowy figures emerge out of the dust clouds and walk slowly but purposefully towards the camera. Their grimy duster coats flap in the wind as they arrange themselves in a line and coldly regard the young boy staring up at them from the corpse littered farm. Frank's icy blue eyes stare down at the child as he considers whether to blow him away.

You can do a lot worse than base your band's image on one of the most enduring portraits from movie history. Henry Fonda's famous villainous turn in Sergio Leone's masterpiece 'Once Upon A Time In The West' shocked audiences across the world on its release in 1968. Goth act Fields Of The Nephilim took note of the strong imagery and duly adopted the dusters and cowboy hats for their live shows. Replace the dust with copious amounts of dry ice and the guns for musical instruments and you have a fair idea of how the band announced their presence on stage from venue to venue. 'The Nephs' were indeed an electric live act during their peak. This album, their debut, attempted to capture their energy and vitality in a studio setting. Sadly, the overall package proved to be a rather diluted representation of their latent power.
Not content to merely base their image and stage show on the aforementioned film this album opens with a piece of music lifted straight from Ennio Morricone's soundtrack. 'Harmonica Man' sets the scene admirably with its haunting abrasive guitar and slow crescendo but unfortunately the anticipation engendered by this classic opening falls somewhat flat as the band launch into 'Slow Kill'. The song itself is a decent slice of mid-tempo goth rock which proved to be a real belter in a live setting but the lacklustre production on here renders it murky and soft around the edges. Throughout the album the overdriven guitar sounds are far too indistinct and lost in the mix which sadly pulls the teeth from a lot of the performances. The classic 'Dust', with its memorable bass line and stomping rhythm, is similairly reduced to a leaden imitation of its stage cousin. Front-man Carl McCoy's voice cuts through the gloom on a number of the tracks but even the potential of his deep guttural rumble is largely wasted.
This isn't a bad album at all. The Nephs ear for a good pounding melody and the partly successful application of a suitably dark and atmospheric soundscape go some way to making this a convincing debut. Maybe the neutering of their groundshaking live sound was a conscious attempt to make things more palatable to the masses but in any case this was largely a missed opportunity.

Ripped from a CD left lying around in a pile of flour to MP3 @ 320kbps

1.     Intro (The Harmonica Man)
2.     Slow Kill
3.     Laura II
4.     Preacher Man
5.     Volcane (Mr. Jealousy Has Returned)
6.     Vet For The Insane
7.     Secrets
8.     Dust
9.     Reanimator
10. Power
11.  The Tower
12.  Dawnrazor
13.  The Sequel