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Fields of the Nephilim are a semi-active English gothic rock/gothic metal band formed in Stevenagemarker, Hertfordshiremarker in 1984. The original line-up consisted of vocalist Carl McCoy, saxophonist Gary Whisker, Tony Pettitt on bass, guitarist Paul Wright and drummer Alexander "Nod" Wright. Following the release of the debut EP Burning the Fields, Whisker left the band to be replaced by Peter Yates as second guitarist. The band's name refers to a Biblical race of giants or angel-human hybrids, known as the Nephilim. Although they have not received substantial mainstream success, the band's seminal sound has proved highly influential, especially in the genre of gothic rock and, later on, gothic metal and rock noir. The current incarnation of the band has released one authorized recording of new material since 1990 and performs infrequently.

Career

Early Years (1984-91)

Fields of the Nephilim's initial sound incorporated elements of hard rock and psychedelic rock, and comprised a bass and guitar driven sound underpinned by McCoy's growled vocals. Lyrically, the band incorporated magical themes, referencing the Cthulhu Mythos, Sumerian Mythology, Chaos Magic and Aleister Crowley.

The band had a "dust and death" image, associated with characters from Sergio Leone's "spaghetti westerns" and often wore cowboy dusters with a weather-beaten look during photoshoots. Their debut EP, Burning the Fields, was released in 1985 by Situation Two Records (an imprint of Beggars Banquet Records). The band "upgraded" to Beggars Banquet Records in 1986 to release "Power" and "Preacher Man", and their first album, Dawnrazor. The next release, "Blue Water", was the first Fields of the Nephilim single to reach the UK charts (#75). It was followed by "Moonchild", lead single from the second LP The Nephilim which reached number 28 in the UK charts.

Psychonaut was released in May 1989 and peaked at number 35; this ten minute track indicated a slight shift for the band toward a more experimental and intense sound. This single/EP was a candle-bearer for the polished and highly produced Elizium (1990) album. Produced by Pink Floyd and David Gilmour's engineer Andy Jackson (taking over from previous band producer Bill Buchanan), the album was preceded by the single "For Her Light", which clipped the British Top 40 in its first week of release. A remixed version of "Sumerland (Dreamed)", released in November 1990, peaked at number 37.

In 1991, the band played their final gigs, a two-day 'Festival of Fire' in London. The final releases of this era are the live CD Earth Inferno and video Visionary Heads, followed by the compilation Revelations.

Departure of McCoy and hiatus (1991-98)

Frontman Carl McCoy 'left' the band in 1991, amid rumours that he'd fallen out with the rest of the band over future direction, and counter-rumours that it was a feign in the hope they could get out of their recording contract owing to disagreements over back royalty payments. The remaining members, together with singer Andy Delaney, did not continue to use the Fields of The Nephilim name and recorded instead under the name Rubicon. The band released two albums before disbanding, What Starts, Ends in 1992 and Room 101 in 1995.

Meanwhile, Carl McCoy formed a new version of the group called The Nefilim with guitarist Paul Miles, drummer Simon Rippin and bassist Cian Houchin. The band played some gigs in 1993, showcasing some of their new material. According to McCoy, the release of their debut album, Zoon, was held back for several years due to disagreements with the record label. Zoon was eventually released in 1996 and featured a distinctly heavier sound than McCoy's previous works.

Reunion and new album (1998-2002)

On August 15, 1998, Carl McCoy and Tony Pettitt held a press conference at the Zillo Festival in Germany, announcing their future plans to collaborate under two separate monikers, Fields of the Nephilim (along with the Wright brothers) and The Nephilim (an altered spelling of McCoy's solo project).

According to different original band members, the band was rehearsing and writing the next Fields of the Nephilim album(with exception of Peter Yates) ,however, the awaited reunion of the original band line up never happened.

In May 2000, McCoy released "One More Nightmare (Trees Come Down)", the first Fields of the Nephilim single under their new label Jungle Records. It contained newly worked versions of "Trees Come Down" and "Darkcell", both originally released on the Burning the Fields EP in 1984.

In 2002, Jungle Records and Metropolis Records released the first Fields of the Nephilim studio album since Elizium, dubbed Fallen. McCoy publicly disassociated himself from the album, claiming that the record label had acted without his direct consent in issuing unfinished works, when the label allegedly breached the terms of his recording contract. Subsequently, Jungle have issued further unauthorised works.

Following the single release, Fields of the Nephilim (now rounded up by former Nefilim members Simon Rippin and Paul Miles) played their first live shows in nine years, appearing at Woodstage, Eurorock, Roskildemarker and Mera Lunamarker music festivals.

The following year, Pettitt was hired as a session player for NFD, after yet another fall out with McCoy. Two new Nephilim demo tracks were leaked to the Internet, allegedly by McCoy himself. The tracks are titled "Dead to the World - The Way That We Were - Thirst" and "Sensorium / Subsanity".

Mourning Sun and beyond (2005–)

Carl McCoy pictured in 2008
Fifteen years after Elizium, Carl McCoy released Mourning Sun, his fourth full-length studio album under the name Fields of the Nephilim. The album was released in Europe on November 28, 2005, with the North American release in April 2006. The album may be seen as a synthesis of the melodic goth rock of Elizium and the aggressive death metal of Zoon. It had seven original songs, with a cover version of "In the Year 2525" – from Zager & Evans – included as a bonus track on the first 5000 copies.

In 2006, some European venues announced a tour was to take place, although this was never officially confirmed by the band. Although a large number of tickets were sold for various dates, none of the gigs occurred. The band took pains to emphasize that they had at no time confirmed these dates with promoters or venues, and reiterated to fans that nobody should buy tickets for such events until they had heard official announcements through the band's website that such live performances were to go ahead.

Mentioned in many interviews following the album Mourning Sun, at least since he started working on the album, McCoy has been working with "ghost musicians" – the musicians whose role supposedly is to co-write and help finish off studio recordings, or to appear at live shows. There has been no lineup or official disclosure of the names of band members so far, apart from John "Capachino" Carter. McCoy has admitted to having applied preprogrammed drums on some of the tracks, stressing at the same time that most of the drum parts "were created by a real human being".

On May 24, 2007, McCoy introduced a live lineup of Fields of the Nephilim, including the so called "ghost musicians" for the first time by performing a gig at the London Astoriamarker. The lineup included Gizz Butt, a former live guitarist for The Prodigy. The night marked the first live performance of several Mourning Sun tracks, as well as the band's first UK show since the Festival of Fire appearances in 1991. According to the band's website, the event was filmed by video director Richard Stanley.

On December 30, 2007, the band appeared at Ville Valo's Helldone festival in Helsinkimarker, Finlandmarker. Steve-Fox Harris, the rhythm guitarist from Astoria, had now been replaced by Gavin King (who had played bass at the Astoria). With Mourning Sun co-writer John 'Capachino' Carter now at his rightful place, the Helldone show also proved to be Butt's last live appearance with The Nephilim.

On 15 March 2008 they played in Warsawmarker, in Klub Stodola and on 21 and 22 March 2008 they performed in Athensmarker, in Gagarin 205. On 11 May 2008, the band headlined the Wave Gotik Treffen festival in Leipzigmarker, playing in the Agra Hall. A DVD entitled Live In Düsseldorf 1991 was released on June 27, 2008. On July 12 and 13, band played two consecutive shows at Shepherd's Bush Empiremarker in London. The well-received shows marked their sole UK appearances for the year, and were again filmed by The Nephilim associate Richard Stanley. In August 2008, Fields of the Nephilim headlined at the M'era Luna Festivalmarker in Hildesheim, Germany, performing in front of 23,000 people.

It was announced officially in April 2009 that John Carter had left the band by mutal agreement. No replacement has yet been officially named, even though the new bass player (allegedly "named Snake") did play with the band at "Amphi Festival" - The Orkus Open Air on Saturday 18 July 2009 - which Fields of the Nephilim headlined.

Representatives of the band's management announced on fan forum Dawnrazor that a live DVD featuring performances from the live shows in 2007–08 is nearing completion. Somewhat later, half a dozen tracks from previous live shows appeared on the forum as downloads. No official comment has been given as to whether or not this was a viral marketing effort or an unauthorized leak.

Most recently, Fields of the Nephilim have been confirmed to headline Hellfire 2 in November 2009. The Birminghammarker-based festival will be organized by their manager and label head, Rob Ferguson.

Band members

1984-91
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1997-present
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Legacy

In 2001, Nod and Paul Wright formed a new band, Last Rites, and have released two full-length albums to date, Guided by Light and The Many Forms. After the Zoon-era fellow NEFILIM survivors Cian Houchin went on to form Saints of Eden, while Paul Miles and Simon Rippin formed Sensorium, naming it after an unreleased Nefilim demo track.

Tony Pettitt currently plays bass with the band NFD, along with former Sensorium member Peter "Bob" White. NFD released the full-length No Love Lost in 2005, Dead Pool Rising in 2006 and Deeper Visions in 2008.

Tony Pettitt and ex NFD guitarist Stephen Carey (Adoration) joined together to form The Eden House, collaborating with artists including Julianne Regan (All About Eve), Monica Richards from Faith and the Muse, Bob Loveday (violinist of Bob Geldof's band), as well as Pink Floyd's Grammy nominated sound engineer Andy Jackson, who now plays guitar with The Eden House. They released their debut album The Eden House: Smoke & Mirrors in April 2009.

Parody

From 1988, during the band's period of mainstream attention following the release of Dawnrazor and Psychonaut, the British music newspaper Melody Maker began to run various spoof articles about the band. This culminated in a regular feature called The Nod Corner which purported to be written by Nephilim drummer Nod Wright.

The Nod Corner regularly debunked the band's baleful and dramatic image. Carl McCoy was presented as a brooding, pretentious, egomaniacal martinet obsessed with mythology and apparently unable to distinguish between image and reality. In contrast, Nod was portrayed as an earnest and incurably naive figure, perpetually eager to please McCoy. His efforts, however, were consistently sabotaged by the remaining band members - Paul Wright, Yates and Pettitt - who were generally referred to as "the uvvers" and presented as giggling, relentless practical jokers devoted to embarrassing both Nod and McCoy.

The fictional Nod's assorted misadventures always began as attempts to advance the band's fortunes (or, more often, to indulge McCoy's whims), but quickly degenerated into slapstick and failure, usually due to deliberate manipulation and/or misinformation from "the uvvers". His disastrous actions included accidentally urinating on the flour used to dust McCoy's costumes, swapping the band's intro tape for a recording of the theme tune from It Ain't Half Hot Mum, and feeding McCoy's priceless scarab ornament to a dog. Invariably, his efforts ended in embarrassment and a disciplinary punishment of "ten press-ups" meted out by McCoy.

The final Nod's Corner was published in 1991, immediately following McCoy's departure from the band (The spoof storyline on this occasion was that McCoy's exit had been prompted by Nod having been tricked into relaunching the band as an EMF-style "techno-baggy" group).

Nod Wright appeared to take the spoof graciously (perhaps recognising that it helped to maintain the band's profile with both press and broader public). At one point, he took advantage of the affection and recognition generated by the spoofs in order to gain an interview of his own in Melody Maker, in which he was treated more seriously and was given due credit for his integral contribution to the band's music.

Discography

Albums

Year Title UK Indie Chart Position UK Chart Position
May 1987 Dawnrazor #1 dnc
Sep 1988 The Nephilim #2 #14
Sep 1990 Elizium #22
Apr 1991 Earth Inferno (live)
Oct 1996 Zoon #39
Oct 2002 Fallen
Nov 2005 Mourning Sun


Singles

Year Title UK Indie Chart Position UK Chart Position
Oct 1986 "Power" #24 dnc
Apr 1987 "Preacher Man" #2 dnc
Jul 1987 "Burning The Fields (EP)" #2 dnc
Oct 1987 "Blue Water" #1 #75
Jun 1988 "Moonchild" #1 #28
May 1989 "Psychonaut" #2 #35
Jul 1990 "For Her Light" #54
Nov 1990 "Sumerland (Dreamed)" #37
May 2000 "One More Nightmare (Trees Come Down A.D.)" #86
Sep 2002 "From The Fire" #62


Other releases



Videos

  • Forever Remain, 1988 (live)
  • Morphic Fields, 1989
  • Visionary Heads, 1991 (live)
  • Revelations, 1993
  • Revelations/Forever Remain/Visionary heads, 2002 Compilation DVD


References

  1. Carl McCoy in Orkus Magazine, 1998, mentioning the album "could have appeared four years earlier". Accessed through Sumerland on July 28th, 2009.
  2. Sumerland: Press: Zillo Press Conference
  3. "Some of the percussion, situated at the bottom of the mix, was indeed programmed. Other parts were played on line. But for the most part, the rhythmic ones were created by a real human being", from the interview by Emmanuel Hennequin in D-Side magazine, Issue 31, November-December 2005, http://sumerland.devin.com/articles/carl-dside-2005.shtml
  4. "apparently the new bassist who replaced John Carter onstage at Amphi is a gentleman named Snake", http://sumerland.devin.com/news.shtml
  5. The Eden House website
  6. Press page on Sumerland fanpage, containing links to Nod's Corner article transcriptions, accessed July 21, 2009
  7. 'The Nod Corner' - article in Melody Maker, December 1989 (hosted on [1])


External links



See also




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