Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Job For A Cowboy:

When is the last time you could consider a goth band to be truly "baddass?" Well, if you ran into any of the members of Fields Of The Nephilim you might know what I'm talking about. Taking the melancholy, somber tone of early British gothic rock and merging it with a low-slung Ennio Morricone kind of vibe, Nephilim (as they were later known as) were masters of fusing two perfect worlds together to create their own mysterious landscape. It didn't hurt that they had a killer dusty cowboy image that turned more than a few heads. Let's face it, while most bands of this ilk were more interested in hiding in the shadows, these guys stood in the light and just oozed cool.

DAWNRAZOR (great title!) was their first proper full-length album and it's a scorcher from start to finish. The majority of it is quite upbeat and full of a bristling crackling energy. The guitars chime with a melodic clean tone and show a lot of subtlety in the attack. The bass rumbles along and anchors the songs with cold finesse as the drums (which, at times sound somewhat hampered by an 80's production) build up tasteful tension and release. The vocals are truly great; a rugged, coarse and throaty concoction that fits the direction and sound of this band so well.

***In fact, as I'm listening to this again right now, parallels between Joy Division are almost impossible to disregard. Certainly, both bands were totally different entities, but I can't help but to notice how their visions seem to converge in on each other's shade.

Creaky soundscapes that evoke images of wild western towns in the grip of outlaw vigilantes, forgotten men telling spectre tales under a bone white moon with nothing but a bottle of whiskey and all the time in the world, cow skulls on the road and footprints in the dust.

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