As monumental and otherworldly as the mythical ancient giants with whom they share their name, Fields Of The Nephilim have been a constant and bewitching presence within the shadows of the music world for the last 30 years. Formed in 1984 by charismatic frontman Carl McCoy, the band have taken many forms and been in a constant state of feverish evolution ever since they first unveiled their unerringly potent and idiosyncratic dark rock sound on their debut ‘Burning The Fields EP’; a record that laid down a unique blueprint for the unearthly delights that followed.
Ostensibly part of the alternative and gothic rock wave that dominated the indie music scene in the mid-80s, the Nephilim have always stood apart from their supposed peers, primarily due to the strength and fortitude of McCoy’s own unique vision.
Early singles like ‘Preacher Man’ and ‘Blue Water’ fizzed with dark urgency and an almost hallucinatory power that transfixed an ever-expanding audience of lost souls craving something more from their music than the vacuous polish and preening that typified the 80s mainstream.
With albums like extraordinary debut ‘Dawnrazor’ and its epic, sprawling follow-up ‘The Nephilim’, the band scored significant chart success; McCoy’s blending of bleak atmospherics, Spaghetti Western imagery and a near-chewable sense of arcane disquiet striking a grim chord with a wide-ranging array of fans from wildly disparate areas of underground culture; from punks and goths to metalheads and art rockers. At the heart of The Nephilim’s appeal, then as now, lies conviction, integrity and a burning desire to illuminate and explore the ominous outer reaches of the human experience.
“For many people that love the band it’s a form of escapism and the music takes them away from real life, but for me it’s very real and it’s been with me as far back as I can recall,” explains McCoy. “When everything else failed me the Nephilim inspired me and gave me light in the darkness. As a musical vessel, we have never sold our soul or changed our tune to achieve major recognition. We always stood apart from everything else that was going on around us. The goth scene embraced us, but then so did many other scenes and subcultures. In the early days the audiences didn’t know how to take us but that is why we did what we wanted to do and certainly were not interested in doing what other bands were doing.”
Following the emergence of the third Nephilim album – the towering, groundbreaking masterpiece that was ‘Elizium’ – and 1991’s stunning live document ‘Earth Inferno’, the band’s story appeared to reach a dead end, as McCoy retreated into the shadows to pursue other projects. He reappeared briefly with a new incarnation of the band, known as The Nefilim, and released the startlingly brutal ‘Zoon’ album in 1996, before vanishing once more to regroup and unearth new inspiration for his ever-febrile creative imagination.
Fields Of The Nephilim were reborn in 2005 with the release of ‘Mourning Sun’, an album of brand new material that redefined and sprinkled new magic across McCoy’s trademark artistry. Buoyed by the ecstatic response from the faithful, the frontman was soon plotting a return to live action and thus a new line-up of this most enthralling of British rock bands hit the stage at London’s legendary Astoria in May 2007, sending the diehard fans into a state of rapturous bliss and flinging open the door to a new era of Nephilim activity.
Since then, the band have been further honing their craft as a formidable live act, delighting audiences across the UK and Europe with mesmerising performances, notably realised on the 2012 live album and DVD ‘Ceromonies’. In 2013 their UK tour included a breathtaking headline performance at Brixton Academy that paved the way for their next chapter – the release of their long-awaited new studio album which will see the light of day when the stars are aligned. The best things are worth the wait…