Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Fields of the Nephilim - From Gehenna to Here

4/10

This is a compilation containing the band's early EPs (Burning the Fields and Return to Gehenna) in their entirety- I think there's another release containing the exact same material, but in slightly different order.
Burning the Fields is absolutely horrible. The production is godawful, with pops, clicks and tape hiss out the wazoo and drums that sound tinny as hell. Frontman Carl McCoy just sounds insanely wimpy; while later releases would show that he was a powerful baritone, there's none of that in evidence here. There's also a horribly played saxophone which is just completely out-of place, and one track has a "funky" bass tone which doesn't jibe with the rest of the song at all. I find it hard to believe that this was actually released and not just a demo. If I were reviewing each EP separately, I'd give this a 2 out of 10.
Returning to Gehenna is a considerable improvement (just contrast the two versions of Laura to see how much better the second EP is), but I can't consider it essential because four out of its five tracks are on the CD version of Dawnrazor, the band's full-length debut (I'll discuss those songs at length in my next review). The only one that isn't (also titled "Returning to Gehenna") is a re-working of a song from the first EP, and not much better than the original- although the production is considerably better, it's also got the out-of-tune sax and fruity McCoy vocal performance. I would give this a 7 out of 10 on its own.
So out of nine songs, four are abominable and four are available elsewhere. Overall, this gets a 4.5 from me, rounded down because most of the best songs are available on the Dawnrazor CD. Although a good chunk of the material here is fairly decent, I'd have to say that this is for completists only.

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