Fields of the Nephilim
@ O2 Islington Academy, London
17th December 2015
Review by Graham Hilling
Photography by Jo Blackened
Arriving soon after the doors open at the O2 Academy in Islington I’m pretty surprised to find the venue almost deserted, certainly as empty as I’ve ever seen it. It soon becomes apparent that the reason that the venue is so empty is that there is no support this evening and that Fields of the Nephilim will not be coming on for over an hour and a quarter.
Fair play, that explains it! Certainly by the time they eventually do put in an appearance, the venue is pretty much full to the gills! There’s also the fact that Nergal (from Polish death metallers Behemoth) is going to be performing on stage with FOTN that raises the temperature a touch and certainly raises expectations and curiosity.
Clouds of smoke enveloping the stage and some nicely controlled feedback signals the arrival of FOTN, then Carl McCoy appears through the fog to whoops and applause. Now, this is a man who knows how to work an audience without really doing much, he commands the stage even when barely moving.
The set this evening looks pretty short and we’re not really sure when Nergal is going to be on stage either, there’s a rumour he’s on for the first 3 songs (great for the photographers!) but this proves to be just a that- a rumour.
“Dawnrazor” sets the tone and immediately takes us back in time, with the band sounding tight and McCoy looking cool, calm and relaxed.
The songs have been selected to cover the best bits from each album and take us variously backwards and forwards as if we had our own time machine. “Moonchild” and “For Her Light” both sound remarkably fresh. At intervals the stage is filled with smoke, enveloping the band, shrouding them in a thick haze, at times they are completely obscured.
By the time we get to “Zoon III”, we’re all wondering if the inclusion of Nergal was a bit of a wind up! This song highlights a much harder metal sound and is actually from my favourite album in the back catalogue. We’re brought back upto date with “Prophecy” and then the set concludes with “Vet for the Insanne” and “Psychonaut”. It feels like they have only been on stage for a few minites! And still no sign of Nergal.
A brief hiatus and they return to the stage to play “Earthbound”. As the last notes of this are fading, Nergal bursts onto the stage to run through “Penetration”, another song from Zoon whose heavier nature definitely suits the vocal style better.
And as quickly as they appeared they’re gone. The lights stay down for a good while after they have left the stage and the crowd is definitely ready for a second encore. Then word comes from backstage that there will be no further performances and the lights are up and the show is over.
So, what we got was pretty good and I reckon it’s always good leave an audience wanting more, but probably not so good to leave them expecting more. Suspect we have more of the latter than the former tonight which is a shame….
For Her Light
Love Under Will
From the Fire
Zoon III (Wake World)
Vet for the Insane
Full photo-set here: www.flickr.com/photos/altercarnated/albums/72157660247133674