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NEW KIDS IN TOWN

Gloom & Doom, British Style

February 14, 1988|CRAIG LEE

Band: Fields of the Nephilim.

Personnel: Carl McCoy, vocals; Tony Pettit, bass; Peter Yates, guitar; Paul Wright, guitar; Nod Wright, drums.

History: Since forming two years ago, this British band, with a theatrical stage show and the kind of doomy sinister sound favored by disaffected English youth, has been a consistent favorite in the English independent scene. Two of the groups singles on the Beggars Banquet label, "Preacher Man" and "Blue Water," made No. 1 on the English independent charts. The groups debut album, "Dawnrazor," was released last Spring, also topping the indie charts, and was recently named last year's top independent album by the English pop music paper, Melody Maker. RCA has recently issued a special American edition of "Dawnrazor" which includes the two British hits.

Sound: Though they look like the good, the bad and the ugly, the Nephilim go in for the dark, the sad and the gloomy. Vocalist Carl McCoy's deep, low, quavering vocals perfectly replicate those of Andrew Eldritch, the singer in gothic-rock forerunners the Sisters of Mercy, a group whom the Fields of the Nephilim have assiduously studied. Also studied is the lyrical content: "Dawnrazor" presents a dark arts parable with Mr. Evil triumphing over Mr. Good in songs like "Preacher Man" as the circular guitar lines and thick atmospherics lock into a propulsively sinister groove. Listening to cheap horror film tributes ("Re-Animator") or spook-house chants like "We're gonna get you" in "Vet for the Insane," one senses this pack of dusty ghoulies lacks any sense of self-parody about their dire doom-mongering. And that's the most frightening aspect of the Fields of the Nephilim.

Shows: Monday at the Roxy.

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