Fallen Fields of the Nephilim

This being their first studio album in over a decade, the question that begs to be asked is: should it have happened at all? After splitting in 1990 to pursue other projects, this English goth rock fivesome have been whittled down to a duo (just Carl McCoy on vocals and Tony Pettitt on bass), with the others returning as guests. Although the ten songs plod along at an even pace, it appears as if our gritty, cowboy hat wearin’, dust eatin’ heroes of goth-dom have lost the edge we love them for. Maybe it was the whole enigmatic cowboy/goth thing in the first place, I don’t know. Where are those anthems that would fill the dance floor with even the most mopey of the big haired? Here it seems as if McCoy is rehearsing his sub-octave growling for an audition with a death metal band. Okay, okay, it would be unfair not to mention the odd bit of crunchy guitar and melodic arrangement, and the goth sound does resurface briefly during "Hollow Doll,” but the metal quotient weighs a little to hard here for my tender ears. If they were going to change their sound in any way at all, they should have thrown in a keyboard or two and done away with the chugging death-rock guitar. (Metropolis)