Review Summary: Taking one step forward and two steps back...
Here we have a very difficult situation. The band’s “mid-season” as defined by albums that followed Draconian Times up until this one, is highly controversial and by right. The band that not only defined Gothic Metal sound but also marked the whole metal genre with two of the greatest metal albums ever (you know which ones) has taken a shocking turn to more mainstream and electronic sound. In their previous album, Host, the even used the same producer with Depeche mode…
Normally I wouldn’t mind hearing something fresh and more experimental from a band like Paradise Lost. I definitely choose change that repetition every day as long as it is done right. And unfortunately Paradise Lost weren’t good at that. So, they heard their fans complaints and promised them to return to their roots. If only they knew, that this “return” (how many times have we heard that in the last decade") would take another 9 years to complete!
Back to the album now. Despite turning to more guitar driven songs, Paradise Lost keeps their initial gothic influences, the gloomy atmosphere, the heavy moments, the memorable melodies and the high quality lyrics. That is, they keep the good part. One could imagine that this would really highlight a return to the roots (maybe that is what the band was aiming for anyway) but the final outcome sounds like a heavier Host.
The songs are neither complicated nor difficult to reach. The melodies are really catchy and the guitars have taken at last the upper hand following the classic rock Verse – Bridge – Chorus-Verse 2 etc structure. Nick Holmes sounds like James Hetfield like never before, still his personal touch and passionate singing has always been a great bonus for the band. Believe in Nothing poses no exception to that.
The album begins with a beautiful up tempo song (I am Nothing) and picks with Sell it to the World, the more fast paced song of the album (a rare example on their entire discography anyway). In between, we‘ll find songs like Mouth and Fader that – if I m not mistake- became singles, that are nothing special and only scratch the surface. I believe that much of the disappointment this album produced derives from songs like these two, easy listening-radio friendly-no depth rock. Fortunately, Illumination brings one of the best moments of the album. It’s an exceptional gothic rock song that proves that Paradise Lost is still capable of producing dark and gloomy moments (not that they needed to prove anything to anyone of course!).
Sadly, from their on, the album includes no stand-out tracks, and the situation is saved only by the final song, “World Pretending, that is by far the most doomy, slow and promising (for their later works) song, as well as my personal favourite. In this song, Paradise Lost, prove that they didn’t forget to write good songs. In their later efforts they will erase any suspicion anyway.
Overall, Believe in Nothing might have let down the overwhelming majority of the band’s fan base – as it included mainly radio friendly songs with no depth, still it left a glimpse of hope for the next releases and contained some pretty good moments that proved widely that Paradise Lost never forgot how to be good song writers.
I Am Nothing
Sell It to the World