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This sounds like a collection of bad outtakes from Host - 51%

lukretion, April 21st, 2020
Written based on this version: 2001, CD, EMI

"Believe in Nothing" is probably the worst Paradise Lost's album to date. It keeps proposing the light alt/goth rock sound that they started pioneering on "One Second" and the sleek string arrangements and production of follow-up album "Host". I quite like those two albums, they sound genuine and sincere, and show a band trying to push the boundaries of their own sound, which is always commendable.

With "BiN" the evolution stops quite abruptly. Most songs are very similar in style to those on Host. But they lack the energy and inspiration. It's as if PL, without a genuine inspiration for new music, were trying to plagiarize themselves by reproducing their previous album "Host" (and indeed in some interviews guitarist Greg Mackintosh hinted to the band being under pressure from the record label when they recorded this album).

There are subtle differences, but they do not add much value to the album. The songs are trying to be a bit more alternative and aggressive, with the guitars more to the fore (they were basically absent in "Host"). But this does not make up for the nearly complete absence of even remotely decent melodies. It must have been really hard to fail to come up with a single melodic hook that is good and memorable across a whole 12 songs! Singer Nick Holmes sounds uninspired, flat and forced throughout. His clean vocals have always been a bit frail (not in a good way), even on the previous two albums, but they had their own charm. Here he just sounds like a bad singer. Another thing that does not help is that the songs are too long (3 to 4 minutes) with a simple verse-(bad)chorus-verse structure repeated over and over. It is a really boring experience to sit through this album.

There are only three songs that I would save: opener "I am Nothing" and the two "darker" tracks "Divided" (but here the production, with the strings arrangements all over the place, is not really what the song needs) and "World Pretending". These songs show a little bit more personality and feel more genuine than the rest, which is instead flat, mediocre and unmemorable.

In 2018 the band released a remastered version of the album, I have not listened to it, but I cannot see how this could improve on the earlier release since the main problem here is not much with the production but the music itself.

Far behind the swarm - 58%

gasmask_colostomy, March 4th, 2019
Written based on this version: 2018, CD, Nuclear Blast (Limited edition, Reissue, Remastered, Digipak)

The steps that Paradise Lost took after the release of One Second in 1997 bear restating. Utilizing more of the emergent electronics on Host, by the time the English group’s eighth album rolled around, little of their original sound could be heard. Believe in Nothing aimed more squarely for general rock populism, investing heavily in clean vocals and rigid song structures designed for the radio. That said, EMI also pushed the Englishmen for more single material, leading to the insertions of ‘Mouth’, ‘Fader’, and ‘Sell It to the World’ into the tracklisting.

‘Mouth’ plays out like an ordinary rock song comparable to Seether and the post-grunge movement, while ‘Fader’ crosses over into the stagnating trend of Britpop with its clean guitars reaching out to Oasis. The last of the three singles has that particular touch of the band, along with a flicker of darkness, but it stands in the minority on the album. Although not the same kind as on other Paradise Lost albums, some heaviness can be ascribed to ‘No Reason’ and ‘Control’. The difference mainly is in the pacing of the songs, since the slow closer ‘World Pretending’ harks back to the moods and structures of Draconian Times without the same focus on guitars. Finally, the pronounced electronics of ‘Look at Me Now’ even verges on industrial, leaving a varied album of material ranging from interesting to forgettable.

For Believe in Nothing to be reissued by Nuclear Blast now seems unnecessary, to say the least. Remastering a well-produced album feels slightly pointless, while little can be gained for exposing how out of step with the times Paradise Lost were at the turn of the century. Even the bonus tracks were previously available, though gathering the moody ‘Gone’ and gently anthemic ‘Leave This Alone’ onto a common disc for the first time may gratify some fans. The new cover art brings the aesthetic more in line with the band’s other work, but this is of limited value for Paradise Lost followers.

Originally written for Metalegion #4 -

Boring Wreckage - 49%

Tomb_of_Cunt, December 5th, 2012

I have a lot of respect for Paradise Lost and there are a few of their albums that I really love, but this album is really the weak one in their discography. The first two tracks are quite good. I really enjoy the slow and steady rhythms, the lazy subtle-aggressive vocals of Holmes and the general gothic/hard-rock atmosphere of these two tracks, but after this, the album melts into boring wreckage.

In general there are no real innovative moments and I must say that I think that this album was a way for the band to get a quick breakaway vacation from their usual sound. Not that Paradise Lost really has just one, usual sound, but they do have a certain approach that usually has a unique distinction. I don’t know if this album really is gothic rock or metal. I think it should rather be classified as alternative rock with some hard rock and nu-metal influences. Usually the vocals of Nick Holmes are quite strong and aggressive, but on most of the tracks his voice becomes irritating and it is as if he just wants to drag along with a band in the background that uses an impotent sound. The guitars are nothing to get excited about – there are a few strong rhythms here and there, maybe a good solo or two, but no real stuff that makes you go “holy shit, that’s good!”

Considering the title of this album, I really think the band could have come up with something more powerful. The title – “believe in nothing” – is something that might sound like an atheistic cliché, but I think a lot of people will agree that it is a title that attracts attention and has some shock-value. I expected very heavy distorted guitars, dark ambient keyboards and very aggressive vocals, like on the later masterpiece titled “In Requiem”. Instead, this album shows a very mellow, almost emo side of Paradise Lost, that does not really fit with their general stern, gothic approach.

I think the biggest thing bothering me about this album is the conventional approach. Here and there, it sounds like Holmes wants to go over to the kind of bullshit that bands like Seether does. For a gothic rock band, most of the songs on this album have a very conventional kind of construction and sound. The conventionality of the sound manifests in the way that the guitars play – no real switching to unexpected solos, riffs and effects, but usual riffs just in order to produce a sound. No real distinctive synthesizers and the drums are just there to keep a rhythm in the background – it contributes no real atmosphere or effect. The conventionality of the structure of each song is something that every popular outfit does – introduction, some sugar-coated vocals, maybe a short solo and then it ends with notes fading away.

If it ever happens that I have to introduce someone to the music of Paradise Lost, then I will certainly give this album a skip. Newcomers should rather listen to the real powerful masterpieces in their discography, like “In Requiem”, “One Second” and many others.

The title is better than the music... - 59%

grimdoom, October 7th, 2007

Bland, mediocre and rather uninspired with a few glints of light here and there is the best way to describe the ‘Alternative’ album from PL.

The production is pretty good, on par with ‘Host’. You can actually hear the guitars and they’re usually distorted and/or over driven with acute effects added here and there to good effect. The bass sounds rather standard and the drums more or less pick up where they left off from ‘One Second’.

With that being said, the leads are ok and fit the songs, but the riffs and songs over all sound weak and boring. This is a poppier/happier version of almost anything you would have heard/seen on MTV during the mid to late nineties (with better production of course). Also there are less electronic sounds on this than there were on the prior two releases.

The songs are in the verse, chorus, verse format almost too a sickening degree. This albums’ sound is honestly more of a harder alternative sound. It’s original but not what you want to hear from PL. There are a few “heavy” moments, specifically on ‘Sell it to the World’, but that’s more of a bass heavy, “heavy” sound.

The vocals are clean and more inline with ‘One Second’ (meaning they probably sucked live!). This is by far the worst album ever put out by these former gods of Doom. If you’re a completist then this is a suggested listen, but be for warned: this is alternative at best and their last non-Metal release.

I believe we have a winner. - 90%

austin, September 4th, 2002

No doubt fans of Paradise Lost's older material were collectively scratching their noggins when the band released One Second in '97. The album marked a drastic change in style, perhaps abandoning the metal genre completely with it's synthesizers, the Pop-ish vocals and quiet to non-existant guitars. Well, some might find comfort in knowing that by 2001 the band has thrown the guitars back into the mix, but the band's new style still remains intact.

The music is infectious. These songs seem to grab you by the head and whisper in your ear, "Sing along to us." From start to finish, the album delivers. Sure, there are the obvious hits like 'Mouth' and 'Fader' which made the cut to single status, but, in my opinion, they only scratch the surface. 'I Am Nothing' has one of the most singable choruses on the album, 'Never Again' slowly and softly builds up to an eerie, chant-like chorus, while 'World Pretending' offers some of Holmes' best (and most unique) vocal deliveries. Plus there are some cool little string additions sprinkled tastefully onto a handfull of the songs ('Divided', for instance, is a great example) to spice things up.

Good songwriting aside, This album shows us a more cohesive and perfected Paradise Lost, like they're finally comfortable with their new style (Believe in Nothing feels like what PL was trying to do on 'One Second' but they just couldn't get it right at the time). Holmes has developed into quite a singer, but his "radio-friendly" voice might turn off some, which might make or break this album for you because the vocals are pretty much the most prominent thing here. Overall, though, this is a great album and has been spinning in my CD player over and over since I bought it. Recommended.