Paradise Lost originally released their eighth studio album, ‘Believe in Nothing,’ in 2001. Although not as directly a descendent of Depeche Mode as the previous album ‘Host,’ ‘Believe in Nothing’ nevertheless continued to focus more strongly on the Gothic element of Paradise Lost’s brand of Gothic Metal. It was an album where the band had little to no creative control, driven purely by the label. As such, one of the things the band were ultimately displeased with was the production. Vocalist Nick Holmes recently commented, “It’s no secret that we were never entirely happy with the production on this record, despite really liking the songs. It’s been a long time coming, but we finally found the right moment to go back into the studio with Gomez (Orgone Studios) and play around with it.” The result is a remix and remaster that firmly focuses on the Gothic elements of the album, picking up the strong influences of The Sisters of Mercy, Type O Negative and more.
The strength and crispness of Greg Mackintosh’s guitars and keys are immediately apparent in album opener I am Nothing. There is tremendous clarity to Aaron Aedy’s riffs, with the electronic backing also distinct. Holmes’ voice is very clear, though perhaps a touch too buried in the sharp guitar tones. Steve Edmondson’s heavy bass establishes another very distinct presence, while Lee Morris’ drums seem surprisingly low in the mix. His vocal harmonies with Holmes, however, are strong and resonant, while Mackintosh’s lead guitars unfortunately still seem to suffer relative to Aedy’s riffs.
The new production on Mouth brings surprising clarity to a song that embeds intentional murkiness and fuzz, but the new version still manages to keep hold of the ethos of the song. Mouth is sonically emotive with plaintive electronics and strong, expressive vocals, while at the same time the guitars still very dominant in the mix. The bridge particularly shows off the more modern production, though Morris’ drums remain restrained in the mix, a factor throughout the majority of the album.
The more downbeat Fader enters with an almost Steven Wilson feel, with its deep-bodied piano and drums that seem more prominent in this overall lighter track. This is the first track where the listener will find that the new production really works on the more Gothic side of Paradise Lost.
The electronically-driven, Goth club-esque Look at me Now harks back to the Paradise Lost of ‘Host,’ and really works in this crunch and bass-heavy mode. Holmes’ slightly more produced vocals are used to advantage in this song, which is one of the most magnificent tracks on the album in terms of sound. The depth, reverb and beat conjure images of a cavernous “Batcave” of a club venue.
The higher guitar parts of Illumination raise the spectre of The Sisters of Mercy, while the deep parts are more reminiscent of Type O Negative. Holmes takes the lead more strongly in this very downbeat number, while Edmondson brings back his powerful bass presence. There is even an undertone of Marilyn Manson as the background electronic elements darken rather than brighten the mood.
The eerie elements of Something Real unfortunately remain a little lost beneath the punchy heaviness of the guitars; however, Holmes’ voice is powerful and haunting, with the track overall providing equal senses of anguish and urgency, always feeling on the edge of some tipping point.
The Goth rock is strong with Divided, with additional symphonic elements adding superb weight and gravitas. There is a welcome focus on Holmes’ vocals and Mackintosh’s electronics, with the guitars still prominent but in their place. Divided without a doubt proves one of the darkest and most pained, depressive songs on the album – which for Paradise Lost, is certainly saying something.
Sell it to the World reintroduces the club-style deep bass and drums, along with fast-paced and crunchy guitars. Edmondson’s bass practically takes the lead part in this song, with the guitars following. Sell it to the World has a desperate energy about it, with a touch of Peter Steele to the dark and distant vocals deeper into the track.
The creepy and haunting Never Again brings absolutely wonderful body into Mackintosh’s piano work, developing an atmosphere that is almost impenetrable. Never Again is another very dark track, with a sound so deep and bold as to be almost overwhelming before giving way to beguilingly beautiful strings.
Holmes’ vocals get a little buried again in the downbeat and bass-driven Control, though there are moments of distinct clarity. No Reason on the other hand is very drum-focused, with Morris’ work deep and powerful in the mix. With great clarity in the bottom end of the guitars No Reason is another very dense track, with Mackintosh’s lead guitar again oddly low compared to Aedy’s riffs.
The album closes with the slow, deep and heavy World Pretending, which is anything extends the already depressive nature of influences such as Type O Negative with its dark piano and bass, and plaintive vocals.
‘Believe in Nothing’ is, overall, a powerful album well worth revisiting and finally presenting in a manner that the band can be happy with. While even this remix and remaster may not be perfect in its sonic emphases, it certainly brings the album admirably forward into 2018. There isn’t a weak number on this album, so hopefully this re-release will inspire the band to include one or two of these songs in upcoming live sets.
PARADISE LOST’S ‘BELIEVE IN NOTHING – REMIXED / REMASTERED’ IS RELEASED JUNE 29th. PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY FROM NUCLEAR BLAST HERE!