‘Believe In Nothing’ was Nevermore’s lead single off of their catalytic fourth studio album ‘Dead Heart in a Dead World.’ Produced by the legendary producer of all things metal, Andy Sneap (Arch Enemy, Megadeth, Annihilator, Testament) helped to capture the sonic fingerprint of the first Nevermore album to feature the use of seven string guitars. Included on the album is a cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘The Sound of Silence,’ which enters a musical “celebrity death match” versues the newly released Disturbed effort. I have yet to hear back from Paul Simon or Art Garfunkel’s respective camps to get their final say on which is the superior version.
Speaking of covers, ‘Believe In Nothing’ was covered by two separate bands in the same year; both Gus G’s Firewind and All That Remains covered the track in 2008. I’m inclined to think that Firewind wins the death match on this one, for a few reasons; the two driving forces of this song are the uniquely dark and melodic vocal lines of Nevermore’s Warrel Dane, and the powerful guitar melodies found in Jeff Loomis’s lead lines and guitar solos. While both Firewind and All That Remains seem to easily tackle the musical instrumentation, Firewind seemed to combine that Dane-esque vibe within their own style.
Also, it is greatly worth noting that this style of guitar work could be very easily mistaken for Arch Enemy’s Mike Amott. The wah-pedal sing-songy lead style counter balancing the vocal is something that Amott really has locked in. Both Gus G (briefly) and Nevermore’s Jeff Loomis (currently) have gone on to do time in Arch Enemy alongside Amott, so while this particular track doesn’t feature anything too techincal on this side of the seven strings, it is a great Arch Enemy cover waiting to happen. It would be delightfully humorous to see Amott take the lead on this one, with Loomis providing the rhythm backing.
To recap: ‘Dead Heart in a Dead World’ featured a cover, spawned a few other covers, and it set the bar for Nevermore as far as production was concerned in the eyes of the band’s fans. Three years later the band followed up with ‘Enemies of Reality’ in 2003. This was recorded as the band’s contract with Century Media was ending, and negotiations were ongoing. The two sides struggled to reach an agreement to re-sign before the album went into production, and the label cut their budget down to a mere $20,000. Believe it or not, this was seen as unacceptable to the band, with Jeff Loomis saying the budget was “a nothing deal to do a record.”
Andy Sneap was called back to remix the album in 2005. As I have said before in what feels like 278 Skull Toaster emails at this point, the album was plagued in reviews over the production. Warrel Dane said, “I find it really strange that the production on that album got reviewed more than the songs did.” The songs were different, the production was different, and the band felt they weren’t going to play it safe with attempting to recreate ‘Dead Heart.
The follow up to ‘Enemies, and revered as an instant classic, was 2005’s ‘This Godless Endeavor.’ With Sneap back at the helm, many attributed this to the band’s return to form, but it’s certainly not a Dead Heart knock off. The band has always embraced the “progressive” side of writing, and not limiting themselves to one particular blueprint. Would Enemies have been seen as another “instant classic” if Sneap had handled the mix the first time? Should the mix really determine the quality of a song? Personally, most people should stick to worrying about how they mix their drinks!