In 2008, I became a fan of Nothing Gained. They became my favourite female-fronted band. The band featured a guitarist (Andrew Lewins) from Jug, who played on the soundtrack to a Playstation 1 game titled Destruction Derby 2. Nothing Gained described their trademark sound as somewhere between Paramore and Pantera (this is the same description that I would use for the Anthrax albums which involve Joey Belladonna). By the time that it was 2010, they didn’t win over enough Pantera fans.
For albums and gigs, there needed to be a selfless compromise in terms of mixing. Their first album needed a producer who wasn’t a bandmate. Unlike Evanescence, the vocals don’t drown the music but there are times when they should be comprehended (such as the bridge in Rotting Inside). Unlike Amy Lee, Emma Finch’s voice was abrasive as well as melodic. Nothing Gained had better riffs and solos too. However, music is a two-way process. The riffs can only have impact if the lyrics have audibility.
I posted on the band’s MySpace comment section that they should work with Terry Date because he had worked with the bands who Nothing Gained is influenced by. Also, he’s the best mixer for heavy rock on the strength of Soundgarden’s Badmotorfinger (1991), Dark Angel’s Time Does Not Heal (1991) and Pantera’s post-eighties albums (from 1990 to 2000). Since Nothing Gained’s MySpace profile was run by that Jug guitarist who sucked at mixing, my advice wasn’t heeded. Emma was such a good singer, but the lyrics lacked emotional resonance because of the mixing.
Had Terry worked with Nothing Gained, Media Circus Zombie Star would’ve been a big hit had it been released as a single for both radio and TV (such as the Kerrang and Scuzz channels). I honestly thought that N.G. were going to be Britain’s biggest metal band. John Campbell, the bassist of Lamb of God, had a similar opinion regarding Killswitch Engage as can be read in my 2014 Metal Hammer quotes article (which is part one of a series which I decided to stop after reading the December 2017 issue).
My opinion is that Killswitch Engage didn’t make it huge because the second singer was black. Maybe if they had been advertised to more mainstream networks such as UPN or BET (i.e. Black Entertainment Television), they could’ve gained a larger following due to his operatic range. Returning to their first singer diminished the distinction that they had. They didn’t exactly become more successful. They still have a mainstream metal following, thanks in part to having songs placed on soundtracks.
Back to N.G. (who lived up to their name), I’m reminded of what Robbin Crosby (of Ratt fame) said about Mail Order Brides (who I tried to find during the vestige of MySpace’s popularity). After producing their demo, he thought that they would appeal to fans of Soundgarden and The Ramones. N.G. could’ve appealed to fans of Lacuna Coil and Epica. In retrospect, I should’ve gone out of my way to track down Terry Date on Facebook (which was usurping MySpace in 2008).
Once Emma departed, it was game over (most women look and sound nicer than men). It also makes the band look hopelessly bad that the bassist departed too. My advice for bassists – don’t join a band where the bassist left (you won’t be audible enough). This is Spınal Tap SHOULD have contained a joke about metal bands having a revolving door of bassists instead of drummers (à la Judas Priest). Bassists have more luck in funk bands. If N.G. were famous, they would have bigger birthday parties.
This is what Emma told me…
“Something that always got on my nerves was the fact that I never thought we were produced right, I always had this sound in my head that never came inot being, and when others are not on the same path as you then its very hard to have your way. I would say the one thing that got to the band was our name and Evanescence – Amy Lee is an amazing singer but we are worlds apart, she is classically trained and I am just some sorta grunge punk-loving mental person who just liked to scream, lol. I don’t we should be compared.”