Merging the musical lexicon of the dancefloor with their own dark musings, Nitzer Ebb evokes an occasionally stunning mix of techno and industrial on their second full-length effort. At its best, Belief is a captivating call to surrender the pretensions of free will and control; escape is only possible through dance. The vocals, which alternate between athletic direction and threatening whispers, reveal an internal dialogue at work that both bullies and stalks the listener. This might make for dour dance music if the rhythms weren't so intoxicating. On tracks like "Hearts and Minds," "Control I'm Here," and "Blood Money," Nitzer Ebb builds a compelling soundtrack that exorcises their own sense of despair. In fact, this album seems to advocate the dancefloor as a surrogate religion. "Blood Money" asks us to "shed faith" in the wake of organized religion's failures, "T.W.A." suggests we "surrender to the faith" of the dancefloor, and "Shame" holds the vague promise of freedom from that original sin through dance. However, all but the most impressionable listeners are likely to recognize that the lyrics are merely a mask for pent-up aggression toward a world that can make the individual feel pitifully helpless at times. Although not as sonically powerful as bands like Ministry or Nine Inch Nails, Nitzer Ebb's Belief should appeal to the same audiences (their subsequent Showtime even more so). Favoring synthesizers and electronic percussion over guitars, the band doesn't baffle listeners with an array of sounds as Nine Inch Nails might, but they can draw from an impressive palette of effects when the muse strikes them (as on "Drive," which includes a percussive texture that could best be described as an amplifier "popping"). Note that the U.K. compact disc includes three bonus tracks: alternate mixes of "Control I'm Here" and "Without Belief," as well as a mix of the non-LP "K.I.A."
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AllMusic Review by Dave Connolly