All This For Nothing is a band out of Pretoria, South Africa, that made their name in the late ‘90s and early 2000s with a storming live show and a couple of well-received releases. They played a vibrant fusion of punk and progressive rock that fell in neatly with a similar scene that blew up in SA around the same time, with bands like Fokofpolisiekar, The Narrow, and Fuzigish making serious waves. Due to a number of circumstances, the group broke up in 2005 and, apart from a few reunion shows in 2007, then disappeared completely.
As with most things in life, it took a tragedy to get the members talking about making music together again. In March 2018, guitarist/vocalist Paul Gioia experienced the sudden loss of his girlfriend, Marne Esson, a devastating blow that hit him very hard. Drummer Francois Lessing caught up with him at the memorial and the two had an emotional talk about perhaps getting All This For Nothing back together to revive the magic and perhaps help everybody to heal. Once the idea was out there, they contacted original co-founder Henk Lustig in Australia, who was keen to help write some new songs from the other side of the world and then formed a new version of the band with friends and like-minded musicians.
Marne’s best friend and now additional vocalist in the band, Chani Brits, sat with Paul and pulled lyrics from deep down for the new music, the two striking an emotional and creative bond through the purge. From there, the group connected quickly and the new album, Reverence, was born.
Watch the emotionally-charged video for “Divine Contraption” here:
The 2019 version of All This For Nothing is more mature and introspective (for the obvious reasons), and the music, whilst still infused with punk ethos, is ethereal, single-mindedly progressive, and grabs the heart from the get-go. Songs like “Withdrawn,” “Existence,” and the title track can kick hard when they want to, but the emotion is gentle and warm; with the background in mind, the music won’t leave a dry eye in the house. There is a definite Coheed and Cambria vibe throughout that serves to produce epic passages with quiet, sincere impact, and you can sense that these people were deep in a cathartic group-hug just by playing together.
As mentioned, this is pure catharsis that lends itself to exceptional music, and it’s a special record that both tugs on heartstrings and derives its foundation from pure feeling. Everything hopeful, the band will continue to create together and play live as much as possible, because the combination of these individual artists is one in a million. The proceeds from the album will go to the Sparrow’s Healing Foundation, a place of refuge and healing for people and animals, set up in honour of Marne Esson – this, along with the music created in her memory, makes for a complete package of human understanding and affecting allure. All This For Nothing has made a passionate album with Reverence, a collection of special music made by special musicians, and they deserve all the love coming their way.