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Album Review - Brand New: "The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me"
Brand New has followed me through adolescence. It seems as if they timed their musical growth to coincide with my personal growth. This has been proven to be especially evident with their third studio album, The Devil And God Raging Inside Me. After three years of waiting in near silence, the finished album was definitely worth the tortured postponement. Every theme, topic & lyric sung in this album rang true with some sort of internal battle that any 20-something-year-old undergoing the transition from young reckless kid to a “petrified of reality” maturing adult would face. Despite it’s age, it still speaks to me close to 6 years later.
Looking to top its first transformation from head bopping Pop-Punk to the mash-up of different styles in Deja Entendu, Brand New has pushed itself much further into a new direction with this album. No longer do they give us the “bubble gum” version songs of the rock genre, or the angsty ”he said, she said” love songs proven to be super popular with listeners. Instead, lyrically and musically there is a real effort to display their artistic transformation; one that expresses a serious, somber, self-reflective pensiveness.
Musically, all members of the band offer their strengths to set the right tone for this album. Moving farther into a dark, indie inspired direction, most songs offer a rollercoaster of strictly negative emotions filled with heavy, grunged out riffs, aching, desperate singing and periods of blasting percussion and sonic assaults. As the first chords of "Sowing Season" are strummed, there’s a instant somber tone that is broken up with maddened screaming and percussion. "Millstone" offers a dramatic self-reflection with a catchy rhythm and tune that most can enjoy. "Degausser" reminds listeners of the band’s beginnings with the band sing along choruses that you can find on Your Favorite Weapon and Deja Entendu but with a much heavier exhaustion of guitar riffs and urgent drumming that reminds us these just aren’t the same kids from before. Perhaps the most haunting of songs is "Limousine", a tribute to a young girl that was killed on her mother’s wedding day on Long Island. As depressing as it is, it has a compelling emotional beauty behind it that makes it is an amazing attempt of telling such a sad story.
For a band to achieve such a steady transformation from one album to the next to the next, its almost impossible to think that they wont create the same with future albums. It has been quite enjoyable watching these changes and 'Devil' is their best work yet. So when stuck with a rainy cloud over my head, its too easy to rely on these songs to commiserate with. Remember, misery does love company and when its as good as 'Devil', its perfect company.