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Brand New – The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Melody Bot, Nov 22, 2016.

  1. Melody Bot

    Your friendly little forum bot. Staff Member

    This article has been imported from for discussion. All of the forum rules still apply.

    In 2006, Brand New were a band known mostly for their work as one of the Long Island based pop-punk bands that managed to make it to a national stage. They were winding down from the success of their 2003 sophomore record Deja Entendu, an album that saw the band eschew the pop-punk tag in favor of more complex and dynamic songwriting, in addition to exploring more introspective themes than their contemporaries.

    The sonic shift experienced between those first two records was nothing, however, when compared to the shift between the second and third. Complications arose in January of 2006 when nine demos leaked. This leak stalled the band’s creative process, further delaying their third LP. Though the band was vocal in their disappointment about these songs making it to the internet, it may have been for the best. And then, on November 21st, The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me was unleashed onto the world. I think it’s fair to say that most of the people who have listened to the record have found themselves greatly affected by it. Why is that? I can only really answer by explaining my experience.

    My first brush with Brand New came in 2008, when a friend’s sister showed me “Sic Transit Gloria… Glory Fades.” I loved the song so much that I went and bought the record on iTunes. The catch? I bought the wrong record. What I bought was The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me and that one simple mistake would turn out to be life changing. I remember playing a Star Wars game on my family computer, that same night, unknowingly listening to the wrong record and waiting for the signature “Sic Transit…” bassline to start. It never did. But the journey I took listening to the record was anything but disappointing. I was amazed by the soundscapes so carefully crafted by the band their producer, Mike Sapone.

    Up to this point in my life I was constantly on the search for aggressive music to provide a soundtrack to my angst. Metalcore bands were my bread and butter, down-tuned guitars and heavier-than-possible drums were all I wanted to hear. So you can imagine my surprise when some of the angriest songs I had heard in my life had spacious mixes, lightly distorted guitars, and layers upon layers of instrumentals to dig through. This was unlike anything I had ever heard, and while there have been many imitators since: no other record has come reasonably close to achieving that immediate connection I felt upon my first listen.

    Flash forward to high-school and this record, more than any other, resonated with me and carried me through difficult times. Lyrically, songs like “Millstone” touched on the melodrama of shifting friendships and a transitioning worldview, especially in the verses:

    I used to pray like God was listening
    I used to make my parents proud
    I was the glue that kept my friends together
    Now they don’t talk and we don’t go out

    While a song like “Degausser” seemed to sympathize with the ending of various relationships: “Take me take me back to your bed / I love you so much that it hurts my head.” Each song seemed to have its place in my life, especially given the absence of band-confirmed lyrics. It’s easy to make a song work the way you want it to when you can play with the lyrics.

    Even now, in the early half of my 20’s, I frequently return to The Devil and God because the songs seem to provide a soundtrack to my life, one that, despite all evidence to the contrary, makes me feel as though it was tailor-made for me. The end of my three year long relationship will probably always feel encapsulated in “You Won’t Know,” while my current struggle to find and maintain a new love feels well explained in “Not The Sun.” Deeper topics such as religion and death are ones that I find myself having to tackle with more and more frequency, and in songs like “Jesus Christ,” or “Handcuffs” I can find solace, knowing I’m not the first or last person to grapple with such feelings. The latter presents a unique challenge because of its lyrical content, specifically the reference to “drowning crying babies,” and while on the surface this seems grotesque and unnecessary, it works as a commentary on the darker, nasty parts of the human experience that people tend to suppress. The quieter moments on the album signify those suppressed feelings and reflect moments of pensive thought. But suppression is a temporary measure, and when it becomes too much we tend to lash out. The guitars getting louder, the drums pounding faster, and the vocals becoming howls of fury; symbolizing these emotional outbursts. The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me seems designed to imitate life. The loud/soft dynamics mirror the dynamics of love/hate and peace/anger experienced by so many.

    What’s most interesting is the way the record continues to feel fresh and entertaining, all these years later. The album art, even now, confuses people. The small girl looking calmly at the ground, juxtaposed with the two masked and slipper-clad beings standing on the front steps of a house evokes various emotions, ranging from the aforementioned confusion, to discomfort and even fear. Musically, the rhythm section is unlike any record I’ve ever heard before, with fills that take center stage where drums are so often relegated to the background. The bass dances around the drums — one second being the main focus and the next reinforcing the rhythm guitar. Layers upon layers of instrumental and vocal tracks are hidden throughout each song, meaning that if you’re listening carefully enough: even ten years after the album’s release, you may be able to find something new.

    It isn’t really any wonder why The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me is heralded as a classic even at the relatively young age of ten. Lyrically, it dances between moments of relatability so strong you swear it was written about you, and moments of such profound sadness that even if you’ve never experienced such loss, you begin to feel the pain anyway. Instrumentally, it’s so complexly layered and tied to the lyrical content that it’s near-impossible not to follow through with the rest of the record after listening to even the first 15 seconds of “Sowing Season.” The mythology surrounding the record helps too, from the “pre-gap” track and the “Luca” reprise, to the leaked demos and the lack of press cooperation from the band leading up to, and especially in the wake of, the record’s release and subsequent critical acclaim. The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me has just the right amount of legend surrounding it, with more than enough technical proficiency and emotional weight in the music to back it up. All of these elements add up to ensure that the record transcends the term “scene classic” and rightly settles on a simpler term: “classic.”

  2. Jamie Dagg

    Master of not knowing what the hell I'm doing.

    Fantastic bit of writing there. Totally relate to the metalcore background transition into this- I don't think I could ever find a record that could so completely put me off of a genre because of the way it conveys emotion being that much better, and that's exactly what this did for me.
  3. disambigujason

    Trusted Supporter

    Not gonna lie, i rolled my eyes a bit when I saw that there was yet another moment of praise for brand new on the site (and that's coming from a big fan), but I liked this review a lot, well done man. I also come from a heavier preference and still find this album timeless and endlessly relevant.
    amorningofsleep likes this.
  4. Sander


    Same here, I used to pretty much only listen to metal and hardcore before discovering this.
  5. bmir14

    Trusted Supporter

    Great album, haunting in a lot of ways.
  6. LosManosFuertes

    Love This Place Supporter

    Am I the only one who can't really delve into this record all the time because it makes me feel so much a certain way? I always have powerful feelings when I listen, but I don't want those feelings all the time. Maybe because a lot of them are kind of sad. Just speaks to the openness of the record.
    js977 likes this.
  7. Aj LaGambina

    Hey man, we all can't be like you Supporter

    Glad to see other people have had similar experiences with this record :)

    Also: thanks to @Zac Djamoos and @Kevin360 for taking a look over this before i posted!
  8. bmir14

    Trusted Supporter

    It's probably my favorite record, and I almost never listen to it, for that very reason.

    It's kind of like the movie The Revenant... Excellent in pretty much every way, but i never want to see it again.
    LosManosFuertes likes this.
  9. NationalPhenomenon

    Regular Prestigious

    I used to feel that way about the album. At some point it became more of a euphoric than cathartic release, and expression of overcoming one of the darkest times in my life.
    Mary V likes this.
  10. LosManosFuertes

    Love This Place Supporter

    That's kind of where I am right now. It's just too much most of the time. I can listen to it, but I can't dive into it all the time. It just hits me hard.

    That is a really interesting point. I never thought of that. I get the idea of attaching good memories to listening to the record, but to me there aren't too many moments of levity on the record, really. It feels more of an expression of utter darkness without any blueprint for getting out, which is not a bad thing. I could be wrong though. Been awhile since I've listened.
  11. Anthony_

    A (Cancelled) Dork Prestigious

    I would say that this is one of the most important rock records of the 21st century, but that would be an understatement. As a well-known, alcoholic animated scientist once said: "It defies all logic, that thing."

    That said, it's very difficult for me to separate the nostalgia and raw emotion I feel for Deja Entendu long enough to definitively say that Devil and God is my favorite Brand New album. I recognize that Devil and God is a better album by just about any measure, but in terms of personal favorite I think Deja might still have the slight edge. That said, if there were any band that would have two albums in my top ten of all time, it would be Brand New.
  12. efp722


    Nice right up. Not gonna lie, this album is good but it is definitely a bit over rated.

    On a personal level, I get more emotion for Deja then I do from Devil and God. However, I think Daisy is their best work.
  13. LosManosFuertes

    Love This Place Supporter

    I have tried on several occasions to listen to Daisy. I just cannot get through it. I don't know why.
  14. LosManosFuertes

    Love This Place Supporter

    Also, how rude of me not to say this first:

    Nice write up, @Aj LaGambina!
  15. efp722


    Totally understand. Didn't have any interest when it first came out, but over time, it won me over.
  16. Phil507

    Resident NYC snob Supporter

    Wish the old site was still around. Would love to dig up the initial reactions to this.
    LosManosFuertes likes this.
  17. Ska Senanake


    I hope they release a deluxe version of this album with some of the reworked demos and fork and knife included. Would be cool to see how the tracklist would look.
    ConArdist likes this.
  18. Ska Senanake


    Let me try:

    1. Sowing Season
    2. Millstone
    3. Jesus Christ
    4. Degausser
    5. 1996
    6. Missing You
    7. Limousine
    8. You Won't Know
    9. Welcome to Bangkok
    10. Brothers Song
    11. Not the Sun
    12. Luca
    13. Untitled
    14. Fork and Knife
    15. Nobody Moves
    16. Archers
    17. Handcuffs
  19. LosManosFuertes

    Love This Place Supporter

    I was just thinking that today too! I wonder if it was an instant classic or people needed time.
  20. thisisacting__

    Regular Supporter

    I haven't heard anything post-Deja other than Jesus Christ. What do y'all recommend--listen to The Devil and God or Daisy first?
  21. austingordon

    your local curmudgeon

    Devil and God first, then Daisy. The former is a bit more accessible, and less abrasive, in my opinion - both are basically perfect records, though. Listen to both.
    coleslawed likes this.
  22. Kevin360

    Someday I’ll find me Prestigious

    Sorry I couldn't give you better, more throrough input. Work got busy. Haha.
  23. ConArdist

    Subgenres Should Die

    So anecdotal and dumb of me, but I'll never forget the day this and Infinity on High were released and I picked them up. Been chasing this girl for a while, and finally we had our first kiss that night, sober, in the snow. It was perfection, and those albums, particularly Devil and God, are very melancholy for me. :cringe:
  24. ConArdist

    Subgenres Should Die

    Daisy is nowhere close to TDAGARIM.
  25. Jamie Dagg

    Master of not knowing what the hell I'm doing.

    It's an interesting one; I'd say TDAG is the more consistent product, but I find myself wanting to put on individual tracks from Daisy more. Aside from Degausser, I don't really get the urge to listen to tracks on their own, more just the album as a whole.
    ConArdist likes this.