BAD RELIGION – INTO THE UNKNOWN (1983)
At this point, the lineup consists of:
- Greg Graffin : Vocals and synthesizers
- Mr.Brett : Guitars
- Paul Dedona : Bass
- Davy Goldman : Drums
A bit of history:
1983. The glory days of Punk scene started to fade away. Bands those days started to get kind of a gang mentality, and everyone seemed to be minding his own business, and not caring about the newcoming bands at all; the scene, or at least what was left of it at that moment, appeared to be more closed and not as accepting as it had been before.
Greg Graffin was not happy with this situation, and decided that, if the scene had let the bad down, they would disappoint the scene too, by getting into the studio and doing a record without considering the marketing, of the complaints about its style, or what would the scene think about it. This album is thought by a lot of people to be the destructor of the SoCal punk scene. Not to mention that it generated an internal war in the band, leaving Greg and Brett alone in this project.
Anyways, if we overlook who made this album, we can find out that this album is not such an “apocalypse” as people had been thinking during these last 23 years. As it is only 8 tracks, I am gonna do a track by track review, because in this album there is not an homogeneous sound, each track sounds different in its on way:
1. It´s only over when:
This is the first song in the album, and it does its job perfectly, giving us the idea of how this cd is going to sound like.
An initial guitar riff leads to the song itself. Perhaps this song is the catchiest of the 8 tracks, with a strong use of synths, an easy-to-remember chorus, and an apparent “happy” mood.
The last minute and a half of the song gives us a duet solo, the synth and the guitar, quite nice in my opinion, but maybe too long.
As far as I can understand, the lyrics basically talk about how you must be self-determined, because in the end you and only you will have to care about yourself. 3/5
2. Chasing the wild goose
This is my favourite song of the cd. It starts with a nice guitar riff, and then explodes and Greg starts singing. I must warn that Greg´s vocals in this cd are very different from what we are accustomed to. Do not get me wrong, he sings pretty well, but in this cd, it seems he is not our good ol´Greg.
The song itself in my opinion gives more importance to the guitar than to the synths, except maybe in the chorus; it is a pretty straightforward song, who talks about how human beings try to pursue goals that are impossible to accomplish, at least it is what I understand from it.4.5/5
3. Billy Gnosis
This is one of the two songs Brett composed for this cd, the other one being Chasing…
The lyrics in this song are the clearest in the album. It basically tells us the history of Brett (under the seudonym Billy Gnosis) and his experiences with drugaddiction.
Musically, the song features the use of a traditional piano, instead of synths, and a great long guitar solo towards the end of the song. Not much more to say, maybe for my liking the end is too abrupt.3/5
4. Time and disregard
There it is. The magnum opus of this Into The Unknown, a 7 minute piece (the longest song in BR history), which is divided into four segments.
It features a strong use of an acoustic guitar, along with the synth, and the guitar, and I suppose everyone will agree with me that this song is the most atmospheric song BR has ever done. I have found this song to be a slow grower, it took me ages to dig it, but it is growing on me, and I really like it these days.
Sadly, I can not figure out what Greg says, but reading other people’s opinions, it seems this song is about the destruction of nature, and the urbanization.
I am not going to comment musically this song, because it is quite solid, and it would take me forever.4/5
5. The Dichotomy
This is no doubt the worst song in the album. It is a shame, because the idea is not bad par say, but it is so long and so repetitive, that you can not help but finding yourself pushing the skip button. Basically, it has the same riff and rhythm throughout the song, and it has a total lack of lyrics, the ones it has are clearly not enough to save this one.2/5
6. Million Days
This tune is the most overlooked song by me, in this ITU. It is maybe the calmest song in it, it features again an acoustic guitar, a decent electric guitar solo, and a nice melody, it is a great song to chill out to, at least for me.
Reading the lyrics, I still can not figure what in the earth wants Greg to transmit with them.3/5
7. Losing Generation
Losing Generation, is for me, overlooking the lyrics, a more energic version of Its Only Over, musically are quite similar, maybe the only thing that can distinguish them is that this one has a more prominent use of guitars.4/5
8. …You Give Up
This one is the closer of the album, and it pretty much sums it up. It starts with kind of a dark piano riff, and in the middle of the song it explodes, and combines the rhythm of this song, with different portions of the album, like the chorus in Its Only Over…4/5
Well, in conclusion, this album is not as bad as you could think. It features nice synth rhythms, great guitar, decent drums, alright bass, and it has its moments, like in Time And Disregard, I would recommend it to every BR fan, because if you open your mind, you will find this one quite interesting.
PD: I am a 17-year-old Spanish guy, and it is my first attempt at writing a review, so feel free to leave any comments, but please take it easy if you see any major mistakes.