The Art Of Survival



by Trey STAFF
November 3rd, 2022 | 16 replies

Release Date: 10/07/2022 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Gavin Rossdale finally gives up on the ghost of his classic era, embracing a modern direction for Bush.

I’m not a fan of Bush. The only releases I really enjoyed from their classic era was the electronics-laden The Science of Things and the remix album all the fans seem to hate. Other than that, they always felt like they were behind the curve when it came to musical influences, and about average in the songwriting department. Of course, they managed a respectable career in the 90s, embracing their Nirvana worship whole-heartedly, but they never managed anything that felt like it had an identity of its own. Their comeback albums beginning with The Sea of Memories fared even worse, utilizing rehashed ideas that were already stale when they first used them decades earlier, but without the crutch of fame that cushioned their earlier output. With each consecutive release worse than the last, it really seemed like Bush would eventually have to give up on the idea of success in an era where alternative is relegated to the classic rock stations… and maybe that is what happened.

On The Kingdom it felt like Gavin Rossdale finally gave up on the ghost of their classic era, and really embraced a new direction. It was an album that didn’t rely solely on nostalgia, and finally dropped the blueprint created by members that had been missing since 2002. The Kingdom took their 90s alt rock foundation, and a bit of their electronic influences, and pushed them towards a modern and heavy (by Bush standards) sound. These changes were tentative steps in the right direction, and they weren’t entirely successful, but it was a start. The Art of Survival is those tentative steps turned successful sprint, and hopefully signals a new era for the band. Where the previous album was still too polished for its own good, The Art of Survival features a gritty bass-driven sound that reminds me of post metal bands such as At the Soundawn, and desert rock staples Kyuss. The guitars, too, have dropped any pretense of slick radio friendly rock in favor of bottom-heavy riffs that really do feature a bit of edge. Even the tempos have been slowed to sludgy levels that eschew arena rock aspirations in favor of oppressive atmospheres and pensive moods. All of these changes have led to a modern Bush album that doesn't feel like it is actively chasing trends or nostalgia, and even has an identity (almost) all its own.

Bush were never really an essential band, even during their heyday, preferring to stick to tried-and-true styles pioneered by better artists. With the release of The Art of Survival that has finally started to change. The Art of Survival picks up where The Kingdom left off, but it doubles down on the sludgy, heavier, direction of its predecessor while dumping most the alt rock influences. What’s more, in this era where heavy music is the norm, Bush almost sounds fresh because there’s very few artists blending grungy heaviness with a more accessible songwriting formula. The only thing The Art of Survival shares with 90s-era Bush is Gavin Rossdale on vocals. Everything else is crunchy and modern sounding and is easily the most unique the band have ever sounded.

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user ratings (31)

Comments:Add a Comment 
November 3rd 2022


nice review! i hadn't checked out any nu-Bush albums until this, heard it was good and was pleasantly surprised. solid little album for sure.

November 4th 2022


i only heard the first song on here but..........it left a lot to be desired

November 4th 2022


90s Bush always seemed to have an identity to me, and a lot of that was due to Nigel + Gavin. I gave The Kingdom a 3 so I suppose I may like this.

November 4th 2022


What a bummer, I heard the opening song because it was a single and found it pretty decent with its atmospheric feel. Shame everything else is generic nothing imo :s

November 4th 2022


I first read this as “Rush,” and was sorely disappointed. In other words, I don’t like this band, even without listening to them.

November 4th 2022


Bush is a band you listen to when you are 14. I got Sixteen Stone on cassette and cd for 25 cents and a dollar. Sixteen Stone is an album you don’t spend more than a dollar on for a reason. They were and are a play it safe band that can act as a gate opener to better alt rock.

November 4th 2022


I'll always enjoy Sixteen Stone as an album, and they've got some good singles from their other albums.

November 4th 2022


I was 14 when Sixteen Stone was released. It was instantly see through shite. Offered nothing.

November 4th 2022


November 4th 2022


Great review and I agree that this is their best album in a long long time but…

I find it incredibly galling and deeply offensive to draw comparisons to Kyuss!

November 5th 2022


Album Rating: 3.5

This ended up being surprisingly good. Kinda wild that Bush has decided to actually make heavier music this late in their career, but I'm not complaining.

November 6th 2022


Album Rating: 4.0

sounds fresher and more sincere (sometimes the still oft-banal/paltry lyrics but usually just the vibe)

I thought Hum metamorph'd from alt-rock to elements of sludge/post rock much better (RIP the drummer... feels like RIPs are forming a virtual graveyard here) - but you could say they are more under the radar than Gavin's flagship band...

interested to see where Rossdale goes with this semi-momentous step in an actual-legit interesting direction

November 10th 2022


This actually sounds like it's worth checking out! I heard a few songs from the previous album which were surprisingly very good. I got into the band with Razorblade Suitcase but The Science of Things has long been my fave from Bush, the remix album had it's moments too.

November 21st 2022


Album Rating: 3.5

this is enjoyable. is the kingdom similar?

November 24th 2022


Album Rating: 3.5

Not as good as Kingdom for me, but pretty good, big sound.

February 22nd 2023


I’ve never heard anything by Bush but my wife was listening to this album when I got home and I was certain it was Katatonia… not a bad thing

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