Monday, December 1, 2008

Bad Religion - Into the Unknown (1983)

I've been told that objective listeners consider Into the Unknown a masterful and pioneering piece of American prog-rock, but I'm not an objective listener. It sucks.

After three years in the LA underground punk scene, BR guitarist Mr. Brett decided to buy singer/songwriter Greg Graffin an electric keyboard. Graffin wrote and produced the entire album in an effort to break out of what he considered an increasingly close minded LA scene. Lyrically not much had changed, but ITU sounds nothing like any of BR's previous work aside from Graffin's distinctive vocals. The BR Page.net has a whole host of BR member retrospective reactions to the album that make for a good read. ITU is often credited with destroying the LA hardcore scene and almost destroying Bad Religion's career.

Slower tempos, acoustic guitars, wood blocks (really guys?) and that goddamn keyboard ooze out of every track. Nothing here even resembles punk-rock or Bad Religion except the complex and intellectual lyrics that fans expect. If it didn't have "Bad Religion" written across the top, Into the Unknown would be considered innovative and pioneering. But because of the time and place of it's release it is forever remembered as a collectors piece and nothing more. BR fans need to check this out, but only as a glimpse into one of the most infamous fuck-ups in punk history.

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5 comments:

Skyler said...

weird man, i'll have to check this out

roces9 said...

You might like it actually.

Anonymous said...

you shoulda posted against the grain

Anonymous said...

Bitch's Brew by Miles Davis wasn't considered innovative and pioneering until Miles was dead but now is a jazz masterpiece because it did what Graffin wanted to do. Do you not think ITU will be the same way? Genius is sometimes slow to be accepted.

roces9 said...

I like the comparison, but it isn't completely applicable. Bitches Brew was a rock/jazz fusion album that expanded jazz further by introducing new elements into it. ITU is a prog-rock album that doesn’t expand punk, because it has nothing to do with punk. So no, I don’t think it will be remembered quite like BB… but that’s not to say that it won’t be appreciated in the next five years.