Into the Unknown (Bad Religion album)

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Into the Unknown
Studio album by Bad Religion
Released November 30, 1983[1]
Recorded 1983 at Perspective Sound, Sun Valley, California
Genre Post-punk, new wave progressive rock
Length 32:36
Label Epitaph
Producer Greg Graffin, Brett Gurewitz
Bad Religion chronology
How Could Hell Be Any Worse?
(1982)
Into the Unknown
(1983)
Back to the Known (EP)
(1985)

Into the Unknown is the second studio album by Bad Religion, which was released on November 30, 1983.[1] The album marks a distinct departure from the band's previous album; instead of featuring hardcore punk, the album is characterized by slower tempos, use of electric organ and pianos, and a prog-influenced hard rock sound. Into the Unknown is the only Bad Religion album to feature Paul Dedona on bass and Davy Goldman on drums, as Jay Bentley and Pete Finestone returned to the band in 1986 and played bass and drums respectively on their subsequent albums. It is also the first of the six Bad Religion albums not to display their iconic font on the cover, and their only album to feature a track lasting more than five minutes.

Into the Unknown proved to be the band's most controversial release; despite favorable reviews from music critics, it was a commercial failure upon initial release, and was characterized as a "misstep" by guitarist Brett Gurewitz. It was not reissued in any format until 2010, when it was issued on vinyl as part of the box set 30 Years of Bad Religion.

Production[edit]

Gurewitz commented on the album's production on the official Bad Religion website, stating that the album was quickly produced after the release of the band's debut, How Could Hell Be Any Worse?, because the band didn't take itself seriously and didn't think it would last very long, despite the success of their debut and popularity on the underground music scene.[2] Gurewitz said that "not much thought" was put into the album's production.[2] Drummer Pete Finestone and bass player Jay Bentley quit the band as the result of the change in musical style.[2] Bad Religion hired producer Thom Wilson to collaborate with the band during the album's production.[2]

Musical style and influences[edit]

Gurewitz and the other band members were very much into progressive rock before getting into punk rock, and wanted to record an album reflecting a prog and avant-garde influence.[2] The album is characterized by slower tempos and use of electric organ and piano-driven melody.[3][4]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[3]
Robert Christgau A−[4]

Because of the band's success, they produced more copies of this album than they had of their debut.[2] Gurewitz joked about having "[sent out] ten thousand copies and [getting] eleven thousand back."[5]

Robert Christgau's review of Into the Unknown was more favorable than that of How Could Hell Be Any Worse?, which received a B rating, whereas Into the Unknown was given a A- rating. Christgau wrote, "I find myself moved by its anthemic ambition--and achievement."[4] John Dougan of Allmusic says that Into the Unknown is "a bit off-putting at first blush, mainly because the tempos are slower and more deliberate, and because of the use of swirling organs and pianos", while he calls it a "terrific record that was perhaps more daring than anyone realized at the time of its release."[3]

Legacy[edit]

Into the Unknown is Bad Religion's most controversial release.[6] The band broke up after the album's release, but reformed in 1985.[6] Gurewitz characterized the album as a "terrible misstep".[2] Into the Unknown has never been officially released on CD, although bootlegged CDs of Into The Unknown exist.[6]

Greg Graffin recalls that the band only performed material from this album once when it was released; when Bad Religion premiered the material live, poor word of mouth alienated fans, and only 12 people turned out for the concert, because fans had learned that the band was going to bring keyboards on stage; the poor turnout for this performance convinced the band not to bring keyboards on tour with them, and to return to its hardcore punk sound.[2] In October 2010, the band performed "Billy Gnosis", the first time in 27 years that Bad Religion had performed any songs from the album in concert.[6] In December, the band released the vinyl box set 30 Years of Bad Religion, which reissued all 15 of the band's LPs, including Into the Unknown.[6] The band's website offers commentaries from Greg Graffin and Brett Gurewitz.[6]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "It's Only Over When…"   Graffin 3:36
2. "Chasing the Wild Goose"   Gurewitz 2:50
3. "Billy Gnosis"   Gurewitz 3:31
4. "Time and Disregard"   Graffin 7:03
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
5. "The Dichotomy"   Gurewitz 4:52
6. "Million Days"   Graffin 3:47
7. "Losing Generation"   Graffin 3:37
8. "…You Give Up"   Graffin 2:55

Personnel[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b http://www.discogs.com/viewimages?release=2648662
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h http://www.badreligion.com/albums/2/Into_The_Unknown
  3. ^ a b c John Dougan. "Review for Into the Unknown". Allmusic.com. Retrieved 2010-12-29. 
  4. ^ a b c http://www.robertchristgau.com/get_artist.php?name=bad+religion
  5. ^ Brett Gurewitz (2002). Punk-O-Rama DVD Volume 1 (DVD). Epitaph Records. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f The Bear. "Album Review: Bad Religion – "Into the Unknown"". Bigsmilemagazine.com. Retrieved 2010-12-29.