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The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me

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The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me is the third studio album by American rock band Brand New. It was released on November 21, 2006, through Interscope Records, making it their major label debut. Recorded from 2005-2006 in studios on Long Island and Massachusetts with producer Mike Sapone, the album arose following the online leaking of several unfinished demos that were meant to be early blueprints of an upcoming record. Two singles from the album were released – "Sowing Season" on November 21, 2006, and "Jesus Christ" on April 30, 2007. The album peaked at #31 on the Billboard 200, becoming the band's highest-charting record at the time of its release.

The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me
Studio album by
ReleasedNovember 21, 2006
RecordedMarch 2005 – April 2006
StudioCove City, Glen Cove, New York;
Longview Farm, North Brookfield, Massachusetts;
Sapone Studios, Bethpage, New York
Brand New chronology
The Holiday EP
The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me
Singles from
The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me
  1. "Sowing Season"
    Released: November 21, 2006
  2. "Jesus Christ"
    Released: April 30, 2007

The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me received positive reviews from critics initially, with many music publications pronouncing it as one of the best albums of the decade.[2][3][4] Its legacy has grown immensely in the years since, and it is now credited as one of the most important and influential albums in the genres of alternative rock, post-hardcore and emo by fellow musicians, critics and music writers.[5] Considered Brand New's best work by various sources including the band itself,[6] the album was acclaimed for further foraying away from the adolescent, breakup-based lyricism of their 2001 debut Your Favorite Weapon, continuing their progression and maturity as lyricists and songwriters by delving into darker subject matters such as existentialism, death, depression and religion.[7] Musically, Brand New abandoned their pop punk origins and added in elements of indie rock, experimental rock and post-hardcore. The band embarked on a tour in 2016 to specifically commemorate the ten-year anniversary of the album's release, playing the seminal album in its entirety.[8]


Background and recordingEdit

In mid-2004 after five years of regular touring and recording as Brand New, its members decided to take time off and concentrate on returning to their lives and pursuing other projects. At this point, the band had already written and recorded "10 or 11 songs" that they believed would form the next album.[9] In late 2005 when the band reunited to continue work on the album they found that the music they were writing was entirely different to the tracks they had previously recorded for the album, leading them to start over.[9]

"I don’t think that in our short recording career we have followed a path. It’s whatever comes out at that point. A song is never pushed into a direction. In ways, I think this is a record apart from the last record, but there are still certain aspects that they have in common. It’s always surprising to us, as we don’t know how it’s going to sound until we’ve written a few songs."

Jesse Lacey, Brand New lyricist and vocalist, talking about the band's stylistic progression on their third record[10]

When the band reentered the recording studio they began working with producer Dennis Herring in Oxford, Mississippi. Lacey recalled that Herring understood exactly what the band was trying to do with the album, but due to time constraints and lack of money they instead opted to work with Mike Sapone, with whom they had worked with on their first album. Sapone acted more as a "fifth or sixth bandmember" than as a producer, Lacey recalled, which allowed the band the involvement and control over the production that they were looking for, as well as allowing the band freedom to be more experimental.[11] Throughout the writing and recording, Jesse Lacey, Vincent Accardi, Garrett Tierney, Brian Lane and Derrick Sherman were each plagued with death and illness amongst their families and friends. Lacey recalled that each of them had become a little too comfortable with the idea of a funeral.[12]

Recording with Sapone took place over the winter of 2005 through until the spring of 2006 at Longview Farm and later Cove City and Sapone's studio in the basement of his house.[13]

Live guitarist Derrick Sherman who had been touring with the band for some time was also present during the recording sessions, contributing parts to all of the album's tracks.[14][15] After the initial scrapped album session from 2004 and leaked demos in 2006 the band had written and recorded around forty tracks for the album.[15]

As the band's first release on a major label, the band expressed hesitancy and nervousness over their increased fame. In an interview with their street team, Tierney said his biggest fear was "get[ting] too big", while Lacey's was that he was "scared of the hype" and "scared of people who never heard our band trying to sell it to people who are, you know, breathing it already."[16]

Leaked demosEdit

"In one way it was kind of refreshing and motivating to know that people were still so interested and curious as to what we were up to in that period where we sort of disappeared. But I was also worried that it would derail the process because the four of us had created a pretty safe place where the only critics were ourselves. As much as we tried to shield ourselves from letting the leak affect us, it definitely did. There was a feeling of being robbed, after keeping everything so close to ourselves and then having it heard before it was completed."

Brand New guitarist Vincent Accardi speaking about the leak of the demos[17]

On January 24, 2006, nine untitled demos for the album leaked onto the Internet. The band was disappointed to hear of the leak; however, they had already been performing new tracks at live shows.

Initially leaked without song titles, two of the songs would be re-recorded for the album, with two others being re-recorded and released on singles from the album. Early versions of "Sowing Season" and "Luca" (with a possible early title of "Mamas") feature on the demos, with the original recording of the latter seeing official release in the UK edition of the album as "Luca (Reprisal Version)". "Brother's Song" was reworked as "aloC-acoC" and released on the "Sowing Season" single, while the original demo featured the "Jesus Christ" single under the title "Brothers". A completed version of "(Fork and Knife)" recorded during The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me sessions was released as a standalone single in 2007.

Music writer Channing Freeman of Sputnikmusic commended the band for their reaction to the leaks, praising them for starting over and recording original tracks that showed more growth and development than the demos. "It was probably the best thing that could have happened to Brand New," he said, "because it forced them to rewrite the album with an even greater purpose and attention to detail."[18]

Colloquially referred to by fans as Fight Off Your Demons,[19] the batch of leaked demos were remastered and officially released to the public on December 2, 2015 as Leaked Demos 2006, made available digitally and on cassette.[20] On July 13, 2016, the band released 3 Demos, Reworked, an EP that consisted of re-recorded versions of "Brother's Song", "Missing You" and "1996".[21]

Music and influenceEdit

Vocalist and guitarist Jesse Lacey wrote lyrics for all of the album's tracks with the exception of "Handcuffs", which was written by Vincent Accardi. The tracks "Degausser" and "Sowing Season" were composed spontaneously as a band, whilst Accardi composed the music for "Handcuffs", "Not the Sun" and "Welcome to Bangkok", with Lacey writing the rest.[15]

"I'm getting depressed with all of the anxiety about the album, and they say I write my best stuff when I'm in that state. Great, I'll spend the next six months all depressed and the rest of the band will be excited so that some good [material] might come out. And then I have to contend with how it's received."

Vocalist Jesse Lacey on how his depression impacted the album's writing

Death and illness became two of the main themes present on the record. In an interview Lacey commented that the band purposely immersed themselves in the loss of friends and family in order to channel it into their songwriting and expel it.[12] The liner notes dedicate the album to "Robert Sherman, Red Lacey, Leo Lacey, Bill and Virginia Sherman, James McAuliffe, Rosemary Kancelerski, Frances Ambrosio, Manfred Cardone III, Sid Rosen, Seymour Lane, Michelle Lane, George Moe, Alexander Lambros, and Omir Ortega, all of whom left us between the start and completion of the record."[13]

Lyrical contentEdit

Lacey suffered from depression during the writing stage of the album due to anxiety revolving around the high expectations put upon the band following the critical success of Deja Entendu.[22]

As with previous Brand New records, Lacey drew inspiration from popular culture and literature for his lyrics. Lacey also wrote about subjects that he would discuss with his friend Kevin Devine, with some of Lacey's lyrics directly responding to questions that Devine would ask him during writing.[23]

The second verse to opening track "Sowing Season" is inspired by the Rudyard Kipling poem If— whilst the title of "Sowing Season" is a reference from Stephen King's novel Secret Window, Secret Garden, where the main character had written a short story of the same title. The song deals with topics such as death (as per the notable opening line of the album, "was losing all my friends, was losing them to drinking and to driving") and the desire to better oneself.[24]

"Millstone", track two, is described by Sputnikmusic as being about "not a loss of hope but rather a loss of innocence",[25] citing lines such as "I used to pray that God was listening / I used to make my parents proud" as examples of such. "Jesus Christ" is about "analyzing crises of faith" in a conversation with God,[26] making references to Biblical figures such as Thomas the Apostle and Elijah. Its lyrics touch on loneliness, the validity of the afterlife and the struggle to maintain faith, influenced by Lacey's religious upbringing and his attending of the South Shore Christian School during his adolescence.[27] The single's artwork pays homage to the album Goat by The Jesus Lizard.[28]

Fourth track "Degausser" borrows the lyric "Take apart the demon, in the attic to the left" from the Roky Erickson track "Bloody Hammer".[29] The song is rumored to be about fellow musician Sherri DuPree of the band Eisley, an ex-girlfriend of Lacey's who rejected his marriage proposal. />

Fifth song on the album "Limousine" is about the death of seven-year-old Katie Flynn from the band's hometown of Long Island.[30] Travelling home with her family after a wedding, their limousine was hit by drunk driver Martin Heidgen, a few miles from where Lacey was living at the time, leading to the decapitation of the young Flynn, whose severed head fell into her mother's arms.[29] In the track, Lacey tells the story from various perspectives, including that of Flynn's mother, Heidgen and Flynn herself.[23][31] Lacey has commented that the story particularly resonated with him as he knew people who drove drunk the week the accident took place.[29] Producer Mike Sapone had the idea to include samples of explosions in the track, hence the subtitle "MS Rebridge", with MS being Sapone's initials.[29] At seven minutes and forty-two seconds, it remained Brand New's longest song until 2017's "Batter Up," which is eight minutes and twenty-eight seconds long. The track's bridge repeats itself seven times as Lacey counts up, one for each year of Flynn's life.[31] "Limousine" is often cited as Brand New's greatest song.[31][32]

Writing for Team Rock, Mischa Pearlman believed the title and lyrics of "Luca" reference the fictional character Luca Brasi of the 1972 American crime film The Godfather.[32] "The Archers' Bows Have Broken" is described as being about people who use religion for self-serving purposes instead of the intentions of the prophets, including in politics. Its aural traits include "the sound of nihilism and religion converging, and the world burning down as a result."[32]

Title and artworkEdit

"The phrase itself was pretty cool, and reading it somewhere else would be striking, so that was what drew me to it, but listening back to the album I realised how much it represents quiet and loud, the good and evil, but it also has a lot to do with faith and some spiritual aspects of the band."

— Jesse Lacey discussing the album's title[23]

The name of the album came from a conversation Jesse Lacey had with a friend regarding Daniel Johnston, a musician who suffers from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.[23]

The album cover is a picture titled "Untitled #44" from Nicholas Prior's "Age of Man" collection which the band saw at an art show in New York City.[33] The outside of the cardboard case contains no song listings, and doesn't contain the name of the album or the band name anywhere but on the spine. The record company instead placed stickers on the plastic wrapping to indicate the name of the album and band, and on the UK version to indicate that it had the bonus track.

Release and promotionEdit

Original release and touringEdit

In June and July 2006, the band went on their first tour in three years,[34] during which, they debuted "Sowing Season", "Degausser" and "You Won't Know".[35] The album was announced September 10, 2006.[36][37] On October 5, the album's title and track listing was revealed.[35] From mid October to early December, the band went on a U.S. tour alongside Dashboard Confessional.[38] On October 18, the album's cover art was revealed.[39] Two days later, "Sowing Season" was made available for streaming via the band's Myspace account.[40] Throughout October and November the band performed a series of in-store acoustic gigs.[39] On November 14, "Degausser" was made available for streaming via the band's PureVolume account.[41] The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me was made available for streaming on November 20,[42] and released a day later through Interscope.[35] The album was original planned to be released on DreamWorks, but the label was folded into Interscope.[34] People that pre-ordered the album received a CD single of "Sowing Season" with the B-side "Coca Cola".[39] People that pre-ordered the album from BestBuy were able to download a video for "--".[43]

In January 2007, the band announced they were in the process of making a music video.[43] In February, the band went on their first UK tour in three years.[44] After touring and promoting previous record Déjà Entendu, the band became increasingly reluctant to give interviews or talk to the press in promotion of the record.[45] In one of a few exceptions during the UK tour, Lacey discussed that this was due to many journalists and publications misrepresenting and taking quotes out of context in order to make their interviews more interesting.[46] Lacey also felt "more comfortable" not having to worry about photo shoots and music videos and instead just concentrate on writing and performing music.[47] Few television, radio or online performances were given either. Lead singer Jesse Lacey was interviewed by WFNX on 24 April 2007 at the First Act Guitar Studio, Boston as part of an acoustic performance for VW Green Room that was subsequently made available to download.[29][48] The track "Jesus Christ" was performed on both NBC's Late Night with Conan O'Brien and the Late Show with David Letterman on CBS.

In March and April 2007, the band went on a tour of the U.S.[49] "Jesus Christ" was released to radio on March 27.[50] The song peaked at #30 on Billboard's Alternative Songs chart, beating the #37 peak of "The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows" to become the band's biggest hit on alternative radio.[51] In July and August, Lacey went on a solo tour with Kevin Devine and Grace Read.[52] From mid October to mid December, the band went on a tour of the U.S. with Thrice and MewithoutYou.[53] A music video for "Jesus Christ" directed by Moh Azima was produced; however, it was never used by the band. Originally made available in 2009 before being taken down, Azima made the video available to stream on his own website in January 2012.[54]

"Archers" was featured in the 2008 racing video game Burnout Paradise, and "Sowing Season" was included in the 2009 rhythm music game Guitar Hero 5.[55] A live fancam performances of "Sowing Season" from the band's show at The Academy in Newcastle in February 2012 was made available by O2, with another performance from Brasil in July 2014.[56][57]

Vinyl release and lyric bookletsEdit

After a July 30, 2008 solo show, Lacey stated that the long wait for the vinyl release of The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me was due primarily to the band's failure to secure the rights of Nicholas Prior's photograph. Lacey continued on saying that after the band either secured the rights to the picture, or chose an alternate cover, only then would the album be released on vinyl. The band managed to secure the rights to the image by 2010, and released the album on vinyl in that same year.

On January 11, 2010, Brand New announced via their Twitter account that The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me would be released as a double vinyl LP set through Procrastinate! Music Traitors and Triple Crown Records.[58] This version included a lyric sheet that was not included with the original CD. The vinyl set was made available in stores on March 23, 2010.[59] Another pressing of the album was done by Academy Fight Song, which went up for pre-order on their website on May 17, 2010. This pressing was released on September 17, 2010.[60] The album was repressed by Music on Vinyl in late 2013.

Upon the album's release, the band requested in the liner notes for fans to send them $1 in the mail to receive a lyric booklet. In April 2015 the band began sending out lyric booklets to fans that had sent them $1 nine years previously. The first pressing of the lyric booklets titled Pogolith 000 contained a number of stickers, patches and a poster alluding to the release of the leaked demos from the album.[61][62] A second "no thrills" version was subsequently made available at the band's merchandise kiosk at shows and on their website.[63]

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic     [65]
Alternative Press     [66]
Blender     [67]
The Boston Phoenix    [68]
Entertainment WeeklyB−[69]
Rolling Stone     [72]
Spin     [73]
Sputnikmusic     [74]

The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me received generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 78, based on 17 reviews.[64] Critics emphasized the album's artistic leap in songwriting from the band's previous records.[65][67]

Channing Freeman, a Sputnikmusic staff member, gave the album a perfect five stars, firmly declaring "there are hundreds of albums to which I am connected in unique ways but this is the only one that asks me big questions, expects big answers, and does not hold it against me when I come up with the same old pile of bullshit that I always do."[75] Praising "Limousine" as Lacey's best song lyrically and a "pinnacle of modern songwriting"[18] along with "Degausser", "Sowing Season" and "You Won't Know", Freeman stated that the album "features one of the largest progressions I have ever seen from a band... most bands don't show that sort of growth even once throughout their career, but Brand New have done it twice."[18]

Writing for AllMusic, Corey Apar called the record "dark and dense, yet accessible, a shadowy air permeating every crevice where Jesse Lacey's plaintive and often tortured lyrics aren't already residing." believing the album would give them to opportunity to break into the mainstream if they wanted to.[65] Alternative Press highlighted how there was not a song on the album that could even be compared to material from their debut Your Favorite Weapon, whilst only "Not the Sun" and "Archers" bared any resemblance to material from Déjà Entendu believing the album to be dark, difficult, depressing and desolate, "Devil is the sound of four men hitting absolute rock bottom and desperately trying to rescue themselves through any means necessary; we as listeners are forced to hear the band suffer as a means to reach catharsis-all presumably for our edification" likening it to Modest Mouse and Radiohead's The Bends.[66] Ben Sisario of Blender proclaimed the album to be "as creepy as it is magnificent" hailing Lacey's ability to write songs that "teeter between the gorgeously placid and the exhilaratingly hideous, Lacey leads a bipolar odyssey of blood and guts and desperate prayer".[67] Andrew Blackie of PopMatters praised the album, calling it "certainly more mature, putting breakup and self-infliction clichés, thankfully, behind them".[76]

Commercial performanceEdit

The album debuted at #31 on the Billboard 200,[77] in comparison to the #63 debut of their prior album Deja Entendu. It sold 60,000 copies in its first week.[78] It also peaked at #5 on Billboard's Digital Albums Chart.[79] A 2014 vinyl repressing of the album led to a #10 peak on the August 23, 2014 edition on the Billboard Vinyl Albums chart.[80]

Legacy and influenceEdit

The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me was Brand New's most critically acclaimed record until the release of “Science Fiction” in 2017 and was frequently considered to be their best album. During a 2012 interview, Lacey said the album "saved Brand New", calling it a "course correction" for the band's musical path.[81] In 2016, ten years after its release, Lacey mentioned this album as a particularly important work for the band, and one that they "still use as a measuring post with which we compare the music we make now".[82]

It was rated the best album of 2006 by Punknews [4] and placed at number 74 in NME's list of the one-hundred best albums of the 2000s.[2] Sputnikmusic's ranked the album #20 on their list of the Top 100 Best Albums of the 2000s, as voted by staff members,[3] and it was ranked at number 16 in Kerrang!'s "50 Albums You Need to Hear Before You Die" list.[83]

The tenth anniversary of The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me spawned several discussions regarding the album's legacy on Brand New, on the genres of post-hardcore, indie rock and emo, and on music as a whole. In a retrospective review, Ian Cohen of Pitchfork said that "by leaving his words and intentions up to interpretation, Lacey unwittingly shifted from a minor celebrity to a generational voice", giving the album an 8.5 out of 10 and comparing it to other critically acclaimed indie rock records of the 2000s such as Kid A and The Moon & Antarctica.[28] Nina Corcoran of Consequence of Sound credited Brand New for "end[ing] the need to feel ashamed for connecting to emo", noting that the album's influence "altered the path of emo and alternative rock bands at large, blurred genre lines and bolded something beyond the band."[84] In an article titled "The Immortality of Brand New's 'The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me'", Vice staff writer Ryan Bassil declared "by cutting to the core of the darkest elements of the human experience, never answering any questions, but presenting the feeling within them, it is a record that has the ability to grow with the listener, gaining more and more significance as life goes on." [85] Matt Tolander of Medium stated that the album is "one of the most gripping and spiritually honest recordings ever put to tape, more appropriately compared to The Joshua Tree or Slow Train Coming than Tell All Your Friends or Bleed American."[86]

Fellow musicians also commented on the album's influence and legacy. Tour mate and friend of the band Kevin Devine reflected on the first time he heard the track "Jesus Christ", praising it as "the best song [Brand New] had ever written... emotionally, educationally, intellectually, structurally, in every way".[84] Labeling "Degausser" and "You Won't Know" as other album highlights, Devine referred to the bridge of "Not the Sun" as "[his] favorite minute of music in their catalog" and the album's legacy as "The Dark Side of the Moon but for emo", a comparison that he did not expect upon first listen.[84] Andy Hull, frontman of American indie rock band Manchester Orchestra, complimented Lacey on being "a very clever songwriter", while guitarist Mike Weiss of mewithoutYou compared the influence of The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me to that of Nirvana's Nevermind in how it "acted as sort of a pioneering watermark for musical genres that existed in our country", noting how it "broke the barrier [and]... destroyed that entire limitation, that boundary - and that is the importance of this record."[84] Dustin Kensrue, lead singer of the American post-hardcore band Thrice, included his rendition of "Jesus Christ" on his live covers album Thoughts That Float on A Different Blood, and introduced the song live as "by a band that has been a kindred spirit in the past years", with the song being "an example of some of that" during his December 16, 2015 concert in Santa Ana.[87] Pop singer Halsey has referred to Brand New and this album in particular as a major influence, once referencing the title of this album in her Instagram biography.[88]

The album's cover art, "Untitled #44" by Nicholas Prior, has been regarded as "iconic".[89] The young girl depicted in the image, four years old when the picture was taken, was seventeen at the time of the record's tenth anniversary. When discussing her opinions on being the subject of such a notable image, Prior answered, "She’s seen her likeness in stores, on T-shirts and tattooed on people’s arms... while it’s always meant something positive to her, I think the significance of it grows and evolves and she does."[89] In a text to Prior, the girl replied, "The album art contributes a lot to the music's meaning, so by simply being in the photo, I feel like I’m contributing to an emotion felt by [their] fans. I consider myself a small part of the vehicle to help people learn more about themselves and what they love, which is a real honor."[89]

In August 2016, Brand New announced that they would be touring the United States in the autumn with Modern Baseball and The Front Bottoms as supporting acts, playing smaller cities and venues that were not covered on the band's summer tour with Modest Mouse.[90] A month later, as the band postponed the release of their unreleased fifth album from 2016 to 2017, they announced that they would be playing the entirety of The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me on the tour, honoring the tenth anniversary of their most important album.[91]

Track listingEdit

All lyrics written by Jesse Lacey; all music composed by Lacey, except where noted.

1."Sowing Season" Vin Accardi, Lacey4:31
2."Millstone"  4:16
3."Jesus Christ"  5:18
4."Degausser" Accardi, Lacey, Brian Lane, Garrett Tierney5:32
5."Limousine"  7:42
6."You Won't Know"  5:42
7."Welcome to Bangkok" Accardi3:05
8."Not the Sun" Accardi, Lacey3:09
9."Luca"  5:08
10."Untitled"  2:04
11."The Archers' Bows Have Broken"  4:14

Note: Certain copies of the album refer to track 1 as "Sowing Season (Yeah)", track 3 as "Jesus", track 5 as "Limousine (MS Rebridge)" and track 11 as "Archers".[92]



Chart Peak
United Kingdom (Official Album Chart)[93] 77
United States (Billboard 200)[77] 31
United States (Billboard Digital Albums Chart)[79] 5
United States (Billboard Top Vinyl Albums)[80] 10

Release historyEdit

Country Date Label Format Catalog #
United Kingdom November 20, 2006 Interscope/Tiny Evil CD (with bonus track) 602517174528
United States November 21, 2006 CD B0008034-02
March 23, 2010 Procrastinate! Music Traitors/
Triple Crown/Interscope/Tiny Evil
double LP 3099-1
September 17, 2010 Academy Fight Song double LP B0013946-01


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