Death. Taxes. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds making bone-chilling, blood-curdling music. Just a few of the certainties in this life of ours. And with “Jesus Alone,” the first substantive taste of the group’s sixteenth album Skeleton Tree, the group reaffirms this certainty. Synthesizers wheeze away in the background. Warren Ellis’ strings play an elegy for mass destruction. Nick Cave’s piano keys puncture the room every so often while he intones “You believe in God, but you get no special dispensation for this belief now.” The line is one of the better refutations of Pascal’s Wager you’re likely to hear on record. Cleaving to the Lord simply to avoid punishment earns you no store credit to be spent up above. It simply leaves you alone, roaming and wandering. A distant memory in the mind of your creator.
Skeleton Tree is out September 9 and is available for pre-order.