The Dirty Nil - Free Rein to Passions

The Dirty Nil - Free Rein to Passions





If there’s one rule people should follow when approaching the Dirty Nil, it’s this: Never tell them how to rock ‘n’ roll. Ontario’s Juno Award-winning trio is a finely tuned rock machine that is at its best when the members are pursuing their penchant for thrashy riffs, bashed out drums, and levels-to-the-max volume. And on their fourth album, Free Rein to Passions, the band followed their instincts down to the note to produce their most authentic work to date. 

The Nil’s back-to-basics approach was a direct reaction to their previous record, 2021’s Fuck Art, a creative process that brought too many industry people whispering in the band’s ears, telling them how to polish and tweak their songs to fit on the radio or streaming playlists or whatever other arbitrary whims the modern music machine demands. “There were all these expectations and pressures, people telling us to try this or that,” says frontman Luke Bentham. “We’re by no means the biggest band in the world, but in our ecosystem it became hard to try to make all these people happy. We were given challenges, and I think we met them, but getting to that place, it made me realize: ‘If we go any further in this direction, then I don't know what we’re doing anymore.’ It had gotten to a point where the creation wasn't very fun.” 

The Nil again recruited longtime collaborative producer John Goodmanson to capture their sound at Jukasa Media on Ontario’s Six Nations Reserve. They also brought in new blood with bassist Sam Tomlinson, a friend and fellow product of the Dundas scene. “In some ways it feels like going back to our roots in Dundas, and Sam knows what that’s like,” adds drummer Kyle Fisher. “He’s cut from the same cloth as Luke and I.” That hometown feeling was the inspiration for the song “Blowin’ Up Things in the Woods,” an ode to the simple joys of fireworks, explosions, and pyrotechnic annihilation.

Staring into the abyss of entertainment serfdom, the trio spat on it. They smashed the chalice of poison brought to their lips, grinding the shards under their heels. A rock and roll band is part religion, part small business and part pirate ship. Sabres were wielded and planks were walked for The Dirty Nil to bring Free Rein to Passions into this world. It was a battle well worth fighting.



1. Celebration
2. Nicer Guy
3. Undefeated
4. Atomize Me
5. Land of Clover
6. Blowing Up Things in the Woods
7. Stupid Jobs
8. 1990
9. Free Rein to Passions
10. The Light, The Void and Everything