Sunday, June 5, 2011

Bad Religion - The Dissent Of Man

Bad Religion
The Dissent Of Man
Epitaph Records/Shock Entertainment

When Californian punk rock legends Bad Religion reunited with guitarist Brett Gurewitz in 2002, fans had high expectations of the band returning to form. And sure enough, their ‘The Process Of Belief’ release was exactly what fans wanted to hear from the veteran act.
Since then, Bad Religion (Who also comprise of vocalist Greg Graffin, guitarists
Brian Baker and Greg Hetson, bassist Jay Bentley and drummer Brooks Wackerman) have not let themselves or their fans down, with ‘The Empire Strikes First’ (2004) and ‘New Maps Of Hell’ (2007) proving that there was still plenty of fire within the band.
Three years on, and Bad Religion are back with their fifteenth studio effort ‘The Dissent Of Man’, and once again the band have managed to produce another stunning effort.
While the band’s last few releases have stuck to the tried and true Bad Religion sound of old, ‘The Dissent Of Man’ marks a bit of departure for the six piece act, with their punk rock sound tapered back in part to allow for a more alternative, and dare I say it, accessible rock sound. The description is hardly the sort of thing that diehard fans will want to hear, but despite this, the shift in sound works quite well, and gives ‘The Dissent Of Man’ a much needed distance sound wise from their last few releases.
As is the case more often than not, the album is opened up with a short and fast tune, and this time the honour goes to ‘The Day That The Earth Stalled’. Full of energy and catchy as hell, the song is classic Bad Religion, and a clear sign that the band is well and truly firing on all cylinders.
‘Only Rain’ maintains the energy of the opener, if a little slower in pace and darker in lyrical stance, while ‘The Resist Stance’ (Which originally debuted on the band’s live album ‘30 Years Live’ from last year) and the heavy ‘Someone To Believe’ are filled with the band’s signature ‘Oozin’ Aahs’ and delivered at a speed that rivals the opener.
Around the middle of the album, Bad Religion shake things up a little, with ‘Won’t Somebody’ (An updated version of the same track that appeared on the deluxe edition of ‘New Maps Of Hell’), ‘The Devil In Stitches’ (The first single from the album), ‘Cyanide’ (Which features a guest appearance from Tom Petty And The Heartbreaker’s guitarist Mike Campbell and guitarist Steve Fishell), ‘Turn Your Back On Me’ and the semi-acoustic ‘I Won’t Say Anything’ showcasing a more mature sounding approach to their song writing, without standing out as anything too far removed from their more punk orientated songs.
Elsewhere, the fast paced ‘Wrong Way Kids’, the blitzing ‘Meeting Of The Minds’, ‘Avalon’, the classic ‘Ad Hominem’ and ‘Where The Fun Is’ prove that the punk rock spirit within the band is well and truly alive.
There’s been talk that the band’s next album may very well be their last release for some time, or the final overall. All I can say is that if even if it’s only half as good as ‘The Dissent Of Man’, Bad Religion will top off a career of near on three decades on an absolutely high note.

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© Justin Donnelly