If I were to brashly instigate an argument with the members of Bad Religion, I am completely convinced that I would lose hands down… bleeding and bruised in a gutter somewhere. It would be literal suicide to argue with a band who has successfully released an impressive 13 albums. They would have a worldwide posse of die hard fans backing them up, plus there’s half a dozen in the actual band, so either way I’m outnumbered.
With an imposing discography and booming rock punk sound, Bad Religion has entered the ring with another album to add to their extensive collection. Fresh from the downtown Hollywood studio situated in the same neighbourhood that the band originally convened as rebellious youngens, comes New Maps of Hell. Saturated with thrashing guitars that cut through speakers with startling authority, a thick drum beat and talented vocal offering from Greg Graffin, Bad Religion slaps listeners with a powerful and addictive sound. After a few listens to the album, the songs begin to unravel to reveal a depth of music and content as subterranean as hell itself.
Musically, the band had a few changes which included the introduction of young Brooks Wackerman, a sought after sessions drummer, who absolutely kills it on the drums.
The method to the band’s madness becomes clear on review of Bad Religion’s poignant lyrics that reflect on a world in turmoil. Brutal and earnest in one breath, the band rouses thought through their discontent, lashing out at the conformity and voracity that dictates society. As guitarist and co- songwriter Brett Gurewitz explains, deep down Bad Religion has always had this attitude.
“Since we were kids, this country has vacillated between varying degrees of anti- intellectualism, machismo and religiosity – maybe now more than ever. And we write with a secular humanist world view which really goes against all that…..Bad Religion has always been anti- establishment and about open mindedness.”
Anthemic and unwavering, New Maps of Hell continues Bad Religion’s legacy to inspire their listeners. According to Gurewitz, the band’s rebelliousness stems from being humanists and intellectuals and they hope to continue inspiring fans who are ‘angry nerds, just like us’. The similarity couldn’t be more spot on – lead singer Graffin is actually a college professor. And who said there wasn’t irony in rock ’roll?
Well, I wouldn’t want to argue with the nerds either, and they will be happy with an emotionally charged, grand scale offering from this definitive band of punk rock.