Bad Religion

The Dissent Of Man

Written by: PP on 14/10/2010 06:49:01

Is there any point in me writing an introduction to the review of the fifteenth (!!) Bad Religion studio album "The Dissent Of Man"? If you don't know the band you're a lost soul, and if you do, well, you know exactly what you'll be getting. Recent Bad Religion albums have all been compiled according to a formula; a breakneck speed opener ("The Day That The Earth Stalled" here) throwing a high five to the band's hardcore roots, then a few catchy punk anthems in the vein of their classics ("Only Rain", "Won't Somebody") with deep melodic harmonies and mid tempo instrumentals, some experimentation in the the middle ("The Resist Stance" and "The Devil In Stitches") where Greg Graffin shows what he has learned since the last record, and voilá, a new Bad Religion album in the bag. That's not a problem at all though because the formula produces fantastic songs at a ridiculously good reliability percentage, with dodgy songs appearing so rarely that I can't remember for the love of god when the last time was I heard a Bad Religion song I didn't like.

That's also very much the case with "The Dissent Of Man". It's another formidable Bad Religion effort that upholds the sky high standard we're used to from these guys. While no "Suffer" or "The Process Of Belief", it's right up there with "New Maps Of Hell" and "The Empire Strikes First". Baker/Hetson/Gurewitz guitar trio combines again for some ultra-melodic hooks and slaying solos that sound as fresh in 2010 as they did two or three decades ago. But more importantly, Greg Graffin has one of his best vocal performances to date on this album. Whether it's the high-pitched shouts and unusual rhythm of "The Resist Stance", the medium range, 'typical' work in "Wrong Way Kids", or the more experimental work in "Someone To Believe", he shines in every occasion. There are a couple of songs here with similar potential to "Sorrow"...I'll just leave it at that.

In another review, or perhaps an online comment (I can't remember), someone noted "remember the time when you first stopped and really listened to Greg's lyrics?" What he/she was referring to is the huge impact you suddenly feel when you really pay attention, because then you'll realize that they tend to be around 40-50% of the Bad Religion experience. They are just that good. That applies on this album as well, although the socio-political commentary is milder and less direct than in the past. Maybe it's because the Republicans are no longer in power and the country is moving in the right direction? Who knows. The point is, that even when you don't need to consult your dictionary to understand his lyrics, they are still powerful and intellectual in nature, so much so that they'll overwhelm you when you really listen to what he has to say. In a good way. "Ad Hominem" is a good starting point on this record.

What more is there to say about "The Dissent Of Man" that wouldn't have been repeated in countless reviews of the band's entire discography? It's an excellent album, but not exactly a surprising one. But at this stage in their career, surprises are no longer necessary, as your ever-growing fan base expects their a dose of melodic, hardcore-rooted, seminal punk rock that beats the entire competition about once every two years. And that, my friends, is what this album is (again) all about.

Download: The Resist Stance, Meeting Of The Minds, Wrong Way Kids, Someone To Believe
For the fans of: Rise Against, Pennywise, NOFX
Listen: Myspace

Release date 24.09.2010
Epitaph Records

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