Bad Religion

Age Of Unreason

Written by: PP on 22/10/2019 18:13:05

Bad Religion has been churning out punk rock classics for almost four decades now. Across 16 albums before this one, they've produced some of the most memorable and consistent material within the genre, rarely deviating from their tried-and-tested formula. Pretty much every album has been at least rock solid, and so many of them great that it's hard to pick just a couple to highlight in a single review. That's why it's so surprising to be spinning an album like "Age of Unreason", an uncharacteristically mediocre and average album for a band of Bad Religion's stature. Yet it is what it is: the first weak Bad Religion album in as long as I can remember.

So that begs the question, what is wrong with it? Is the band experimenting with their decades-old sound too much? Is it a case of bad production? Something else entirely? Regrettably, it's difficult to point out just what is wrong with the record as such, other than that the songs feel... average. The title track, "End Of History" and "My Sanity" are all excellent, and "Candidate" flirts with vocal harmonies akin to those on "The Process Of Belief" at the start of the century. Yet songs like "The Approach" and "Old Regime" just feel like Bad Religion on autopilot.

It's not that the band has been a pinnacle of innovation throughout their career, quite the opposite, actually. But despite sticking to a formulaic, signature-sound approach over the years, the result has been a ridiculous number of bangers and great riffs in the process that fans and critics alike have grown to love. On "Age Of Unreason", I'm not hearing enough of either. Too many songs like "Lose Your Head" and "Big Black Dog" are anonymous at best, derivative at worst, creating a surreal sense that Bad Religion is becoming a derivative of themselves, as paradoxical as that may sound. The vocal harmonies, guitar riffs, and lyrical content are vintage Bad Religion, just without the urgency and immediacy that they usually are delivered with. Are they finally becoming old and tired? "Age Of Unreason" certainly suggests so.

Download: Age Of Unreason, End Of History, My Sanity, Candidate
For the fans of: Rise Against, Descendents, NOFX, Pennywise
Listen: Facebook

Release date 03.05.2019

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