Reviews Bad Religion New Maps of Hell

Bad Religion

New Maps of Hell

Bad Religion may not need any introduction due to their notoriety in punk, hardcore, and various independent and even some mainstream circles, but there are several impressive facts that New Maps of Hell bring to light with its release to the public. One, Bad Religion is, minus a few break ups in the eighties, closing in on thirty years of existence as a predominately punk rock band. Two, New Maps of Hell is the band's fourteenth proper full-length studio album and at sixteen songs is a large chunk of material. Three, the band is keeping with the current course of sound since Brett Gurewitz rejoined the band following Bad Religion's return to Epitaph Records. The sheer fact that Bad Religion is still releasing politically, socially, and musically relevant albums almost thirty years since their inception is grounds to recognize the accomplishment of the release of New Maps of Hell.

A great deal more consistent than its immediate predecessor, The Empire Strikes First, New Maps of Hell may have a variety of different sounds and tempos, but those elements congeal to offer a coherent collection of songs. Songs weave through the album's tapestry with the speed and intensity of tracks like "52 Seconds" and "Murder" to bouncy melodicism of "Before You Die" and "Dearly Beloved" to slower pop of "Honest Goodbye,” which is almost sickeningly sweet to the ears. "Germs of Perfection" would not find itself so far out of place if inserted into one of Bad Religion's classics like Suffer or No Control. Quite probably, my favorite song on New Maps of Hell is "New Dark Ages." The lyrics are classic examples of Bad Religion polemics. Despite the guest appearance by members of another Epitaph recording artist, "Requiem for Dissent" is actually a strong addition to the album with the inclusion of gang yells to contrast with the requisite "oozin aahs". The triumphant closing of the album is signaled by the piano introduction of "Fields of Mars." The vocal parts for this song are both soaring and infectiously catchy. It is an effective bookend to the scorching opener, "52 Seconds.”

Somehow, Bad Religion manages to maintain their relevance to the world of punk and other independent music. New Maps of Hell might be the strongest of the three albums (The Process of Belief and the Empire Strikes First are the other two) that have been released by the band since their return to guitarist Gurewitz's record label, Epitaph. The album is further evidence of the group's return to their punk roots. It would be sacrilege to hardcore Bad Religion fans to put this new album near the vaunted status of some of their classic records, but those that do find themselves enjoying those, should find New Maps of Hell at the least enjoyable.

7.0 / 10Bob
Advertisement
Radio K 2
Leave a comment

Epitaph

2007

7.0 / 10

7.0 / 10

Share this content
Advertisement
Dwarves - Take Back the Night
Recent reviews

Tim Barry

High On 95

7.5 / 10 Tim Barry - High On 95 album cover

Nobody can doubt Tim Barry’s heart. He’s worn it on his sleeve since he began his solo career with a 2005 demo. Depending how you count live records and demos, High ...

Keith Morris

My Damage: The Story of a Punk Rock Survivor

7.0 / 10 Keith Morris - My Damage: The Story of a Punk Rock Survivor album cover
Book Review

Keith Morris is one of the remaining original punk rock figures that is still going. Hardly anyone else embodies the sound of Southern Californian hardcore the way he does. With ...

Long Knife

Sewers of Babylon 7”

7.0 / 10 Long Knife - Sewers of Babylon 7”  album cover
200 Words Or Less

Oh man, haven’t heard Long Knife’s name called in a long time. You can choose to split pubic hairs over whether they’re back or still here, but what’s not up for ...

Related news

Tours Bad Religion in Europe

Posted May 4, 2017, 7:24 p.m.

Later this summer, Bad Religion will be touring Europe and the UK, including dates at festivals in the UK, Finland, and Hungary. The band last released True North in 2013 ...

Shows It's Not Dead Festival

Posted June 19, 2015, 3:03 p.m.

On Oct. 10, The It's Not Dead Festival will hit San Bernadino, CA, at the San Manuel Ampitheater Festival Grounds. The festival is a punk and ska line-up that ...

Bands Mike Dimkich (ex-The Cult) joins Bad Religion

Posted Jan. 29, 2014, 6:31 p.m.

Former The Cult guitarist Mike Dimkich has joined Bad Religion in place of Greg Hetson. Hetson recently made the announcement via his Twitter page.  Bad Religion released a 9-song Christmas ...

x

Logo

Looking for the SPB logo? You can download it in a range of styles and colours here:

Click anywhere outside this dialog to close it, or press escape.