|Category:||Review - Internet||Publish date:||9/24/2010|
|Source:||craveonline.com (United States)|
The Dissent Of Man
by Johnny Firecloud
craveonline.com, September 24, 2010
Every three years or so Bad Religion drop a rebellion-tinged batch of harmony driven punk rock songs into our laps. As one of the few remaining older punk bands that haven’t broken up for good, Bad Religion remains a rare exception to the rule. Their new album, The Dissent Of Man, is another notch in that belt. Bad Religion have once again reappeared exclaiming “Yep, it still sucks around here”. Part of it is the intelligence of singer Greg Graffin, the other is Bad Religion being filled with members who have been living the DIY ethos for decades.
The Dissent Of Man is quintessential Bad Religion. Fast, driven songs, with catchy hooks, and vocal harmonies. Bad Religion has been kind enough not to change up their style to prove they can hang with the new kids. There are no horns, no DJ scratching, and no appearances from hot-right-now guys singing back ups.
The record opens with Greg Graffin belting out “Do you remember when”, then the band starts on a dime and gallops through the entire ninety seconds of the track “The Day The Earth Stalled”. It introduces the band saying that they’re back to hold a mirror up to the world at a break neck pace.
This being the fourth album to hold a consistent Bad Religion line up, the first time since the band started, keeps The Dissent Of Man really focused. Even with long time members like Brett Gurewitz, Greg Hetson and Jay Bentley handling songwriting, having the foundation of Brain Baker on guitar and Brooks Wackerman on drums allows the band to stretch a little. The solos are more confident, the backing vocals come in and out in places that do more dramatically for the album then they have before and the songs overall just sound better.
“The Resist Stance” uses Graffin’s love of word play to issue a high-octane call to arms for those who really want change. Then the album flips to a more emotional and mid-tempo tune like “Won’t Somebody”, which sounds like two guys in a local bar commiserating. Both tunes speak to world issues in very different ways. That’s always been the magic of Bad Religion, especially as they’ve gotten older.
With all of that going on The Dissent Of Man never stops being a really good time. Sure you’re learning and getting ready to topple the Government, but first you’ll be dancing around your room. No matter how deep the songs get Bad Religion keeps them upbeat, a punk rock version of attracting more flies with honey. On “Pride And Pallor” Graffin sings about the world crumbling down but does it over music that just screams for pogoing. Some will accuse Bad Religion of repeating the same music over and over but, like AC/DC and other bands, it just works for them. I may get slapped for this but The Dissent Of Man, for my money, is the best Bad Religion album since Stranger Than Fiction.
The key to the album is how each song builds off the last one. By the time you hit “Meeting Of The Minds” you’re fully enveloped in what The Dissent Of Man is about and the record shifts into high gear. How many punk bands make records that call to be listened to from start to finish? Not many, most are trying to churn out a “hit” for video game soundtracks or to shill skate shoes.
It’s hard to age in the world of punk rock without seeming completely irrelevant. Bad Religion sidestep that by keeping their message aimed at the idea that change only happens when everybody gets involved. This isn’t the rhetoric of teenage kids planning global change from the food court nor is it old men trying to connect with the kids by overhauling their vernacular to fit in. The Dissent Of Man keeps the music fun, the lyrics complex and the message simple: If we don’t do something then who will?
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