|Category:||Review - Internet||Publish date:||1/1/2007|
|Source:||Mark Prindle Record Reviews (United States)|
8 / 10
Let's start this off with a laugh at my expense. I sent my friend Christian Smith a sensitive, heartfelt email reading as follows:
Subject: Obscene "Generator" parody
For some reason I've been singing the intro (to myself) like this lately:
Like my cock
Like Aunt Janet
Like I'm fucking Adam West...
But now look at Christian's seething, bile-ridden reply of hatred to my caring note of friendship:
If you were an "image" commercial for a major corporation, you'd be slo-mo shots of couples snuggling, men building skyscrapers, Hank Aaron, and the Great Wall of China while Sam Waterston said, "Consistency. Doing what you do over and over again. Tirelessly. Effortlessly. Forever." Then maybe it'd end with a big explosion.
See??? With friends like needs, who these enemies!?
New Maps Of Hell is a very good Bad Religion CD. On the surface it may sound like the same standard Bad Religion chord progressions for the 50 billionth time, but there are actually a lot of novel stylistic decisions worked into the mix. In fact, if you at any point during the disc think to yourself, "Okay, this is a generic Bad Religion song," listen more closely and you'll probably notice something slightly different going on. Some songs are differentiated by curious guitar approaches (roaring metallic tones, downbeat stomp-stomp-stomps, high-pitched folk-rock leads, sections where the guitars are turned down so the bass is the prominent instrument), while others incorporate completely unexpected influences or arrangements, such as:
- "New Dark Ages" is driven by an Iron Maiden-style dual-guitar lick and palm-muted stutter-thrash!
- "The Grand Delusion" features bass and guitar riffs that progress against each other (one ascends as the other descends)!
- "Requiem For Dissent" features military-shout backup vocals, for an almost NYHC feel!
- "Honest Goodbye" sounds like Weezer. A bit too MUCH like Weezer, some might say. And by "some," I mean "me"
- The drumbeat of "Heroes And Martyrs" leaves cymbals out of the verse, for a neat boxy effect
- "Fields Of Mars" features a prominent piano introduction and mid-song break (it's also a GREAT song with a super-anthemic '70s classic rock chord sequence pummeled through the Bad Religion speed factory)
Of the 16 tracks, 6.5 are midtempo/slow and 9.5 are fast as fast can be. The mix is very strong and loud, the harmony backup vocals are as great as always and, although the overriding moods are the same as previously (minor-key angst, melodic punk), there are a few instances of viciously slashing anger-punk of the sort I don't think we've ever heard from this band. Listen to the opening/recurring riff of "Heroes And Martyrs" or the fast parts of "Murder," for example. Adding to this aggressive feel are a few instances of Graffin putting his vocals through a distortion pedal (but thankfully not altering his tuneful singing approach). And the sole song I don't like at all is only 52 seconds long! I'm not going to tell you the name of the song, but here's a hint: the first song on this CD is called "52 Seconds," and it's the worst song I've ever heard. Okay, that's your hint! Good luck! Feel free to email me with any additional questions you may have about this song.
To repeat my general theme: with New Maps Of Hell, Bad Religion has given its fan base exactly what it wants and expects (speedy, catchy punk with backup singers going "Aaaaah"!), while simultaneously providing enough interesting little variations on the formula to excite those of us who were getting tired of hearing the same chord changes over and over again. Not every diversion meshes perfectly with the Bad Religion aesthetic (the alarmingly ugly vocal 'harmonies' of "52 Seconds" are hardly a promising start to the record, "Prodigal Son" tries to combine Graffin's folksy solo interests with stomping punk-metal to iffy effect, and there is never a valid reason for a band to sound like Weezer), but it's wonderful to hear them trying to 'shake things up' and 'think outside of the box' in ways other than 'just playing slower.' Way to go bad, Religion!
Weigh, too. Go, Bad Religion!
Whey dago -- Baaa! Tree lid gin!
This is going everywhere, but very slowly.
- Mark Prindle
German transcript updated
English transcript added
English transcript added
Article added: Fracture #19
Interview image(s) added: Diplomatic Defense
Interview added: Diplomatic Defense
English transcript updated: Bad Religion, the ‘McCartney and Lennon of punk,’ to make Spokane debut
Interview added: Bad Religion, the ‘McCartney and Lennon of punk,’ to make Spokane debut
German transcript updated: Gähnend in die Punker-Rente