Bad Religion – The Dissent of Man


After 3 years, Bad Religion has finally went back into the studio and recorded a new album. At first glance, it seems like it will be a slowed down, more melodic Bad Religion, like in The Process of Belief. And you’d be right.

It seemed BR led us in the wrong direction by giving us The Resist Stance early; while that song is very good, it doesn’t sound like the rest of the album. The Dissent of Man seems like a paradigm shift in Bad Religion; while New Maps of Hell was a, to me, semi-mediocre hardcore album, this album seems like a fresh new smell, a scent of BR that I’ve been itching to smell for a long time.

Sound:

I have a pre-release leak, so my version isn’t the best of qualities right now, but from the semi-medium quality that I’ve heard right now, it seems that it sounds like the BR standard; semi-low drums, medium level guitars, low bass, and high vocals. What would I want changed? I think the drums could be a tad louder. But, for the most part, I really almost always have trouble arguing with Brett Gurewitz’s mastering techniques; the album has a solid sound for the type of album it is. One major problem I have about the album; some of the harmonies seem a bit forced. I know Bad Religion is 30 years old and I can’t expect pitch-perfect vocals from the backups, but if you aren’t going to get a nice sounding harmony, just let Greg belt it out on his own. Because he can. Oh he can. Greg’s vocals on this album are just as good, maybe even better then New Maps of Hell. Especially on The Resist Stance; Greg still has a voice after all these years, and he isn’t afraid to show it.

Lyrics:

This is a major problem I have with the album. I know it’s hard to write more meaningful songs than Sorrow and Live Again (The Fall Of Man) after all these years, but come on. Bad Religion is known for it’s straight to the throat, get to the point, not afraid to shove it in your face type lyrics. I think that’s mostly Greg’s fault; Greg is a great folk writer, but I just don’t think he has it left to him to write Punk anymore. I mean, he’s my favorite musician of all time, but I think it’s time for Greg to close up the pen. I don’t want to sound like I’m dissing Greg’s songwriting; he’s done some great work in the past, it’s just his tracks on this album don’t seem up to par lyrics-wise as Brett’s do. Speaking of Brett, he also seemed to have changed writing styles. Brett said this in a interview he did this June: “Being a new parent has colored my whole world. As a result I’ve written songs that at least for me, are somewhat less angsty and more introspective and vulnerable. The experience has emboldened me to take some creative risks as a songwriter that I’ve not allowed myself to take before.” This songwriting really shows on the new album. His songs have more creative thought behind them then in your face songs like New Dark Ages. It’s less punk and more poetic. And part of me likes this, and part of me doesn’t. While I love listening and thinking about introspective and “up-to-the-listener” lyrics, I also have a soft spot for up in your face ones as well. Overall, this is my main problem with the album. I think Greg and Brett could’ve done a little more to the lyrics and it would really shine.

Impression:

This is a hard-to-describe album. Considering Bad Religion’s previous work, this seems like a mediocre album. But it just seems like this kind of music is perfect for the current generation-shift Bad Religion is in. Nothing too heavy, just a smooth ride that needs more than a 8th grade diploma to fully enjoy. I’m nowhere near saying this is their worst album, by far it’s not. It has some great successes, and it has some major fails. (I’m looking at you, Meeting of The Minds.) There are no bad songs on this album, just great ones and OK ones. Do I think BR did their best work of all time? No. Do I think BR did what they needed to? Yes.

Overall: 7/10

It’s a great album to just listen to when you don’t want to care, but still have a lingering for some music with thought and innovation in it. While this definitely isn’t their best, I like the direction Bad Religion is going in. I think they might have the juice left for one more album; and if it’s like this one but improved, their last hurrah will be a triumphant final fanfare.

Reccomended Songs: Only Rain, The Resist Stance, Wrong Way Kids, Something to Believe, Cyanide, Where The Fun Is

Editors Note:

I preordered the full album on iTunes, and it just came out today. The sound is pretty much the exact same as before but clearer, the only real differences are the live tracks in the deluxe version, which I picked up. I sincerely suggest if you pick this album up on iTunes, get the deluxe version; the live tracks are definitely worth it. This album is starting to grow on me, I must say!

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  1. Have not read it yet, I’ll come back and read it once I have listened to the new LP in full! 16 eh? Kudos for liking some sweet punk rock (I am assuming at this point!)

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