Bad Religion

New Maps of Hell

BY Stuart GreenPublished Jul 19, 2007

For the sceptics who keep waiting for the godfathers of melodic hardcore to lose their way again (as happened in the mid- to late ’90s), you’re going to have to wait a bit longer. Turns out the band’s last two albums weren’t flukes after all. No, rather they were the return to their late ‘80s form when they released a trio of groundbreaking discs that redefined what punk could be. Like their previous The Empire Strikes First and Process of Belief records, this one is a six-piece affair, with Brett Gurewitz having returned to the fold as a full-fledged writing and recording member. And like those records, and the holy trinity of Suffer, No Control and Against the Grain, this one is jam packed with whip-smart condemnations of the current political state of their nation, razor-sharp punk rock riffs and soaring vocal harmonies. What’s remarkable is that despite having stuck to the same formula for so long, they can consistently raise the bar for their peers. Sadly, few reach or ever clear it.

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