Album Reviews, Highlights, Music

Review: Bad Religion – The Dissent Of Man

In an interview prior to the release of The Dissent of Man, Brett Gurewitz had referenced Tom Petty and The Kinks as influential outlets for the album’s songwriting. It was a disarming statement at first, but why can’t a Bad Religion album sound a little like something Ray Davies would have written? Yet as The Dissent of Man unfolds, it is clear that it is still a distinctively Bad Religion album- compact melodies, sharp guitars and Brooks Wackerman’s great percussion work- but there are many instances where they venture out into the kind of ambition unseen since Into the Unknown.

It isn’t a grating, blatantly abstract form of musical diversity- they’ve exercised these textures with certain restraint. Most evident perhaps, in the closing “I Won’t Say Anything”, an acoustic driven, soft rock-tinged tune that will play closer to Tom Petty and Ray Davies than Greg Ginn and Steve Soto. But the song’s diversion from the regular Bad Religion sound is still in line with the album’s bigger thematic nuances- so it doesn’t feel out of place. Mid tempo tracks “Won’t Somebody” and “The Devil in Stitches” are from the same book as “The Answer” and “Honest Goodbye” while “The Pride And the Pallor” is a great example of forward thinking songwriting blended perfectly with accessible rock aesthetics and their trademark lyrical attack.

Where The Dissent of Man really tests the waters are with its two (yes, two) love-themed tracks, and as alarming as it is to know that Bad Religion have written a love song, it is less so once you hear it. Lyrically, it’s a mix of cheese and embittered lovelorn couplets in “Cyanide”; “Let me say / (Oh oh) well there’s no place left to hide / (Oh oh) from the loneliness inside”, complemented well by the song’s country-punk flavoured sound. “Turn Your Back On Me” is equally pessimistic.

The most effective aspects of The Dissent of Man are when Bad Religion ups the tempo and dives into more familiar waters. “Only Rain” and “The Resist Stance” (first heard on 30 Years Live) is closer to vintage BR, while tracks like “Meeting of the Minds” and “Wrong Way Kids” would not feel out of place on Generator or Against the Grain.

Gurewitz has said that there have been a few cases where they would step back from the progressive writing to pen a more straightforward punk album (as with New Maps of Hell and The Empire Strikes First) but this is not one of those times. Greg Graffin has made no secret of the band’s intake of music outside of punk rock since their earliest of days. Their latest simply shows these influences on a more prominent level. Some 30 years after their formation, The Dissent of Man is proof that one of the smartest bands on Earth is still challenging music on a multitude of levels. They’ve now challenged long-time fans and listeners as well, with remarkable effect. (Epitaph)

[xrr rating=4/5]

AUDIO STREAM: “The Pride And the Pallor”
Bad Religion – The Pride And the Pallor (from the album The Dissent of Man)


New Bad Religion album streaming in its entirety

The new Bad Religion album, The Dissent of Man, is now streaming in its entirety on their MySpace page. The album, due out September 28th via Epitaph, is the follow-up to 2007’s New Maps of Hell. Bad Religion recently celebrated their 30th anniversary as a band and gave away a free 17-track live album titled 30 Years Live.

Not content with just writing and recording a new album, front man Greg Graffin has stayed busy writing a book. Titled Anarchy Evolution: Faith, Science and Bad Religion in a World Without God, the collection details Graffin’s life growing up as well as “the formation of his naturalist worldview on questions involving God, science, and human meaning.”

Like The Dissent of Man, the book is scheduled for release September 28th. Pre-orders for both the album and the book are available via Epitaph.

After an initial listen, it is easy to say it’s “vintage Bad Religion” but it will take more than a few listens to fully get the breadth of the release. We have our a copy and will digest it proper and share a review in the near future.


Brett Gurewitz talks shop

Spinner recently spoke to Bad Religion guitarist (and Epitaph founder) Brett Gurewitz about his songwriting and the upcoming Bad Religion album, The Dissent of Man. The video of the interview can be streamed below.

In the interview, Brett talks about the differences between his methods of writing to that of front man Greg Graffin, highlighting their unique approaches to collating and collecting material for the new album (including how the new album boasts influences from the likes of Tom Petty and The Kinks). Graffin himself has been busy as of late, finishing up a new book titled Anarchy Evolution.

The first sample from the album, the track “The Devil in Stitches” can be streamed via Soundcloud and is similar to New Maps of Hell’s “Honest Goodbye.” The song’s pace is akin to their material from the past 5 years or so- trading the breakneck speed of Suffer for more textured songwriting. It however, is not lacking in the melody department. “The Devil In Stitches” proves that these seasoned punk rockers are still very much taste makers of the genre.

The Dissent of Man and Anarchy Evolution can now be pre-ordered via Epitaph. A worthwhile deal for those needing fuel for the intellect.

Video interview:

As a bonus, Brett took Spinner on a walking tour of the Epitaph office. Safe to say this label is doing all right for itself.