New Maps of Hell review by Bad Religion

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  • Released: Jul 10, 2007
  • Sound: 7
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 7.7 Good
  • Users' score: 9.2 (67 votes)
Bad Religion: New Maps of Hell
1

Sound — 7
Longevity is a concept that relatively few bands have had the luck to achieve. Twenty-seven years, and fourteen albums later, L.A. based punk rock stalwarts, Bad Religion, have obviously been fortunate in that respect. Although, it was a little tough over the years, the departure of a co-writer is bound to have a massive impact on your band, even if he is replaced with the guitarist from Dag Nasty, they have managed to make an incredible and welcome comeback which has continued through to their latest release New Maps of Hell. Of the albums that I have heard, which, judging by the sheer size of their catalogue isn't much, this has to be quite possibly one of the more musically diverse albums they've released as of late. Starting with the frantic, 58 second long, "52 Seconds" the album takes off with a soaring vitality with brash, caustic, go-for-the-jugular punk. However, there is a brillant pop-sensiblity amid the straight up punk songs, as evidenced by the song, "Before You Die." Although it sounds like it has the potential to be a Green Day outtake, the band pulls it off with a subtle flare that is catchy, and will leave you singing it for hours on end. Additionally, there is some slight experimental work, appropriate, since it is the follow-up to The Empire Strikes First, as seen through the song, "Fields of Mars," an allegory accented with a piano or even the Weezer soundalike, "Honest Goodbye." The guitars are as interwoven as ever, and really stand out on songs like "Grains of Wrath" and "New Dark Ages," and of course the BR standard three (or, according to Mr. Brett, four) part harmonies are just as tight as ever, creating a sound that helps Bad Religion stand out strongly against their younger cohorts.

Lyrics — 8
The lyrics are, as per usual, stellar. On this album, Bad Religion a full blown attack on anything and everything that they deem abominable. Topics ranging from alternative energy sources ("Grains of Wrath") to growing religiosity and religion in general("New Dark Ages," "Dearly Beloved," "Scrutiny") to war ("Submission Complete," "Fields of Mars," "Murder") to literature ("Honest Goodbye") to standing up for what you believe is right ("Requiem For Dissent") are covered. For a band that has been notorious for political and social commentary, this would seem like par for the course, but Bad Religion has a trick up their sleeve: an advanced vocabulary, and a wording of phrases and use of metaphor that makes a person think about these subjects more. And it helps to have a singer with a soulful and commanding voice that creates a sense of urgency. Although that voice is not as full as it used to be, in fact on this album, it seems to be fairly strained in some instances, you should probably remember that twenty-seven years touring and performing is bound to take it's toll.

Overall Impression — 8
Although it is no Suffer, and there are few albums that will ever be comparable to that one, it certainly gets the job done. Interestingly, one of the aspects that caught the attention of my ears, was the neat little musical throwbacks to earlier albums, and how they were thrown into the mix of new material. It's like they've learned from their history as a band, and improved upon it. I would definitely buy this album again.

22 comments sorted by best / new / date

    ss311
    The UG review was alluding to the Bravery's song, Honest Mistake.
    Jau_Peacecraft
    And is it that hard to make sure that the smashing pumpinks pic ain't showing for the bad religion review on the front page? Incompetents.
    Jau_Peacecraft
    This shows what Ive suspected all along: UG has lazy, sloppy reviews. Please, fire this guy and hire someone else. I would even volunteer; despite my own flame on/off switch, I could easily write 5x more professionally than that (i already do on a certain band site). Then again, I wouldn't want to volunteer at a place that bans for something even remotley anti-Avril LoLs.
    seventyXseven
    And did anyone fail to realize the release date error and the label error isnt it technically the 10th it was released (since everything is released on tuesdays) and the label is clearly epitaph.
    motown_philly
    oh for the love of god... odious - adj. -deserving or causing hatred -highly offensive in no way is that a synonym of reminiscent. it was used in the wrong context. although i do agree with some points. this record does get very repetitive. if they would have shaved it down to about 12 songs it would have been better, and the faster songs are mostly the good ones. but, they have three guitarists. how could they not achieve that layered sound live? it sounds like the reviewer didn't know what he was talking about. maybe this will grow on me, but so far i greatly prefer Empire Strikes First.
    seventyXseven
    wow...who wrote that UG review ...if so kick them off the team. this album is amazing and deffinatly didnt let me down, im astonished at the way brooks drums it gets better and better as it goes until you have the amazing fills at the end of Submission complete it ddeffintaly deserves a higher score though.
    gwitersnamps
    Regardless of the lyrics, this is still a pretty good album. The guitars (this is still a guitar website, right?) are amazingly well defined for having three of them!
    Jau_Peacecraft
    Written well? Are you ****ing kidding me? It sounded like the guy was taking a dump while coming up with a lot that bullshit. Without the few portion of users who are intelligent and contribute shit, UG would be down the tubes, forever forgotten, especially with this poor journalism going on.
    str84ever
    SL!!! wrote: The thing is, Graffin has also penned lyrics odious of a child trying to rhyme, Everybody, is a bastard, our world is like plaster. It may sound intellectual, but believe me, it isnt. Its original, but boring nonethelessThat's an example of the incorrect use of the word "odious." Also, this doesn't make a lot of sense, if it's bad, it's not also good. Poor writing throughout both reviews; i really wish that UG would spell check or get better writers for ALL of their articles.
    I thought the review was good. I will check it out!
    Letterbomb11
    I think this is their second worst album, actually. Their material is finally starting to sound tired and redundant, IMO.
    ss311
    SL!!! wrote: The thing is, Graffin has also penned lyrics odious of a child trying to rhyme, Everybody, is a bastard, our world is like plaster. It may sound intellectual, but believe me, it isnt. Its original, but boring nonetheless That's an example of the incorrect use of the word "odious." Also, this doesn't make a lot of sense, if it's bad, it's not also good. Poor writing throughout both reviews; i really wish that UG would spell check or get better writers for ALL of their articles.
    The UG review is written well, however, it unfortunately contains inaccuracies. There were no spelling errors in the UG review as far as I can se at a glance and you didn't capitalise your 'i', so who are you to talk? You could have applied for a psot as a UG writer, but obviously, you either enjoyed rejection, or didn't bother in the first place. This UG review was obviously written by one of their new and inexperienced writers. Within 2 months, I highly doubt any punk or hardocre reviews will contain such mistakes. By the way, odious is fine in that context. It's called variation. Other words like 'reminiscent' and 'redolent' are over used, and odious refers to the negative, so it fits in.
    Shade7777
    Indeed it's Honest Goodbye and not just a stadium rock song! I got the album saturday and it is pretty good but in my opinion it can't measure by The Empire Strikes First by miles! When I first heard TESF (and still) nearly everyone song gave me this 'WOW this rocks!' feeling. I have this a lot when the intro song goes over into the chanting of Sinister Rouge, Athiest Peace, All there is, Los Angeles is Burning and more songs. I feel like the powerful exploding energy TESF had, this album is missing. Nevertheless, a quite different and good album but for them too exceed TESF, they have to do way better than this. The only songs on TNMOH that really have that catchy thing and/or the exploding energy (which the entire album of TESF has) are Honest Goodbye, Scrutiny (refrain reminds me of Epiphany)The Grand Delusion and Reqiuem for Dissent. This album is good and the music is nice but in my opinion Bad Religion can do way better as they have proven by many songs (and TESF, can't say it enough )
    bortwitdabort
    SL!!! wrote: The thing is, Graffin has also penned lyrics odious of a child trying to rhyme, Everybody, is a bastard, our world is like plaster. It may sound intellectual, but believe me, it isnt. Its original, but boring nonethelessThat's an example of the incorrect use of the word "odious." Also, this doesn't make a lot of sense, if it's bad, it's not also good. Poor writing throughout both reviews; i really wish that UG would spell check or get better writers for ALL of their articles.
    Nor is it original... Exodus... fabulous Disaster And for ever after you can hear the laughter worlds being plastered by an evil bastard exterminating faster devastating plaster Fabulous Disaster
    SL!!!
    The thing is, Graffin has also penned lyrics odious of a child trying to rhyme, Everybody, is a bastard, our world is like plaster. It may sound intellectual, but believe me, it isnt. Its original, but boring nonetheless
    That's an example of the incorrect use of the word "odious." Also, this doesn't make a lot of sense, if it's bad, it's not also good. Poor writing throughout both reviews; i really wish that UG would spell check or get better writers for ALL of their articles.
    huevos
    For a UCLA professor, Graffin does have tendencies to repeat himself in his lyrical topics as well. Religion is bad, we get it; have you much else to say?
    Wow! Who ever did the featured review is so far off base, that i wonder if they even listened to this album (or any BR albums for that matter). Greg Graffin doesn't say that any specific religion is bad, just that you shouldn't have faith in an organization that you don't know personally. If the writers of the review have such literary concepts at their grasp (such as the supposed Honest Mistake allusion), they would understand that.
    Pete4047
    Why do you think it's called Honest Mistake? It's called Honest Goodbye. Have you heard or read something else??
    Pete4047
    ss311 wrote: FrancoSelf wrote: this is bullshit, the song its called HONEST GOODBYE and the lyrics actually have a deeper meaning than trying to be a stadium rock song anyways, this cd kicks some serious ass, i think it's their best work since stranger than fiction Do you not get irony, Honest Mistake is a Bravery Song, and the writer is merely alluding to it sounding like one of those bands.
    Again, it's called Honest GOODBYE
    ss311
    Jau_Peacecraft wrote: This shows what Ive suspected all along: UG has lazy, sloppy reviews. Please, fire this guy and hire someone else. I would even volunteer; despite my own flame on/off switch, I could easily write 5x more professionally than that (i already do on a certain band site). Then again, I wouldn't want to volunteer at a place that bans for something even remotley anti-Avril LoLs.
    I pity the site that you do reviews for if your efforts are like the one you posted on UG. Everyone read this travesty of a review. You received a 1/7 helpful rating and, what's more, your level of English is basic. The supposed critique in question is not witty, objective or remotely 'pro'. Good day. http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/reviews/c... /avril_lavigne/the_best_damn_thing/index.html Everyone scroll down and look for Jau_Peacecraft's review. It's laughably worse than this one.