New Maps of Hell review by Bad Religion

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  • Released: Jul 10, 2007
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.2 (67 votes)
Bad Religion: New Maps of Hell
3

Sound — 9
This album isn't Suffer, it isn't Against the Grain, and it isn't No Control. You can't expect a bunch of forty-year-olds to rock like they were teenagers. With that said, this album fully captures the sound that is Bad Religion. There are the fast songs, such as "Dearly Beloved" and "Heroes and Martyrs", and the slower songs such as "Before You Die". Probably the most surprising sound on the album, however, is the single "Honest Goodbye". I knew from the opening note that this song was going to be something different, and it isn't your usual Bad Religion song with the grinding power chords and fast pace. Does that mean they made this song to sell records? I can't tell you. Even though it doesn't sound like "I Want To Conquer the World", It is catchy. One thing that Bad Religion always gets trashed for (and this album's reception shows it) is that the album sounds like every other Bad Religion album. I have to say that there are musical similarities within every Bad Religion song, and that is part of what makes them great. Some bands feel that every new album has to sound different, and there seems to be a push in the musical world for everything to sound new and different. Bad Religion, on the other hand doesn't embrace this philosophy, and I'm glad they don't. I would have bought New Maps of Hell without listening to a single track because I would have known what I would have gotten: punk rock with intelligent lyrics and beautiful harmonies. With that said, this album does have it's differences from previous ones. "Prodigal Son" seems to take it's time rather than just grind through, and the harmonies and melody take center stage. "Fields of Mars" is a standout track in sound, with the use of piano in the intro. When it first started I thought I was getting a rejected track from "Into the Unknown", but it quickly went back to the good old Bad Religion punk rock. I feel it's a welcome change, and I love it.

Lyrics — 8
Greg Graffin could sing disco and I'd listen to it religiously. He and Brett Gurewitz definitely bring the intellect on this album, as you would expect with anything Bad Religion does. My favorite track on the album, "New Dark Ages" has one of the catchiest choruses I've ever heard: "Welcome to the new dark ages / I hope you're living right / these are the new dark ages / and the world might end tonight", and although the chorus to that song is the highlight, the verses are still amazing. The next track, "Requiem for Dissent" calls upon dissenters to come out of the shadows. Although this song's topic is one that has been done countless times in recent years, it's approach is what makes it unique. "Prodigal Son", one of the best on the album, brings Horatio Alger into th fray in only the second line of the song. This sounds like forced rhyming, but it is regardless fitting to the subject of the song. The seemingly forced rhyming in "Before You Die", however, does detract from the song as the line "Everybody is a bastard / my world is like plaster" sticks out like a sore thumb.

Overall Impression — 10
I love Bad Religion. From the first listen of "American Jesus" to the moment I saw them at Warped Tour through The Empire Strikes First until today, I have always loved them. Bad Religion does not experiment with their sound to try to grab wider audiences, and they rarely do a song with a generic pop/rock theme just to attract attention. Bad Religion is not a band that you absolutely love because of the artistic quality of an album, they're a band that you love because they're always there to provide a consistent voice of dissent and provide an intellectual argument against crimes in society. There aren't a lot of bands out there where every song can be quoted in a Political Science paper. New Maps of Hell is a great Bad Religion album. Did I flip over it like I did when I heard either of the two most recent Brand New albums? No. New Maps of Hell is something that is good to hear in a musical world as diverse as today. In a world where every band is trying to do something to set them apart, Bad Religion releases an album just like they have done since Back To the Known, no drastic change in sound, no dramatic lyrical storylines, just good old punk rock. It's good to hear an album that does not try to be something it isn't, and instead achieves exactly what it set out to be. You can't hail this album as a new turn in punk rock, because this sound has always been there, there's nothing new about it and that makes it beautiful. All in all, "New Dark Ages" is as catchy as a virus and "Prodigal Son" really gets you moving. The three songs that were out before the album, "Requiem for Dissent", "Honest Goodbye" and "Heroes and Martyrs" fit well into the context of the album, although "Honest Goodbye" does stand out as it's style is different. This album is definitely going to get a lot of playing time due to it's tremendous songwriting and incredibly catchy songs. Bad Religion's members may be over 40, but that doesn't mean their music is old.

23 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Jau_Peacecraft
    Oh wow, I am very threatened by your penis. I just said I was capable of flaming, like everyone else is, but also capable of intelligent thought, such as the logic of listening to an album before reviewing, where as the UG review honestly sounds like it was a modified version of some other review, either that, or the person who submitted just didn't give a ****. I bet your proud of yourself for being so punk; you even brought out a link to a flame I posted on the Avril review, which, despite it's inflammatory tone and obvious bias, was probably ACCEPTED due to the fact that a lot of other reviews were sucking Avril's (most likely existent) cock about her equally sucking music; in other words, I shared a different opinion. Please don't look down on yourself for not realizing any of that sooner, I'm sure somebody else will link to your New York Dolls review and point out how laughablly worser it is than the latest Spice Girls review. http://ultimate-guitar.com/reviews/compa... new_york_dolls/new_york_dolls/index.html LoL! You received a 2of 2 rating for people finding your review a useful example for situations to stab your eyes out due to the lack of an indented paragraph and most likley some other esoteric misspellings which hardly anyone would give two shits about. The supposed critque in question is in fact very witty, objective and so "fresh" and "dope" and "stupid fly" that you'll probably be taking it up in the ass over at Rolling Stone any day now. Good day.
    Jonnis
    Jau_Peacecraft wrote: Did it ever occur to you I purposely put 'worser' there? Or perhaps I should've used a STOP sign, or some bold italics , maybe your brain would've registered some of those higher concepts of humor that seem to elude you.
    Did it ever occur to you that your humour sucks?
    Jau_Peacecraft
    actually seventy, only 2 of those albums are really outcasted; The Gray Race is the "safe choice" by many fans to choose from the non-Brett period at Atlantic the band had. Although, thats not to say The Gray Race is not a good album; it's a great concept album with a unique sound, but i find it hypocritical for some fans to outcast No Substance, when save for 2 or 3 tracks, is a pretty good album. The New America though I found to have legitmate problems: too positive lyrics (not really the usual with BR), more personalized graffin lyrics (not really a bad thing, but again, not usual BR), problems with the producer (Todd Rundgren was apparently an *****, I remember Jay i think at some point in an interview remarking that), and they left off some good tracks that ended up as b-sides (the fast & the pretenders) that might've helped the album. Also, I just listened to this album, and I have to say, it is excellent. A much more balanced album than TESF, with much stronger lyrics. The only dissapointment was Fields Of Mars; it sounded simply too formulaic and the little use of piano was just a tease :p. I kinda wished they had the omitted song New Chapter as the last song, as this album sounds as if Bad Religion is moving on to a new chapter in the evolution of their sound. I'll save the rest for my review I'll type up later .
    petetheelite
    bloody good album. even though there songs follow a similar formula. Atleast it's a good formula.
    motown_philly
    splinter843 wrote: P.S. in prodigal son...did anyone notice that that one part around 24 where it goes oh oh oh leading up to the harmony it sounds like that one song...oh oh oh its magic!
    yeah! i noticed that too! speaking of odd parts in BR songs, i'm surprised no one has mentioned the 5/4 section in Submission Complete. You can always count on them to throw something unexpected into an album.
    splinter843
    seventyXseven wrote: splinter843 wrote: When I first listened to this album I wasn't too impressed, but a couple more listens through, the album grew on me very quickly. This album is very strong throughout, it just takes getting accustomed to the songs, at least for me. P.S. Why do the three albums that Bad Religion released without Gurewitz never really get any publicity, like they never play any of those songs live and those albums are kind of looked down upon. Even though Mr. Brett wasn't present in any of them, they still are good albums! answer to your question brett isn't always with them live if you've seen them, he's always busy with epitaph, i saw them on the dropkick murphy's and comeback kid tour and he wasnt there.
    that doesn't answer my question at all...
    seventyXseven
    splinter843 wrote: When I first listened to this album I wasn't too impressed, but a couple more listens through, the album grew on me very quickly. This album is very strong throughout, it just takes getting accustomed to the songs, at least for me. P.S. Why do the three albums that Bad Religion released without Gurewitz never really get any publicity, like they never play any of those songs live and those albums are kind of looked down upon. Even though Mr. Brett wasn't present in any of them, they still are good albums!
    answer to your question brett isn't always with them live if you've seen them, he's always busy with epitaph, i saw them on the dropkick murphy's and comeback kid tour and he wasnt there.
    splinter843
    "Graffins lyrics are poor and the delivery has something very un-Graffin about it. He should stick to penning lyrics that dont sound this insincere and intentional." Wow what a retard...how could anybody say that about Greg's lyrics. "insincere"? The first review is crap! He gave lyrics a 6/10...i think bad religion should always get a 10 for lyrics compared to most bands. P.S. in prodigal son...did anyone notice that that one part around 24 where it goes oh oh oh leading up to the harmony it sounds like that one song...oh oh oh its magic!
    splinter843
    When I first listened to this album I wasn't too impressed, but a couple more listens through, the album grew on me very quickly. This album is very strong throughout, it just takes getting accustomed to the songs, at least for me. P.S. Why do the three albums that Bad Religion released without Gurewitz never really get any publicity, like they never play any of those songs live and those albums are kind of looked down upon. Even though Mr. Brett wasn't present in any of them, they still are good albums!
    UniversalCynic
    Gyojiro wrote: UniversalCynic wrote: Consider how many bands have been the next big thing and have fizzled. The Distillers? Blink 182? The Offspring? Not to nitpick, but you know The Offspring are still around, and still quite popular, right? They've got another album due out soon, I heard.
    Yeah. Perhaps they are not the best example? I just hope that when they are still recording years from now reviewers don't bust their balls for evolving musically. As an addendum to my previous post. The two other reviews by the UG team are far superior to the 1st one. they were honest and informed. I meant to type that, but was still smarting and the remedial nature of the first one.
    anechoic nebula
    Gyojiro wrote: Wait, what the heck, I just noticed something... Why was this released on Sony Records, and not Epitaph?!
    It was released on Epitaph, don't know why it says Sony.
    Jonnis
    Did he say he was great at reviews? And why are you threatened by his penis??? You afraid he will shove it somewhere?
    Gyojiro
    UniversalCynic wrote: Consider how many bands have been the next big thing and have fizzled. The Distillers? Blink 182? The Offspring?
    Not to nitpick, but you know The Offspring are still around, and still quite popular, right? They've got another album due out soon, I heard.
    Gyojiro
    Wait, what the heck, I just noticed something... Why was this released on Sony Records, and not Epitaph?!
    minimann
    msot reviews on big websites are generally biased towards the mainstream and fairdoos but hey calm teh arguing and just aprreciate quality music (another fault with the U-G reviws is theat Gallows and Against ME! new releases were rated higher- gallows are average IMO and New Wave is terrible) In support of Jau_Peacecraft i too am a member of the site he contributes to greatly and he does present a very fair argument with mostly perfect grammar (not that i look out for mistakes)
    Jau_Peacecraft
    I want to apologize for flooding the comments with an argument (not the argument itself) when I could've posted a review up today , but it turns out the import edition I'm getting is delayed until Tuesday :\. Sooner or later I'll put my money where my mouth is ;D.
    Jau_Peacecraft
    Oh no masta sir, I won't spell not correctly next time, oh no lord, I swear I won't. Did it ever occur to you I purposely put 'worser' there? Or perhaps I should've used a STOP sign, or some bold italics , maybe your brain would've registered some of those higher concepts of humor that seem to elude you. Btw, UniveersalCynic has it right on the dot, although the other reviews sounded like genuine writing & reviewing, so I doubt anyone will have a huge problem with them.
    Jau_Peacecraft
    Apparently sarcasm and a sense of humor are dead concepts @ UG. Perhaps I should learn Latin and put on blackface, and dance for Mr. Ss311 Masta Boss Sir.
    UniversalCynic
    The UG team offers up a poor uninformed review of a great record. It appears that the writer obsessed with meeting a deadline instead of actually listening to the music, or doing any research for that matter. The writer also suggests that the record suffers from elements that will not be able to be reproduced live. Are you serious? A live band doesn't sound exactly like it does in the studio? Thanks for the scoop! I had no idea. What a fantastic observation! One thing that reviews of BRs work fail to recognize is that there are very few bands that provide a solid frame of reference for which to judge BR. The mere fact that they are able to produce solid relevant punk rock music, while evolving their sound at the same time is nothing short of remarkable. Consider how many bands have been the next big thing and have fizzled. The Distillers? Blink 182? The Offspring? There have been duds and mistakes along the way for BR (New America, No Substance, Into The Unknown) but this is the third record in a row that proves this band has not stepped back at all, but in fact have taken a huge leap forward. To suggest that all of Bad Religion's music centered around "Religion is bad" is to miss the point entirely of their intent. After reading your review though, as well as some of you past work, it's not an entirely shocking oversight on your part at all.
    ss311
    I'm sure somebody else will link to your New York Dolls review and point out how laughablly worser
    Does anyone else see what's wrong with this? Poor grammar and spelling at its worst.
    n00barmy
    I held off listening to this album for a while because I keep hearing how new BR isn't as good. That might be true but I finally listened to this album and I was pleasantly surprised. I like this album a lot, it blew away my expectations (or lack thereof...)