Sound — 8
Bad Religion is often categorised or misrepresented as a punk rock' band. This might be true, but in truth, Bad Religion offers so much more than the majority of bands described as punk rock'. Bad Religion's production sounds modern, but doesn't betray the intensity of this album. If one thought that in the aftermath of the George W. Bush Presidency that Gurewitz, Baker, and Hetson wouldn't record jagged, cutting guitar chords and solos, or that Bentley and Wackerman couldn't provide the necessary speed for the rest of the guys, one could not be more wrong. Holding it all together is Graffin, but more on him later. Only Rain, the second song on The Dissent of Man begins with an aptly vibrato filled lick that should be acknowledged by musicians everywhere as the manner in which punk rock bandsso often derided for their inchoate and amateur musicianshipshould go about in recording music. Gurewitz, Baker, and Hetson are major players in the song crafting game. They are seasoned pros who just know how to pen a melody, and how to make it work in the context of a song. This is in evidence on several tracks throughout the album, but it's what we have come to demand from the veteran punks. If there is one criticism to level at 2004's The Empire Strikes First, it is that the second half of the album is perhaps a little cumbersome, even lacking in melody at kinds. Fast forward to 2010 and we have a totally different scenario, Bad Religion maintaining their excellent sense of melody in the bridge before the solo of The Devil in Stitches, and even on later tracks such as I Won't Say Anything and Ad Hominem, the former presenting a well worked heavy introduction before the gradual ascent to a melodious but strangely dark chorus.
Lyrics — 8
The first impression of this album is that the lyrics are somewhat less tongue-tying and grandiloquent than the usual Bad Religion album. Sure, this might be the case, but there is also a degree to which the lyrics are just better adapted to the music. Graffin's voice sounds right in check from the get go, when we get to hear his voice minus music for the first second or so of The Day that the Earth Stalled. The only real low of the album is the penultimate songThis is Where the Fun iswhich feels a little too much like filler. It is because of this song that one might feel that the second half of this album falls into the same trappings as 2004's The Empire Strikes First. Simply put, it's that song that doesn't really have the intensity necessary for a slower Bad Religion song to work. The lyrics, too, sound a little below that which we demand. This misdemeanour is soon amended for in the shape of the final trackI Won't Say Anythinga song which sees Graffin at what could be his most intimate, reflective, and sincere.
Overall Impression — 8
Bad Religion really opens up on 2010's The Dissent of Man, the release of which represents an impressive end to an impressive and exceptionally productive year for Bad Religion. This line-up has been together since 2004's The Empire Strikes First, and it's as cohesive as ever, resulting in a strong collection of 15 songs, which perhaps could have been trimmed to 13 or 14 songs. I just don't feel that songs such as Someone to Believe, and Where the Fun is (both written by Brett) are really necessary to make The Dissent of Man the great record it is.