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The Blue & Gray Press | September 24, 2017

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Bad Religion Starting to Seem Ancient With its 15th Effort

By KYLE SHEARIN

Bad Religion, everybody’s favorite punk band fronted by a paleontology professor, is back for their 15th album, “Dissent of Man.”

It’s a little overwhelming to fathom a band that’s over 30 years old and still running strong. For as long as most of us can remember, Bad Religion has always been a constant force in punk rock and has survived every fad and trend that has shaped and maneuvered influence onto new generations of bands.

There is something truly commendable about a constant output over such a long period of time.

So after such a huge amount of history as one of the few bands that can actually claim to have had eras, can Bad Religion still bring the noise?

If you’ve had any contact with Bad Religion’s output from the past decade, you will find that not much has changed. It’s all in the vein of past efforts with speedy, aggressive, blistering guitars with Greg Graffin’s trademark vocals and challenging lyrics despite being somewhat predictable this time around.

One clear standout is the first single, “The Devil in Stitches,” which offers a more imaginative narrative and driving force that complements itself. It specifically recalls the Gaslight Anthem’s recent output of combing melody and forceful swagger but way less Jersey-ness.

“Ad Hominem” has lyrical vigor but still falls into the anti-religion pallet that recurs again and again in their music while “Cyanide” is definitely a deviation that adds a bit of country twang to the guitars.

It makes you wonder why they didn’t just combine these ideas for more songs that would certainly be less drab. But it probably wouldn’t help the dad-rock comparison that plagues Wilco so much.

There’s an overall feeling that everything on this record has been done before, and done better by the band itself.
Bad Religion has never strived to be innovative or contribute anything remarkably experimental to what they do. Bad Religion just creates meat and potatoes aggressive punk rock with something to say.

Maybe Bad Religion is just set in their ways, as less production will do wonders for the band’s sound and urgency. “Dissent of Man” adds a few more great songs to the Bad Religion canon, but offers nothing that long-time fans haven’t heard or expect to find.

3 out of 5 stars

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