In their 30th year, punk rock’s statesmen Bad Religion release their 15th Studio album in celebration of their monumental achievement. Bad Religion can be credited for defining a fast, melodic approach to punk rock that has influenced a million bands over time. From opening cut The Day The Earth Stalled, you get that familiar Bad Religion formula: 128 beats a minute; triple guitar driven power chords; and Greg Graffin’s harmony blaring through your headphones. Bad Religion don’t have to re-invent the wheel, just make you remember why it was needed in the first place.
Yet, with The Dissent Of Man there is a change. For the first time, you don’t have to listen to this album with a dictionary by your side to understand what the hell Greg is singing about. The long, obtuse words are lacking in this album. The distinct difference between Greg’s social and political based material and Brett’s more poetic songs are not as easily defined. The album is also slower in comparison to New Maps Of Hell and The Empire Strikes First, but there is still plenty of oohs and aahs and there is still the social commentary that forms the basis of the Bad Religion sound.
The album has a more reflective mood to it. Having opened people’s minds to the problems in the world for the last three decades, both Greg and Brett have taken this time to reflect on what really has changed in the world and if there has been any real change. Songs like Won’t Somebody, Turn Your Back On Me and I Won’t Say Anything display this reflective tone. While the album may have its mellower moments, it still has great punk numbers in ‘Cyanide’ and single The Devil In Stitches.
This is not the best Bad Religion album they’ve made and it certainly is not their worst. It’s a good indication of where a band of thirty years is at. It’s still catchy, it’s still melodic and it’s still Bad Religion, and regardless, fans of punk rock will still get this record as a testimony to what this band has accomplished.