"New Maps of Hell" (Epitaph; 2008)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

This disc was released to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the first Bad Religion disc entitled,"How Could Hell Be Any Worse?" back in 1982. To those who are unfamiliar with Bad Religion I'll supply a short and to the point history lesson: These guys started out in So Cal and are credited with leading the way for punk rock and inspiring pop-punk bands thereafter.

Their lyrics are very high-level; they don't just sing about stupid stuff, instead, they use their relationships as fodder and at times are quite reflective about social issues. The line-up has changed over the years but singer Greg Graffin has remained a solid stay and the guitar player Brett Gurewitz owns Epitaph Records so he's been involved with a lot of great bands like The Offspring (you've heard of them, right?).

I have heard Bad Religion songs over the years but nothing really jumped out and grabbed me. They've been featured in tons of soundtracks, video games, and just about anything that requires a punk sound so their resume isn't just a one page deal. The guitar on this disc is just mean; there are tough solos, gritty rhythms and nasty chords all over this thirty eight minute shin kicker.

There are a few different versions available including a US version and a Japan release with two extra songs as well as a deluxe edition with sixty minutes of punk pop for those who just can't get enough Bad Religion.

Bad Religion: Greg Graffin vocals, piano; Brett Gurewitz guitar, backing vocals; Brian Baker guitar; Greg Hetson guitar; Jay Bently bass, backing vocals; Brooks Wackerman drums.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2009 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 11 Jun 2018 20:14:11 -0400.