Bad Religion

The Dissent of Man

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On Bad Religion's 15th album in 30 years, the stage opens with a sentimental but roused Greg Graffin reminiscing, “Do you remember when we were young?/Adventure had no end/Those were the days, my friend,” to recall the melodic blast of their early years. Still, even die-hard fans recognize the lack of trajectory for the band; the first album ruled, and if you like the mid-career songs, the late songs are pretty much the same. Producer Joe Barresi (Queens of the Stone Age, Tool) attempts to add range with some midtempo pop/rockers like “The Devil in Stitches,” "Won't Somebody," and “Cyanide,” the latter with Tom Petty & the HeartbreakersMike Campbell on slide guitar. In these, guitarist Brett Gurewitz’s songwriting seems more fitting for the Gin Blossoms or Lemonheads than a rapid-fire punk group, but it's a change. Elsewhere, "Only Rain" takes it back to their roots and features some of Bad Religion’s most heady anti-Christian commentary -- which is saying a lot for a band with a crossed-out cross for a family crest.

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