You know what’s the best thing about Bad Religion’s latest studio LP Age of Unreason (Epitaph Records)? How it’s such an honest and pristinely produced slab of melodic punk from a band that’s been rabble rousing since 1980. I mean, it’s futile to expect any different from this legendary Los Angeles outfit, but judging by the verbal ammunition in Age of Unreason’s chamber, it’s clear that today’s urine-soaked politics has clearly irked Bad Religion.
Regardless of President Clown Shoes roaming around the oval office we could always expect quality new output from these Angelenos, but Age of Unreason would’ve been a different product without him. Is it subtle? With lyrics like “Big cyber weapon, little trader in chief,” “Art of the Deal” “Alternative facts” prominently and proudly on display, subtlety is riding the bench. I’ve said it a million times and stand by it today; distrust of public institutions is the perfect catalyst for energizing heavy metal and punk rock. Just look up Dead Kennedys in the eighties, peep Rage Against the Machine during the nineties or the devastation Lamb of God was laying down in the mid aughts.
But all of Greg Graffin’s – whose voice is as strong as it’s ever been – dissent and insight would be for naught without the right sounds to back it up and Bad Religion is still holding their end of the punk bargain. The band is still very much in the in the melodic and clean (but not too polished) punk business on bruisers like ‘Chaos from Within’ and ‘My Sanity.’ ‘Do the Paranoid Style’ and ‘Faces of Grief’ push the tempos and creative drum fills further down the rev range right to the hardcore border. Surprisingly ‘Candidate’ has some of the most biting lyrics but isn’t afraid to slow down the tempos and engage in some folksy acoustic guitars.
Bad Religion, an American institution worth believing in.