Bad Religion - Age Of Unreason - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Bad Religion - Age Of Unreason

by James Weiskittel Rating:8 Release Date:2019-05-03
Bad Religion - Age Of Unreason
Bad Religion - Age Of Unreason

Few bands have managed to bridge the generation gap within an audience like the SoCal punk legends Bad Religion. They are both revered and relevant; an impressive combination when you consider the shelf-life of your typical rock band. And now, nearly forty years into their career, the band is set to release yet another politically relevant album, Age of Unreason.

Their first release since 2013’s True North (their longest such break to date), Age of Unreason is an uncompromising blast of musical venom aimed directly at the powers that be. Undoubtedly inspired by the current political climate, Greg Graffin’s vocals are as spirited as ever. He tosses out one lyrical gem after another, sparing no expense on his emotional investment all while never sacrificing his trademark wit. Mind you, this has always been one of the band’s strengths (Graffin moonlights as a Ph.D. decorated lecturer for Pete’s sake), but the man has seriously raised the bar on what counts as the band’s seventeenth official outing.

Kicking things off with a bang, the rip-roarin’ “Chaos From Within” rides a frenetic barrage of riffs to great effect and is a perfect re-introduction. The two songs that follow, the mid-tempo “My Sanity” and the breakneck “Do The Paranoid Style”, are both vintage slabs of SoCal punk that set the stage perfectly for Graffin’s measured bark. From there, Age Of Unreason gives you exactly what you'd expect from a Bad Religion record; at this stage in the game, the band clearly has no interest in reinventing the wheel. But while the record is chock full of amps-to-eleven anthems, there are just enough left turns (the infectious “Candidate” and the backbeat-driven “Big Black Dog”) tossed into the mix to keep things interesting.

At this point in their career, with nothing left to prove (or lose), Bad Religion should be commended for still having something to say; the band is clearly looking to make an impact with their music. Nothing more, nothing less. And regardless of who you are, if you’re checking out a band’s seventeenth album, chances are, you were sold before you even hit play.

The good news is, Age Of Unreason is not only a good album, it’s a damn good album. Will it supplant any of their classics from your all-time top 5? Probably not. Will you spend the next three months listening to it? Most definitely. And to hear Bad Religion sounding this inspired nearly forty years into their career is not only a testament to the band itself but also a pretty good indicator of just how messed up things are right now.

And to that point, for a group that says so much with their music, it's this recent quote from Guitarist Brett Gurewitz that really sums up Age Of Unreason the best: “The band has always stood for enlightenment values. Today, these values of truth, freedom, equality, tolerance, and science, are in real danger. This record is our response.

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