When you’re a band with the legacy of Bad Religion, it must provide some sort of comfort, although the band must certainly know that six years in between their last album (2013’s ‘True North’) is quite a long gap; the band’s longest between records so far.
Guitarist Greg Hetson and drummer Brooks Wackerman have departed the band in this time window, and a lot has happened with society at large as well; the political climate took a turn in such a way that allowed Donald Trump to become US president, and you’d think that Bad Religion would have a lot to say about that.
Guitarist Brett Gurewitz reportedly said in the build-up to the release “…we should have an album’s worth of ‘Fuck Trump’ songs pretty soon. It’s exactly what we need.” With that in mind, the timing seems ripe for the band’s seventeenth studio record, ‘Age Of Unreason’.
‘Chaos From Within’ and ‘My Sanity’ offer solid melodic punk rock, with Greg Graffin‘s solid ear for melody shining through as usual, as well as ‘Do The Paranoid Style’, which is more complex harmonically, but also the band’s signature three-way harmonies and politically charged lyrics are still front and center.
Even if this isn’t musically reinventing the wheel (they’ve already done that and inspired countless bands), you can always count on Bad Religion for insightful, witty retorts against political and societal ills. ‘End Of History’, for example, is a scathing riposte against myopic nostalgia, and, of course, Donald Trump.
Unsurprisingly, this album is like most albums of this ilk; designed for fans to familiarise themselves with the songs, learn the words, and then have a wonderful time at the show. All in all, this is another solid offering from the punk veterans. At this point, you know what you’ll get with Bad Religion, with a song like the immediate ‘Since Now’ being a typical example of what they offer.
‘Age Of Unreason’ may not quite end up being the white-hot, all-encompassing soundtrack to post-Trump America, but it’s essential for fans.