Bands that have been abusing ear drums as long as Bad Religion have a unique problem:
How do you avoid the wrath of those claiming that you haven’t “stayed true to your roots”, whilst avoiding those claiming you’ve “become samey” AND trying to attract new fans?
It’s a true head-scratcher, but listen to ‘The Dissent of Man’, and you’ll realise Bad Religion have shot from the hip and done exactly the right thing: make the music they want to make.
It’s easy to review a band rather than an album when you’ve grown up on the music that they make, so the easiest way to describe ‘The Dissent of Man’ is that it’s by no means a treasure trove of surprises musically, but it is a treasure trove of potentially great Bad Religion songs.
Sure, it’s not the band at their most ‘punk-rock’, and yes, there are a few select moments when it threatens to become ‘more of the same’, but a few listens clear away the cobwebs of preconception and let you wrap your ears around it a bit.
The fantastic and trademark harmonies are ever-present and ever wonderful, and songs like ‘Avalon’ ‘Ad Hominem’ ‘and ‘Meeting of the Minds’ (deliberately chosen from the post-track-10 part of the album to prove a point), are all excellent.
Although it’s unlikely to ever get the same chance as some of it’s predecessors to draw in a volume of new fans, it’s a great record in it’s own right and anyone who’s ever given Bad Religion a chance and liked what they’ve heard will have something to take away and enjoy.