In the punk rock scene, where it seems a band’s creativity is as volatile as it’s integrity, there seems to be few true punk bands that’ve managed to worm their way through the nineties and still emerge with a storming fresh new record which slaps the young uns round the face & gives the lame MTV-pestering poppy punkers a good kick up the arse.
Bad Religion are such a band. Which is ironic considering most of the output that, original B.R. guitarist, Brett Gurewitz’s label Epitaph has churned out over the years. However, this is an album, and re-union, which many Bad Religion fans feared would never happen. Listen to their seemingly rushed and unenthusiastic ‘No Substance’ record and there seemed to be just that. A spark that needed rekindling. But they had one last contracted record for major label Atlantic. Once completed the band approached Gurewitz soon after to return to the fold, with him in turn asking the band to return to the label initially set up to release Bad Religion’s music at the start.
And so begins a new era for Bad Religion, a revitalised energy that really has seen the band evolve to make a record that’s as fresh and *exciting *as when they first formed all those years ago. Recorded at Gurewitz’s own Westbeach studios in Hollywood, *‘The Process of Belief’ *is a driving emotional blast of galloping punk rock rhythms and Greg Graffin’s infectious trademark melodies.
The welcome, and long over-due return of Brett Gurewitz is immediately noticeable in opening track ‘Supersonic’, a wild hook-filled romp that races against Graffin’s usual thought-provoking lyrics, addressing the dire state of pop-culture in the line, “How does it feel to be outstripped by the pace of cultural change?”
Gurewitz and Graffin’s dual songwriting is exceptional here with guitars that slice through a crisp and solid production with precise, hummable riffs that’ll see all the young kids strumming away in bedrooms everywhere. And no Bad Religion album, or song, would be complete without the usual who-oh-ohs and perfect backing harmonies in up-beat songs like ‘Destined For Nothing’ _and the playful _‘Materialistic’.
This is arguably Bad Religion’s best album to date and a startling example of a band who have both honoured yet completely transcended their roots. Just listen to the refreshingly original yet slower-tempo songs like _‘The Defense’ _and _‘Epiphany’ _with it’s truly incredible interweaving choruses, ensuring that after umpteen albums Bad Religion are still breaking a new mould in punk rock songwriting.
9Mat Hocking's Score