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New Maps of Hell

4.4 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In a world ruled increasingly by superstition and intolerance, Bad Religion's rousing wall-of-sound punk seems about as necessary now as ever before. It is the impassioned sound of reason, anthems of a bittersweet idealism and a guarded hope set to propulsive guitars and charging drumbeats. And while most groups with even half the artistic output have long ago morphed into stylistic self-parody, Bad Religion is currently surging forward with a renewed creative intensity. Their fourteenth album is both a nod to the band's defiant past and an undeniable step forward in the evolution of a genre they helped to define. Look for them on this summer's Warped Tour, inspiring a new generation of fans.

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Bad Religion has for years been considered by new crops of listeners to be a vital band because they're such OG hardcore kingpins. And while the band's justly revered--they've managed to stay together for almost 25 years, all while getting better and growing their audience--"political punk realness" is not where their strengths lie. As to their political numbers, they were never quite able to pen the sort of personal yet timeless anthems that the Minutemen or the Ex did, while in terms of 1-2-3-4 punch, you'd get far more visceral thrills from the first Damned single. Of course, Southern California punk bands injected bushels of melody and hooks into their songs, and B.R. added elements of metal and even psychedelia to their own taut tunes. Their fourteenth album to date, New Maps is a terrific sounding record; at least two-thirds of it begs many repeated listens. The album's second single, "Heroes and Martyrs," is exactly what the band does best. A tightly-coiled and super revved-up anthem, it pits the energy and fast Barre chord sound of the greatest hardcore with a delicious, poppy production and doubled-up backing vocals that brings to mind Queen (or at least Queens of the Stone Age), in the very best way. --Mike McGonigal
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 10, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Epitaph / Ada
  • ASIN: B000RGSOBO
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #81,630 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By John M. Helebrant on July 9, 2008
Format: Audio CD
First off, a lot of folks have been complaining about a deluxe edition having been released by Epitaph. They believe Epitaph is turning into just another big name record company. Let me set the record straight by saying these people are simply those who have the album and can't justify dishing out another 20 bucks for the deluxe edition. And as far as I'm concerned, Epitaph is offering the fan base a great thing here.

I'm writing this review for those that have already purchased New Maps of Hell as I also purchased the album upon its release. But I also purchased the deluxe edition and I have to say... It's well worth the money.

All of the original songs are still intact on the CD as they were in the original release. In addition are seven acoustic tracks. Personally, I didn't buy it for those as I don't think the Bad Religion sound really fits well in an acoustic setting. But Greg has done some solo acoustic work and I know he's good at it. Time will tell whether I get into them.

What really stands out in my opinion is the DVD. If you have Bad Religion's Live at The Palladium, then you'll understand that a concert like that will cost around 20 bucks. Well this is no different. There's an entire concert filmed at the House of Blues in Vegas on this DVD. It consists of 22 songs and the production is actually quite good. It consists of old favorites like Modern Man, Generator, No Control, I want to Conquer the World, American Jesus, and a slew of others including tracks off of New Maps of Hell. It may not be as energetic as past concerts, but it's done very well.

There's also a documentary on the DVD of how Brett and Greg recorded the acoustic tracks. I don't much care for that, but others might.
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Format: Audio CD
Bad Religion's third album since their triumphant return to their own Epitaph Records is surely the fastest and angriest of them all. All sense of hope ("It's time to turn the tides. . .") is gone here, replaced by a looming dark reality ("Welcome to the new dark ages") and sadness ("Pity yet another casualty's demoralized decline").

On first listen, the sonic blasts and scathing lyrics elicit thoughts of their late 80's albums (No Control, Against the Grain) but the song structures and impeccable musicianship is something we have not heard from them since Into the Unknown, except here it is punk and not prog, and it is produced so slick you could slide off it.

A major achievement by a band that already has enough major achievements to retire with a great legacy. More younger acts should look to them and follow their maps through hell.

Grab yourself a neighbor's skeleton to lean upon, and prepare for the decent.
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I did not think the original "New Maps of Hell" was a terrific CD. There were perhaps three songs that I feel are really strong tracks. But this, the deluxe version, is a fantastic value. I would have paid $20 just for the acoustic songs, which are just excellent. I hope more acoustic versions of Bad Religion songs are forthcoming. I love the punkier and rockier stuff a lot, but after a while, it's a little like Taco Bell--you know they're only working with about four ingredients, and no matter how many combinations you put the ingredients together in, the taste is going to be largely the same. With the acoustic stuff, a lot of nuance and subtlety emerges, and the brilliance of the lyrics shines through better. And the acoustic guitar work on "Sorrow" was a revelation. A band this musically capable shouldn't restrict themselves to a narrow style, any more than a truly talented chef should be making chalupas. A very impressive work, which restores my faith in the band's direction. Incidentally, someone commented that if the concert footage included in this package is representative, then Bad Religion must not be a very good live band. It's impossible to say where questions of taste are concerned, but I think Bad Religion is a wondeful live act. I've seen them four times so far and they put on a hell of a show. If I have a complaint at all it's that they could do with a little more variety. I realize they might be suffering from the "Misery" trap--give the fans what they want, or they'll chop off your foot and hold you hostage. But even hard-moshing punks can be won over to a tasty little anthem or ballad or folk ditty if it's used judiciously as a change of pace.Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
New Maps of Hell is yet another Bad Religion record, the third since Brett and Brooks (re)joined. The quality has not dipped. There are throwbacks on this album (the artwork, the hell references to the first album, generally less poppy/more fast punk), and less experimentation than particularly the last album (nothing like Beyond Electric Dreams here) - it's with a couple exceptions straight ahead classic fast BR from start to finish.

This record opens with a faux lo-fi hardcore tinged "52 Seconds" and keeps a slightly junky production throughout. Definitely worse production than the last couple - more like Stranger Than Fiction with lots of mid-range tones, but it sounds fairly analog. In some ways it sounds like they are going through the motions on this one - but at the same time, there are no duds like usual (The Quickening, Television)...pretty much every track is strong. I don't care for "Prodigal Son" too much, but whatever.

Faster and less dark than the last album, and angrier than Process of Belief - you can blind buy this one is you are a BR fan, not much has changed. I love it. Brooks still impresses as well.
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