It took three years for Bad Religion to craft their follow-up to The Empire Strikes First, and while New Maps Of Hell doesn’t quite reach the heights its predecessor did, there are moments where it almost manages to strike that particular nerve. It’s a little darker, a little angrier, and a little faster, but it’s still Bad Religion, which means it’s still a blast to play.
Songwriting duties are again evenly split between Gurewitz and Graffin, and each have some barn burners to contribute. The opening tracks, aptly titled “52 Seconds” is exactly what you think it is, and leads into some faster aggressive tracks before launching into the stratosphere with “Requiem For Dissent” which gets my plug for MVP. I think from there New Maps Of Hell picks up a lot, leading to a slight imbalance between the first and second half of the album.
But when the whole thing is only 38 minutes there’s not a lot to complain about, especially when it ends on some great latter tracks like “Lost Pilgrim” and the excellent closer “Fields of Mars.” Nothing to see here, folks…just another really good Bad religion album.