Bad Religion – The Age Of Unreason LP (Epitaph Records)

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After such a long wait, brand new Bad Religion album is here and it marks longest time gap between albums in entire career of these LA punkrockers. It’s the first album feauturing guitarist Mike Dimkich and a drummer Jamie Miller who replaced Greg Hetson and Brooks Wackerman. The Age Of Unreason is their seventeenth album in almost fourty years old career and to be honest, it’s delivering same old Bad Religion sound we all get used to, with some minor changes in the production since the band replaced their long time producer Joe Barresi (The Empire Strikes First, New Maps Of Hell, The Dissent Of Man and True North) with Carlos de la Garza who worked with nemes such as Jimmy Eat World, Paramore, Ziggy Marley, Culture Abuse…to name a few. New production delivers more pop punk sound to the Bad Religion catalog and also some arrangements are more than debatable in my book. It seems Bad Relgion tried to get attention of a hipster generation, so there’s a couple of songs which are more pop than punk oriented, which is not bad at all, but it’s not a Bad Religion which we listened twenty years ago. I know, band have to evolve during the years, but not into more mainstream direction. On the other hand they balanced The Age Of Unreason with couple almost hardcore punk songs to keep the same fan base in line, so there’s something for everyone, but this compilation of tracks will definetly keep confusion among the listeners. After all, those recycled riffs they’re using over the years are so repetative on their latest albums, you’ll get the notion you’re listening to the same old album since The Empire Strikes First. Drum production is especially questionable move and those generic triggered drums are so annoying, especially when you hear that plastic sound of a hi hat all the time. At least, genious lyrics are still their key ingredient and intelligence is the main reason why this band is still respectable among the punks, but you’ll not make a mistake if you miss this one. As a long time fan of Bad Religion, I am disappointed with this album, but take a listen and decide for yourself.