New Maps of Hell is the latest album from veteran punk rockers Bad Religion and marks 25 years since the band’s first album How Could Hell Be Any Worse? The whole look is reminiscent of the band’s earliest work and this extends to the music.
Back is a heavy focus on organised religion, which was the inspiration for the band’s name (hardly surprising given the influence of right-wing Christian fundamentalism in the US). Musically, the album doesn’t live up to the quality of some of the bands previous albums. This not to say it isn’t any good, indeed there are some great songs such as Dearly Beloved, which tells the story of a man losing his religion and Before You Die pleading with people to think about why they hold their beliefs.
Similarly to their previous albums, there is criticism of the devastating policies of US capitalism, which comes through in such songs as Grapes of Wrath with lyrics like “Is profit and greed the only conceit on a scale between mere prosperity and inhumanity?”
Overall, unfortunately parts of the album are a little forgettable. It is an okay album, but I would direct people towards Bad Religions previous two albums, The Empire Strikes First and The Process of Belief.