2008 Deluxe version with DVD includes the original 16 song CD, along with seven new acoustic tracks recorded by principal songwriters Greg Graffin-vocals and Brett Gurewitz -guitars, plus three of the acoustic songs are new, written specifically for this release; the other four tracks are new acoustic versions of BR classics such as 2004's hit song "Sorrow" and the perennial favorite "Skyscraper." New Maps of Hell is Bad Religion's 14 full-length studio album (20th release overall). It celebrates the 25th anniversary of their first album How Could Hell Be Any Worse? The DVD with an hour-long live performance which has never been seen before, with music videos for NMOH's two singles "Honest Goodbye" and "New Dark Ages," behind-the-scenes footage of Brett and Greg the recording of the acoustic EP and more. 23 tracks.
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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