If you bought the import version of "New Maps of Hell" last year, like I did, you heard two extra acoustic tracks, "Sorrow" and "God Song," and they sounded great, but they left you wanting more. This year, we get a whole EP of acoustic tracks, plus a concert DVD, plus some behind the scenes stuff.
"New Maps of Hell," itself, was a little disappointing. See my separate review of it from last year. Basically, it was dragged down by horrible production that drowned out Greg Graffin's voice and over-fuzzed all the guitars. On the behind the scenes footage on the DVD, the reason why this happened is revealed.
18. "Won't Somebody" 8/10: I like this song, and of all the new acoustic tracks, it's probably the one that will grow on me the most.
19. "Adam's Atoms" 7/10: The idea is good, and the chorus is catchy, but it sounds like it just wasn't ready to be a full song yet.
20. "Sorrow" 8/10: Not the same version as the one on the import version of "New Maps of Hell," and it's a little improved over that one. Still, this isn't the best Bad Religion song to make into an acoustic track; the regular version is mellow enough without it.
21. "God Song" 10/10: This is done very well. You have to hear it to get it, but this sounds so much better than "God Song" on "Against the Grain." The slowed-down version gives it the power it always deserved.
22. "Dearly Beloved" 10+/10: Wow. Wow. Wow. The difference between this version and the album version is incredible. In my review last year, I said the album version was killed by the horrible production, and this perfectly clear acoustic version proves that "Dearly Beloved" really is a great song when it's given the right approach.
23. "Chronophobia" 8/10: This sounds a lot like a song off "American Lesion" (a spectacular album, by the way). The verses are great, but the chorus is lacking, and the song is far too short. Like "Adam's Atoms," this one just wasn't ready.
24. "Skyscraper" 10/10: I would say this is about equal in greatness to the original "Skyscraper," but considering that the original was arguably the best song on "Recipe for Hate," that's pretty good. No silence and "Stealth" after this version, and that's a good thing.
Hey, it's a free Bad Religion concert. You can't argue with that, but if this concert is indicative of all their concerts, they're just not a very good live band. If you have "Tested," you would know they're a little hit or miss depending on the concert.
Behind the Scenes Footage 8/10:
The mystery of "New Maps of Hell" is solved, and it's great to see Greg and Brett playing together, but I would've liked to have seen more.
Overall, I recommend this version over the regular version of "New Maps of Hell," and even if you have the regular version, you should buy this Deluxe Edition. You can live without the DVD, but the bonus tracks, especially "Dearly Beloved," make this a worthwhile purchase.