Artist: "Bad Religion"
Album: "The Process Of Belief"
Genre: Punk Rock
Label: Epitaph Records
Review: After a couple of lackluster albums at the end of the century (which still aren't as bad as people say they are), Bad Religion returned to form with the 2002 release of The Process of Belief. And while Bad Religion has many fantastic albums, I would have to say that this one is most likely my favorite. It has the intensity of No Control with the experimentation of Recipe For Hate, and features some of the sharpest lyrics to be found on any BR album.
The Process of Belief also marks the long-awaited return of Brett Gurewitz on guitar and shared songwriting duties. The album opens with three classic-sounding, superfast songs, and after that punch, jab, and uppercut combo, it changes tempo a bit with the slower song "Broken", the lyrics of which most of us can probably identify with. This song is all about people who just love to be the victim, and I think most of us have known one or two of those in our time. The song scoffs at their would-be martyrdom, but takes a hopeful turn toward the end as Greg Graffin reminds us "there is no such thing as human debris". This is probably my second favorite song on the album.
We then go to another one of my favorites, the fast and catchy "Destined For Nothing", which in typical BR fashion admonishes us not to sit on our asses and let "fate" handle things for us. There's no one responsible for our lives but ourselves. A couple solid tracks later brings us to my favorite song on the album, "Sorrow", which is actually a beautiful song, if you can describe Bad Religion's work that way. It's a depressing song about how a world without sorrow is nothing more than a fantasy or fairy tale (which often comes in the form of religious hope).
The next stand-out song, "Evangeline" has a couple levels of meaning. On one level it's about evangelists and the "conspiracy" they practice peddling their beliefs to others. But I prefer to think of it as a relationship song about an atheist who's either in love with a religious girl or who is losing his girl to religion--in either case the narrator knows that things are clearly doomed to fail.
A few more solid songs after that brings us to the one weak point on the album, the closing song "Bored & Extremely Dangerous", which really suffers for having this awkward, nearly silent section in the middle where a clock can be heard ticking. This drags on for far too long before an alarm sounds and the song picks back up again. I can see the effect they were going for, but it was misguided and really drags down what would otherwise be a perfectly good song.
As far as Bad Religion albums go, this is one of their more solid efforts, and it impresses me to no end that these guys have been around as long as they have and they still put so much energy and intensity into their work. I saw them live with Roger a few years back and they had more energy than a lot of bands half their age. If you've never heard Bad Religion, this would be a good introduction, so have a listen, and if you like this, dive right into one of their old classics like Suffer or No Control next.
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)
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