Review: Bad Religion – New Maps of Hell Deluxe Edition by underground

The cynics among us sees re-releases of albums as little more than poorly disguised attempts to squeeze every last cent from adoring fans. Bad Religion’s deluxe edition of 2007’s New Maps of Hell, is more than just a slipcase, an artwork booklet, a bonus DVD and a couple of “classic” posters.

The original 16-track album was, arguably, the punk album of 2007, despite concerns from some fans they had sold out, after the first single “Honest Goodbye” showed a slower, softer side to the band. Such fears were allayed, however, as the album mixed the passion and pace of their eighties’ releases and the precision and song quality of their later albums. The classic Bad Religion sound rings throughout, from the vocal backing “oozin’ aahs”, the fast power-chords, the melodic leads, to the thunderous trademark drumming.



So is it worth fans buying the deluxe edition if they already own the original album? In a word – yes.


Anyone who enjoyed vocalist Greg Graffin’s two solo albums will appreciate the additional acoustic and piano tracks, performed by Graffin and guitarist/songwriter Brett Gurewitz. The acoustic tracks reflect Graffin’s folk and country roots – reminiscent of his “Cold as clay” album from 2006. Of the additional songs, three are completely new and the remainders are versions of songs from their almost 30 years of recordings. Re-recordings of 2002’s “Sorrow” and 1990’s “God Song” display a raw honesty that prove to be a powerful display of how creative this band is. One of the best tracks from the original album, “Dearly beloved” is equally impressive on acoustic guitars. The last track, “Skyscraper”, one of the band’s finest moments, is the highlight of the album – recorded here in the style of American Lesion’s “Cease”.


The DVD features a mini-documentary into the recording of the acoustic tracks, providing an interesting insight into Greg and Brett’s song writing processes. The live concert footage from a free show in Las Vegas last year captures the energy and atmosphere of the band’s live performance quite well; however falls short of 2006’s Live at the Palladium DVD.


DVD aside, the additional tracks alone ensure buying this album is worthwhile. For a band renowned for hard and fast punk rock, the harmonies and superb song writing of the acoustic tracks successfully capture the listener’s imagination, and will create that rare tingly sensation only the most honest and passionate vocals and thought-provoking lyrics can rouse.


If you don’t own the original, this version is well worth the extra few dollars. If you do, buy it anyway, even as a means of injecting more funds into the band’s retirement savings.


1 Comment so far
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Great review Paul! You almost convinced me to want to buy it!
8.5 out of 10


Comment by Amberleigh

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