Almost every old punk band goes through a back-to-basics phase, and Bad Religion is clearly in the midst of its own. The venerable outfit opens New Maps Of Hell, its 14th full-length, with a 58-second song inexplicably dubbed "52 Seconds"—and it's a ravenous blast of hardcore that swipes a riff from Black Flag's "Rise Above" before leading into tracks that range from anemic (the plodding "Honest Goodbye") to anthemic ("Fields Of Mars," one of the best songs the band has recorded in ages). Bad Religion's ratio of punk bile to harmony-caked hooks has flip-flopped over the years, but the punk wins out on New Maps—even as the title, a reference to the band's epochal 1982 debut, How Could Hell Be Any Worse?, is more proof of Bad Religion's eternal holding pattern.
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