Bad Religion�The Process of Belief
by: Ross Whitsett
Coming at you like a baseball bat to the back of the head, Bad Religion have returned to Epitaph records with Brett Gurewitz back in the band full time in their latest effort The Process of Belief. Here are the survivors of eighties SoCal Punk, showing all the rip-offs�and there have been so many from Green Day to Blink 182 and any other commercial band that have no talent and are clueless to the idea that music could actually mean something�how to do it right. Unlike the pointless drivel that comes out of the latter�s mouths or the wretchedly depressing poetry of say, Aaron Lewis from Stain�so you�re pathetic and want to die, don�t whine about it and act like I should care�Greg Graffin and the boys have put together an adrenaline rush of classic punk�each song is short and to the point. Right away �Supersonic� declares that this will be a fast paced album that has feeling and a point to it, "I just want to live decently, meaningfully.� �Prove It� is a declaration that you are good enough and, �there�s no proof necessary, it�s only in your mind.� By the fourth track the listener will be set and excited by the notion they are listening to something worthwhile. �Broken� could be Bad Religion�s first top single, if people have the courage to air it, because it has everything that every horrible alternative song that was popular wishes it could have, emotion and depth. The song transitions in the verses from a straight rock riff to punk chords in the chorus, over this Graffin tells you while one may be �choking on reality� they are �still not broken� because, �there is no such thing as human debris.� Then they move into a quick shot at anyone that, �consents to ignorance and fear�, in �Destined For Nothing�, when they remind us that, �there ain�t no destiny for you and me.� By the eighth track, you are in shock form listening to such a work of art, and we are given �Sorrow�, Graffin�s own version of Lennon�s �Imagine�, shouting that, �if every living soul could be upright and strong...there will be sorrow, no more.� The album builds up in the second half, speaking of the �fallacy of epiphany�, asking �why do you lie? would you betray your soul?�, and finally ending with �Bored and Extremely Dangerous� where Greg ends by singing something that all could relate to, �If only someone would listen to me.� Much like last fall�s Fugazi effort, The Argument, as empowering as Process is, it resonates with melancholia and hollowness in its message. Its not uplifting to say the least, only, it gives creed to the idea that it is absurd to be self-loathing. Ultimately however, this is the one flaw in the album, it can leave the listener as what is spoken of in the last track, �bored to the extreme with nothing better to do.� The album constantly preaches against desperation and you truly feel the passion these men put into the work, with the dichotomy of soaring harmonies�their unprecedented characteristic that sets them part from most other punk bands where the singers don�t have good voices, however it usually doesn�t matter�with the volatile guitars. Graffin speaks of rejected love not from individuals but from existence altogether and the world we live in today. It is an album on the human condition and the main critique Bad Religion is expressing here is on those that don�t understand what that means. Greg doesn�t plead for change from those that don�t understand, but preaches to the few remaining human beings left.