Bad Religion - The Process of Belief (Cover Artwork)

Bad Religion

Bad Religion: The Process of BeliefThe Process of Belief (2002)
Bad Religion

Reviewer Rating: 4.5
User Rating:

Contributed by: deepfrybonanzadeepfrybonanza
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Most of the time when bands go to crap, they stay there. The spark that makes a great song is rare enough, but the concentration of those sparks into a period short enough in which to make an album is something that an artist is lucky to have once in a lifetime. If an artist can come up with one gre.
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Most of the time when bands go to crap, they stay there. The spark that makes a great song is rare enough, but the concentration of those sparks into a period short enough in which to make an album is something that an artist is lucky to have once in a lifetime. If an artist can come up with one great album, they're memorable. If they can pull off two, they're legendary, and when you can pull together three or more you're in a league populated only by bands like the Beatles. However, the thing is that once bands start putting out crappy records, they only tend to go further in the crapper. Is there a great (and I mean really great) Clash record after London Calling? Did the Damned do anything noteworthy after Machine Gun Etiquette?

I wouldn't put Bad Religion in a league with the Beatles, but the fact that they cranked out consistently great albums for a solid six-year period from 1988 to 1994 makes them legendary at least in the annals of punk. However, when they began the inevitable downward slide on The Gray Race I didn't have a lot of hope for them. While the albums were still pretty good, each subsequent one features less and less truly great tracks until 2000's The New America pretty much only succeeded in confirming the band had lost the aforementioned spark.

So, as a longtime Bad Religion fan I had high hopes when it was announced that the band would return to Epitaph and Greg Graffin's sorely-missed songwriting partner Mr. Brett would re-join the band. Not long after I'd heard about the reunion, mp3s of the upcoming album were already circulating on the internet, and I was one of the first to download the record. Since that day nearly three months ago, my degree of fascination with this album, The Process of Belief has bordered on near-obsession. I thought that I had outgrown Bad Religion's stuffy vibe and pedantic lyrics, but with this return to form I realized that I hadn't outgrown anything, I'd only lost interest in a band trapped in a stifling rut.

As if to immediately justify all the hub-bub surrounding their rebirth, The Process of Belief kicks off with three of the most hardcore tracks the band has recorded since their salad days in the early LA Punk scene; "Supersonic," "Prove It," and "Can't Stop It" rival the tracks on the classic Suffer in both intensity and simplistic brilliance. "Supersonic" in particular incorporates all of the classic Bad Religion elements (great singing, prominent backing vocals, hardcore-influenced song structure, fast 4/4 beats) into a song that actually expands upon the band's sound with a unique, attention-getting bridge.

After the band gets the four minutes of raging hardcore out of their system they pick right up where they left off with groundbreaking (and slightly more mid-paced) albums like Against the Grain and Stranger Than Fiction. The fourth track, "Broken," may in fact be the best song the band has ever written. The band has experimented with the classic three-minute pop song before, but as they drop their multisyllabic topical onslaught for a more personal, even slightly romantic yarn it really completes the package (though it must be noted that the band still can't resist dropping latinate thesaurus specials like "mercurial" into the song).

"Broken" is the album's high-water mark, but The Process of Belief remains at flood-level for its entire duration. "Kyoto Now" features what is probably my all-time favourite bad religion chorus and will have you screaming along on the second listen, and the potential breakthrough hit "Sorrow" melds typically spot-on BR politics with a much slower, more sombre beat to great affect. "You Don't Belong" is a head-scratcher, though, a look back on the heyday of LA punk and hardcore that seems, to me at least, to be unnecessarily exclusionary. I'm not sure how much sarcasm is present in the lines "Hey you, is there something worth belong to? / And can it be found in a record store? / Well it's not there anymore" rub me the wrong way, especially coming from the head of one of, if not the most successful indie label(s) in the world.

All in all, though, The Process of Belief is a release that is at least on par with anything the band has done before. While odd little Graffinisms such as the awkward chorus to "Materialism" can occasionally induce a chuckle, if you liked the band's older work it isn't anything you can't overlook. Diehard and newbies alike will flip over this release, so stop wasting time and go find this thing, it's definitely worth the trouble.

Please check out this and other reviews at Deep Fry Bonanza! Updated every single day.


People who liked this also liked:
Bad Religion - SufferBad Religion - Against the GrainNOFX - The DeclineBad Religion - No ControlDescendents - Milo Goes To CollegeBad Religion - The Empire Strikes FirstNOFX - Punk In DrublicBad Religion - Stranger Than FictionThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!Bad Religion - Generator

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
future_matt (August 25, 2004)

This album is fantastic!!! It really is one of Bad Religion's greatest albums.

Anonymous (August 24, 2004)

I have not heard the record but I know a good friend who knows them personally but I want to thank the site owner and the guy who mentioned my old band was in his top ten.I was in "House of Commons".Thanks for making me feel a proud ol' punker,Screaming King Neil Embo of "House of Commons"(Our LP. "Patriot 7 song independant) Kudos

zeppelindude (February 14, 2002)

This album is great! Their best since Stranger Than Fiction. Good to see Brett back again, he's the heart and soul of Bad Religion.

I'm reading through everybody's lists here, and you all have some great bands listed. Here is my Top 5 PuNkRaWk list:

5. Social Distortion - Live at the Roxy
4. Any album by the Ramones
3. Bad Religion - Stranger than Fiction
2. NOFX - I Heard They Suck Live
1. Offspring - Ignition

CallingLondon (February 13, 2002)

why wouldn't what you call the greatest rock n' roll band of all time be your favorite band? are you saying that your favorite band is sub-par to this one?

Anonymous (January 29, 2002)

This album rocks. Bad Religion is not my favorite band by a long shot, but I can appreciate greatness. They are quite possiblly the greatest rock'n'roll band of all time.

sXe_nick (January 26, 2002)

great review.... man all the fucking hype made me go out and buy it. I was bombarded with reviews and didnt read one b/c i didnt have to if there were so many. So i bought the cd and it kicks ass. Bad Religion has to many cd's and i own every single one of them. Except back to the unknown.

Anonymous (January 26, 2002)

deepfrybonanza you have good taste in music.

howard (January 26, 2002)

Easily the best Bad Religion album since Generator, maybe since before then. I liked the Grey Race and No Substance, but they do seem to pale in comparison compared to The Process of Belief.

My Top 5 Albums
1. Dead Kennedys - Plastic Surgery Disasters
2. Social Distortion - White Light White Heat White Trash
3. Bad Religion - Against The Grain
4. Descendents - Milo Goes To College
5. NOFX - Punk In Drublic

Anonymous (January 26, 2002)

Yeah, seriously... I believe we can talk about whatever we bloody well please. What's more, my original comment was relevant, as they had a beef with me not giving the album five stars. To me, a five-star album is one that is completely irreplacable and unique in the canon of modern music... seriously, say you have the urge to listen to Bad Religion. If you were thinking about listening to The Process of Belief and No Control was the only CD you had with you, would you really be that worried??? I didn't give it five stars because there are nearly half a dozen albums that sound extremely similar and are of at least as high a quality. On the other hand, there is absolutely no substitute for the records I mentioned... if you want to listen to one of them there is no replacing it.

Some more five-star records:

Minutemen - Double Nickels on the Dime
Black Flag - Nervous Breakdown EP
The Stooges - Fun House
Nirvana - Nevermind

I have to pick up some Raw Power stuff... I have a few things on mix tapes, but people talk about them way too much for me to be as unfamiliar with them as I am.

Anonymous (January 26, 2002)

That was my top nine fuckface. Learn how to count and don't tell me what I can or can't say. It's a free country asshole.
City Kid.

CallingLondon (January 26, 2002)

this isn't a top ten review, it's a bad religion review. therefore, stick to comments on bad religion, not your favorite albums. Anyway...I've waited for this album to come out for months now, wondering if it would live up to the hype. I'm proud to say that this album not only lived up to the hype, but kicked the hype square in the balls. In high school, my teachers always told me the first rule of writing a good paper is to catch the reader's attention. Well, Greg and Brett have clearly been tought the same rule. The first three songs are earth shattering punk masterpieces, but the album lets up a little just so your head doesnt' explode. every song on this album is top notch. if you don't have this album, GO GET IT.

Anonymous (January 25, 2002)

If we're going to get into the best records of all time thing then here's my 2 bits.
D.O.A.-Something better change.
Scream-Still Screaming.
SS Decontrol-Get It Away EP.
B.G.K.-White Male Dumbinence EP.
Motorhead-No Remorse.
U.K.Subs-Brand New Age.
Dead Kennedys-Bed Time For Democracy.
Raw Power-Screams From The Gutter.
House Of Commons-Patriot.
This is the shit that started it all.
City Kid

Anonymous (January 25, 2002)

Great album, great review. Leatherface's Mush is my favorite punk album of the 90's, and easily one of my favorite albums ever.

j. hall

deepfrybonanza (January 25, 2002)

The five stars are reserved for the following records and a select few who I can't think of at the moment:

The Clash - London Calling
All Beatles records from Revolver forward
Buzzcocks - Singles Going Steady
Minor Threat - Complete Discography
Leatherface - Mush

There are also records who may be afforded 5-star status after I listen to them for at least a year straight:

Captain Beefheart - Trout Mask Replica
Bob Dylan - Highway 61 Revisited
Various Artists - Killed By Death Volume 2

Anonymous (January 25, 2002)

wheres the 5??? down with deepfrybonanza!

Anonymous (January 25, 2002)

not 5 stars!...this album deserves 6...the people will cry bloody murder.

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