easy profit by playing to present-day adolescent fears. Backed by the fervent guitar work of Greg Hetson and Brian Baker (who replaced founding member Brett Gurewitz), Graffin instead challenges listeners with grim dissections of mankind as a species, offering dire predictions of a popúlation catastrophe. "Empty Causes" even draws parallels between the unmet promises of '60s utopia and his own mohawked fans' futile shouts of "fuck the government."
"Punk Rock Song" explores horrors far beyond the stilted comforts of suburbia and takes aim at the twisted political values of a disintegrating national culture: "Ten million dollars on a losing campaign/Twenty million starving and writhing in pain." Graffin's indictments are delivered at a quick pace; producer Ric Ocasek allows barely a second to pass between tracks. Sociopolitical manifestoes aside, songs like "A Walk" are as energetic and hook filled as an old Go-Go's tune.
There is a sameness to some songs that keeps the album from matching such milestones as 1988's Suffer or 1993's Recipe for Hate. But even if bands like Green Day and Rancid sell more records by aping the old punk sounds, Bad Religion are working to bring a deeper sense of purpose to a music they can honestly call their own. (RS 729)