So, while the album kicks off with six-minute prog rock odyssey Forgiveness I + II, which features everything from pulsating Muse-style electroriffs to a supremely mellow sax solo (Canadian Rhapsody anyone?), it’s counter-balanced by the righteous 90-second Dead Kennedys-esque punk fury of Judged ('Goddamned motherfucker with that old-world plan / I swear some day we’ll be rid of your clan,' spits singer Ben Kowalewicz, memorably). And while Reckless Paradise makes some deadly serious points about a world both metaphorically and literally on fire, Hanging Out With All The Wrong People is the sort of goofy pop-skank that you might expect of The Offspring in their lighter moments.
Some of these disguises look better than others – as highly enjoyable as Rivers Cuomo’s breezy cameo on End Of Me is, it does essentially transform Billy Talent into a Weezer tribute act. But as Ben, on impressively screamy form throughout the album, notes on that very song: 'I’m getting so tired of preaching to the choir.'
True, BT’s determination to try new things, combined with the radio-friendly sheen and pop positivity of songs such as I Beg To Differ (This Will Get Better) and For You, could be seen as evidence of yet another once-alternative band drifting further into the mainstream. But there’s more than enough invention, anthemic punch and, crucially, fun here to mean that Billy Talent’s return – like Ghostface’s recent revival – retains its killer edge. And, ultimately, this is one Faith you’ll want to keep.
For fans of: Foo Fighters, Muse, The Smashing Pumpkins
Crisis Of Faith is released on January 21 via Spinefarm Records.