Bad Religion

The most ineluctable vituperative deoxyribonucleic punk band in town.
*special introductory paragraph!
*Bad Religion EP
*How Could Hell Be Any Worse?
*Into The Unknown
*Back To The Known EP
*No Control
*Against The Grain
*Recipe For Hate
*Stranger Than Fiction
*The Gray Race
*No Substance
*The New America
*The Process of Belief
*The Empire Strikes First
*New Maps Of Hell
*30 Years Live
*The Dissent of Man
Although the band has been around since 1981, it was pretty rough going until 1988 or so. Regardless of the catchy raw hardcore fever of their first LP, How Could Hell Be Any Worse?, the Southern Californian combo was troubled by internal demons and musical disagreements, and pretty much fell apart by '85 before popping back up WITH A VENGEANCE in '88, if you know what I mean by "'88" (penis).

Starting with 1988's Suffer, Bad Religion became one of the most dependable purveyors of high-speed double-guitar pogo punk, with great vocals (if you like guys who sing - Graffin don't shout no more; he sings notes!), tons of harmonies, and a truckload of big words (I think two of the members are college professors - I know Graffin is, but I thought one of the others was, too. Maybe not. Mr. Brett owns Epitaph Records, home of Offspring and Rancid, and is probably loaded now). Generally speaking, even though they slowed down a bit while Mr. Brett was away on business, the "Relidge" can still be relied upon to deliver shards of very catchy, very fast cheese-punk. And I have to say "cheese-punk," because music played this hard and fast usually doesn't have nearly this many charming vocal harmonies.

Reader Comments
Cheese Punk? one of the greatest bands of all time you call chesse punk?

Bad Religion EP - Epitaph 1981.
Rating = 5

Not too good. I think they were all in high school at the time, and you know high school kids. The main problem is that Greg couldn't sing worth a shim while he was in high school. The music is rudimentary generic early speed punk - catchy enough, especially in "Bad Religion" and "Slaves" - but the squeaky, gravelly adolescent barks hopping out of young Graffin's facial opening don't exactly impress.
Reader Comments (Elliot Imes)
How in the hell can you give this album a 5??? It deserves at least an 8! Sure, Greg couldn't sing as well then, but what about Ian from Minor Threat? He can't sing worth Lord Crap himself, but he still sounds great. It's the same with Greg in high school. And every song here is great! "Politics" is at least one of the Top 10 best Bad Religion songs. Please reconsider the score you gave. (Antreas Fandrides)
This is where all started.It's a "9".This record is not a super production work but this punk rock.Drastic actions, the best song of the year.Think
Well, yeah, I agree. I mean, Greg's vocals are really cool, but he just doesn't know how the fuck to enunciate. I swear. The lyrics say in the first time when Greg begins, "See my body, it's nothing to get hung about". What the hell? To me, it sounds more like he's singing "I do my own body, my sausage is to hum about".

But I feel it could use a little more credit than just 5 stars. If you can get passed the fact that Greg can't sing worth a fucking Simple Plan CD (which is by the way even worse than a piece of shit), then you've got yourself the formula for 80's garage punk rock. Of course, the instrumental use is nothing special, but that's the whole fucking fun of this album: It's just 4 ragtag high-schoolers getting together and putting together neat shit like this.

So yeah, it may not have been really good, but it wasn't really bad either. I'd recommend maybe giving another dot or two to this, but it's your decision.
Only a close-minded, limited, undiscriminating listener would not recognize the sheer brilliance of BR's first ep. Yes, production is sub-standard, but that is truly part of its charm. You guys must be young and afraid of raw music. I can tell by the way you all seem to gravitate to BR's later, slicker stuff. Quite frankly, BR's first few albums are pure gold, everything after the merely okay "Against the Grain" are pale imitations of such classics as the first EP, "How Could Hell...?", "Suffer" and "No Control". It's been all downhill from there as soon as they started getting played on KROQ and beloved by squeaky clean, waxen faced suburbanites.
Greg could sing, he’d taken technical singing courses for years. This is punk rock, guys. He sings better now because that’s what happens to punk bands. They get cleaner and cleaner. I don’t wanna just sound like a fan boy when I say this but he wasn’t trying to sing, that’s the kind of music they played. Jay sucked at bass (and still kinda does) because he was the only one of them who couldn’t play an instrument when they got started. Greg was already a singer though. He was trying to sound as bad as possible, that’s the style of that album. The guitar and drums weren’t amazing either, they were just basic and they got the point across. This album wasn’t about the music. The music was supposed to sound simply and ugly. It was about the lyrics. If you can’t tell what he’s saying, use your reading skills. It’s a really kick-ass album, not because of the bad singing and simple music (though I do love that too), but the solid lyrics. They were probably one of the best bands at their high school.

Add your thoughts?

How Could Hell Be Any Worse? - Epitaph 1982.
Rating = 8

Like most of you, I was introduced to the big BR through their tight, clean, slick, and speedy later material (Suffer, to be exact), so, in returning to this early work, I was initially disappointed, and decided to react to this unpleasant emotion by pretending that the offending record didn't even exist. "I rebuke you!" thus spake I.

But dude, I was mucked in the nnnn. This is a really good hardcore record, full of hooky catches, speedy drums, raw guitar fuzz, and an honest attempt at decent vocalization on the part of the still youthful Greggy Graffo. He hadn't quite developed that note-happy la-de-da pop voice he has now, but at least he hit some notes every now and again, and his voice didn't crack every other word like on the first record. Seriously, give this one a chance. I finally did, and it pleased the hell out of me. I mean, there's some GREAT stuff on here! "We're Only Gonna Die," "Fuck Armageddon...This Is Hell," "Into The Night," and on and on and on. Mostly fast with some clever slow stuff thrown in here and there for diversity, this is one heck of a fine debut for this band or any other! Phil Collins, for one example! And 1982? Punk was so young! It's not the cornball harmonious punk we now associate with the band, but it's still pretty darned enjoyable (aside from the fact that you can hardly hear the bass at all). Heck, there are those who feel that this is the only good record they ever made! What do you make of that? A barley casserole? Come on, please don't make a barley casserole out of that.

Reader Comments
Biohazard covers "we're only gonna die" on their masterpiece Urban Discipline. (Chris Collins)
I just listened to this last night, cruising the mean streets of LA at 2 AM, and it sounding fucking great. I love the sound.. classic LA hardcore c. 1981 production, grainy guitars, kickin' drums, good amount of reverb... sounds epic! Not as good as the Adolescents first album or China White's Dangerzone EP, but still great stuff.. rough'n'tumble melodic SoCal hardcore. The preaching can get kind of monotonous, but the tunes are consistent, and melodies are strong. And Greg doesn't flaunt his excessive vocabulary like Yngwie Malmstein flaunts his stupid chops... yet.
Bad Religion are very shit.
This album just is one of the best fucking albums ever. Tracks like "into the night" "new leaf" are probably two of the best songs they ever have written. I also have to add that there is one track on this CD that absolutely kicks fat ass, Part III, I just love the tune, it_s fucking great.

The lyrics aren_t as well written as the more resent lyrics, but the sound on this record beats the hell out of the others. THIS IS PUNK, län. (Elliot Imes)
A solid 9. A few of the songs are a little iffy, but songs like "Latch Key Kids" and "Damned To Be Free" make you forget about that. And I absolutely love "Voice Of God Is Government" (mostly for the lyrics, though). A little side note: The intro for "We're Only Gonna Die" is the exact same intro as "The Biggest Killer In American History" on No Substance. I just thought I'd like to point that out. Sorry if I offended anyone. (Paul Stewardson)
How can anyone dislike this album? It kicks ASS! "Fuck Armageddon This Is Hell" remains a brilliant punk/hardcore anthem.

Add your thoughts?

Into The Unknown - Epitaph 1983.
Rating = 7

IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII've Had Enough of bein' nice! I've Had Enough of right and wrong! I've Had Enough of TRYIN' to love my BRU-THA!!!!

I've had enough of feelin' good and doin' all the things like I'm told I'm should - If you get on the wrong side of Me, you'd bettah RUN FAH CU-VAH!!!!!


IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII'VE had enough of this UNIVERSE - not gonna get better, it's gonna get worse and we're all gonna sink from the WEIGHT of the Human Ra-hace!!!!

I've had enough of CARRRRYIN' ON! One of these days I'm gonna be LONG GONE -- if you find a new one, Please just save my PLACE!!!!!

ooooooooooooooweeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaah-aaaaaaaaaaaaa oooooweeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah ooooooooooweeeeeeeeeeeahhhhhhhhhhhh-ahhhhhhhhhhh Here comes the end.


(of the world).

That's the b-side of The Who's "Who Are You" single, a John Entwistle composition full of bouncy synths and hilarious bombast. Yet compared to Bad Religion's Into The Unknown LP, "Had Enough" is an early Napalm Death song lasting 4 seconds.

For you see, this was their attempt to branch out into more progressive and challenging sounds - inspired by that timeless art rock classic Abacab. The same fuzzy sci-fi keyboard that defined such classics as that solo in "Abacab" and probably some Rush or ELP or some crap is spread like a layer of nerd peanut butter all over this otherwise midperiod-Husker Duey collection of catchy dramatic pop rock. It's so BIZARRE to hear this and realize that it's Bad Religion. There's only one song under three minutes long -- and it begins as a ripoff of "Ziggy Played Guitar"! You know that song "Ziggy Played Guitar"? That's a great fuckin song. Definitely one of Tom Wilson's finest moments.

Not only you, but the album as well is mixed like it was recorded in some guy's basement (by a guy wearing a pair of glasses -- for that classic "Dungeons & Dragons nerd" feel that Bad Religion had for so long been trying to capture with their hardcore punk rock). The drums are reverbed and thump-bassy, the instrumentation is generally layered acoustic and electric guitars combined with pianos and that "Warm Fuzzy" keyboard (BIG! FM! ROCK!) and the vocals have a quite miserable echo/delay effect applied to them for what can only be defined as "no clear reason at all."

Bad Religion have disowned this record, refusing to reissue it on CD (making bootleggers happy fellows in the process), but AS MUSIC, it's not bad! It's just as catchy as any other Bad Religion music - just much slower and faggotier. But to be fair, in 1983, ALL the big hardcore bands were influenced by Asia's "Soul Survivor." I guess it was inevitable that the 'Lidge would fall prey as well.

Note to collectors: "The Dichotomy" = The Middle Part Of Pink Floyd's "Pigs (3 Different Ones)." Don't tell Roger Waters! He's a fuckin asshole!

Reader Comments
Well, it may have been making bootleggers happy a few years back but WinMX seems to be a good supplier of this album!

And what an unusual BR effort it is - best way to find out what its all about - download Billy Gnosis, while its transferring listen to Suffer so when it arrives you get the full "whats all this about" feeling and realise - yes - this IS a Pink Floyd outtakes album with Greg Graffin murmuring over the top....

Seven stars/blobs/things...... Ill give it five for ambition but literally ambition....

Add your thoughts?

Back To The Known EP - Epitaph 1984.
Rating = 6

So, anyway, everybody hated Into The Unknown (including bassist Jay Bentley, who quit the band right after the first song was recorded), and the band splintered apart. A year later, Circle Jerks guitarist with the big nose Greg Hetson put forth the idea of reuniting the band, and they sorta did - with Greg replacing Brett on axophone - to create this decent little five-song EP. The title says it all; this is Bad Religion doing what they know best: punk rock. Comprised of three great songs ("Yesterday," "Frogger," and a slow re-recording of "Bad Religion") that display Greg's ever-growing fondness for actual "singing," and a couple of pokier throwaways that just sort of sit on their asses like I do at work most of the time, this record, though enjoyable enough, didn't exactly re-establish the band as a powerful force in the hardcore genre. As such, they basically disappeared for four years before.... well, you know they reunited. I mentioned it earlier.
Reader Comments (Elliot Imes)
Uh, a 7. Not excellent, but it does have "Frogger" and "Yesterday." And how can you not like "Along the Way?" It's so gosh darned catchy! By the way, have you actually heard Into the Unknown? I heard a couple of songs, and it isn't as bad as it's made out to be. Even though I was laughing the whole time, it was still catchy in a broad REM kind of way. And those silly keyboard solos really made my day. Listen to "Billy Gnosis", and you will die laughing because of the crazy and extremely silly keyboard solos! They're so wacky! Join me in my adjective game! Pardon me. (Matt Davies)

I went to one of those godawful Warped Tours a couple years back (99 I believe). Me and my buddy Jay were sitting in a tent bored outta our skulls when Bad Religion walks in and starts schmoozing with everyone. Well, me and Jay started to notice all these dumbass kids asking for autographs. After we made fun of them, we turned to each other and said, "Hey, let's ask them to autograph something" - not just anything, the most inane, dumbshit thing we could find - A DEODORANT STICK! They all smiled and wrote witty comments like; "You need it!" and "Punks are supposeed to stink" (real spelling mistake). When Greg was signing it I asked him if they were going to be playing any titles from Into The Unknown tonight. He rolled his eyes and said "probally not". It was beautiful. When I move I plan on auctioning off the Speed Stick, how much do you think a crazy BrazilIian fan would pay for something like that?
Into the Unknown is a great album. Screw you all.
Matt Davies, you are sooo hardcore!

Add your thoughts?

80-85 - Epitaph 1991.
Rating = 7

This CD consists of three of those four records I just mentioned (not Into The Unknown, which will probably never be re-released. A few years ago, a reporter asked Gurewitz why they had recorded that silly record in the first place, and he replied, "Well, I was doing a lot of acid at the time. But Greg was totally straight. I don't know what he was thinking!!!"), as well as alternate recordings of three early numbers. How Could Hell? still rules, and the EPs still just kinda sit there; put 'em together and you got yourself a darn fine 7.

Reader Comments (David Straub)
I probably prefer the Back to the Known stuff on this, but I have to agree with you about having it grow on me. I remember being in your court about this when you had the old version of the BR reviews up, and being in the minority.... Still nowhere close to ATG, but taken with a "these guys are still in high school" grian of salt, this is pretty cool stuff.

"Yesterday" and "Frogger" would not have been out of place on Suffer. (James T. Edmunds)
It's sorta like listening to an entirely different band, but in a way not really. It's underproduced compared to thier other albums, but it's still a damn good listen. To me "Drastic Actions" really sticks out. I've always liked their handful of slower songs like "Sanity" and "Faith Alone." (Elliot Imes)
I'm torn between 8 and 9. They do have a tendency to do really good slow songs, that's true. (Paul Stewardson)
Buy this record. You get a shitload of songs (including "Bad Religion", "We're Only Gonna Die", "How Could Hell Be Any Worse", and "Along The Way") for your money. And cool Hetson-penned liner note and photo's. Just buy it. Now! (Brion Briggsh)
I would have to say this is one of the best BR albums ever. Most of the songs are classic hardcore punk with lost of catchy songs(pity is awsome song!). It's interesting to see that even when they first started as teenagers they could still write thoughtful political songs really well. If you're interested in hardcore punk at all, you can't go wrong with this album. (Michiel Heinicke)
They just released a superiour collection of these songs simply named "How could hell be any worse". With WAY better artwork. (the same slick red/black of the original vinyl release of the same titled first album)The sound has improved MUCH. Its thicker and boosted up a little. This is really an improvement especially for the Back to Known EP. They also rereleased Suffer, No Control, Against the Grain and Generator, but i was already happy with the sound of those albums so im not rebuying those. This is the only rerelease thats worth your $$$.
Has anybody else noticed that every one who likes bad religion can put at least one of the songs on there first EP Back to the known or How could Hell, in there BR top ten? That is exactly why this is one of there best recordings/collectionsit appeals to everybody, except people who liked The New America

Add your thoughts?

Suffer - Epitaph 1988.
Rating = 9

Speedy speedy speedy! This was the introduction to the NEW Bad Religion - the one with TWO guitarists! I can't really say much more about this record than I've already said in my short introductory paragraph. Speed was the name of the game, and all the songs are similar, but what swell melodies! Like triple-speed Ramones! And where could be whoer than hey?

I agree that there's only so many things you can do with bar chords, but Bad Religion in the late-80s/early-90s were one of the best in the world at exploiting them for all they're worth. It helps that their singer has common sense; even if the band is playing the same chord sequence that they just played two minutes ago, Greg knows he can change the entire mood of the song just by singing different notes! It's not a difficult concept to grasp, but many punk singers just don't get it. Greg does. And good thing, too, 'cuz Rad Beligeriger have been known to work a melody into the ground a little bit. Yes, it's a little samey, but it's a lot entertaining, well-written, well-performed, well, buy it! I could listen to it for days, and I suggest that you do the same.

Reader Comments (Marc Kovac)
Although they were the first to create their own unique noise, that "Epitaph sound" has just been PLAYED in the last few years, making it impossible to become a new listener, having been already overwhelmed and annoyed by Pennywise and Offspring as well as others. Oh lordy, I tried to enjoy them, going as far as purchasing Suffer, but I, not being an OG, directed it into the pawn shop swiftly. (Elliot Imes)
This gets a 9 as well. It does get repetitive at the end, but then "Do What You Want" comes in and blasts the shit out of everything on the record. And there's actually a slight sense of humor in that weird voice thing at the beginning of "Delirium of Disorder." And honestly, how many BR songs have any types of jokes in them? Maybe two? (Paul Stewardson)
Cool album. "Do What You Want" rules. Amazing cover (the kid in BR t-shirt standing in the street on fire) which said a lot to me when I first saw it. (Michiel Heinicke)
The most innovative punk album of the second half of the 80s. They set a new standard in punk music. Fast punk without the agression. (well musically, lyrically theyve got quite a few aggresive songs) this album kicks motherfuckin ass. Id say fuck your "only one ten per band" rule and give suffer, no control and against the grain tens... (Cere Bellum)
I always heard how this is such a great album and I think it's because I was expecting it to be so great is the reason why it was a bit of a disappointment. I do think this is a good album. Every song is good, but Bad Religion never were that exciting to me. They sound dull to me for some reason. But I did see them a couple years ago and they were supposed to have Gurewitz with them but he wasn't. He was probably back stage smoking crack or scoring junk from Sum-41. Nevertheless, they were really rockin' as feeble as they are. They rocked so hard. It was great. I like the song on "Suffer" were Greg goes "1 2" at the end of every chorus, I think. I also think it's funny how that kid is on fire.

(* a couple years later *)

I was listening to this album and was looking at your BR page and I saw my old comment from a couple years ago.

I want to say that I was totally wrong about this album. I hadn't listened to it, but maybe four times when I made the comment. Just a little afterwards, I got really into it. This is one of the best punk albums, in my opinion. Every song is the right speed, and every song is catchy as hell. Great lyrics to boot! The only songs I don't like too much are "Give You Nothing," and "What Can You Do." They're both just "ok" to me.

So everyone just disregard my original comment. Me a couple of years ago=idiot, me now=genius. I think I was listening to a lot of new wave music or something shitty at that time.

Add your thoughts?

No Control - Epitaph 1989.
Rating = 9

Suffer again. Same speed. Same production. New songs. Gets a little weak near the end, but nine of the first ten songs are unbelievably powerful and infectious. And the slow "Sanity" shows that even without the speed, this band is talented enough to arrange three or four basic chords in a unique and moving manner - one as beautiful and pretty as a flower in May. I know a sugarload of people who consider this to be their classic, and will obstinately listen no further. I understand how hardcore songs as perfect as "Big Bang," "I Want To Conquer The World," and "You" would be enough to drive anybody away from the slower and/or less distinctive numbers on the recent records, but it's still an unfortunate decision that these stubborn folks have made, especially considering the fact that Against The Grain is, all-told, a better record.

"All-told?" The hell does "all-told" mean?

Reader Comments (David Straub)
For the most part, I think Suffer is better-produced than No Control. No Control has "I Want to Conquer the World", though, so you can't really say anything against it...
This album should have 10/10 not 9/10. It is the best Bad Religion album. It's true that later albums may have more complex song structures, better production, or more variety, but No Control is the album that reaches your heart. I think it is the best album ever. The lyrics are so incredibly perfect and the general sound of the album fantastically fast and furious though still melodic and loaded with emotion. Every single song is awesome in its own right except "The World Won't Stop" which is not so bad itself. (Jeff Mason)
I would have to disagree with you about No Control getting weak near the end. "Billy" (Track 14) is an incredibly powerful song with a very straight theme. It changed my life. I went straight after the second time I heard it.
bad religion can sound like an emotional, speedy intelligent band at times and at others seem like the most godawfully unoriginal, boring, generic punk rock band ever. no control has boring cover art, a "singer" who in actuality doesn't really sing at all, and fifteen songs that sound unbelievably similar to one another. but the lyrics are very intelligent and the band is pretty tight. however, this band just doesn't stick in your mind like a more original band would. i mean let's face it, when talking about your top punk bands, does anyone ever say that bad religion is in the top five, ever? there is no way greg graffin can match the intensity of someone like Ian Mackaye or Henry Rollins or Darby Crash. Plus the production is glossy and they are on Atlantic records now, two more reasons to hold disdain for them. (Elliot Imes)
9. I used to think it was the best, but then Against the Grain came in and changed that. Still, "I Want to Conquer the World" ranks way up there in Best Bad Religion Song Land, and the title track is quite good, too.

Another thing. I'M GETTING FUCKING PISSED AT ALL THE FUCKING BAD RELIGION NAYSAYERES!!!!! So what if they're on Atlantic? They don't care if the teenyboppers like them. Hetson himself said that if they ever started selling millions of records, they would immediately break up. Does that sound like something that would come from old men who want the alties to like them? They're lyrics haven't changed yet. And they never will. They're still capable of making a great punk rock album.

And another thing. Maybe you don't think Bad Religion is one of the top five of whatever punk bands, but listen to punk critics. The real ones. They'll tell you that Bad Religion has created some of the most entertaining, creative, energetic, and melodic punk that hath ever graced the earth. And what's this shit about Greg not really singing? What the hell? He sings NOTES! MELODIES! And he does a good job, too. So anyone who really thinks that Bad Religion has completely sold out or doesn't rank up there as one of the best punk bands ever, than you're a thoughtless idiot. Plain and simple. (Michiel Heinicke)
I like to call this one Suffer II. Has the exact same production, the same speed, and it kicks the same motherfuckin ass. And both albums have one mid-tempo song. (Robbie K)
Suffer and No Control are the defining LP's of their career. Nothing since compares. These two albums were an act of divine intervention. No other BR album has had a consistency and lyrical and musical cleverness then those two. Maybe if BR did try to put out an album year after year they would of had the time to think about what made BR work. They didn't try to kick ass they just naturally did. Now they are just trying. For those who disagree just wait like twenty years and things will be much clearer to see. When is comes to creativity there really is no control and little did they know that the lyrics to that song was actually prophesizing their own fate.

Add your thoughts?

* Against The Grain - Epitaph 1990. *
Rating = 10

No Control freaks have apparently been known to complain that this is where Bad Religion started to "change." Well they ain't changed much! The speed is the same. The production is the same. The only new wrinkle on this one is the concept of "guitar interplay," displayed proudly in the beautiful title track, the gorgeous "Anesthesia," and ... oh, that might be all. But the others are still top-of-the-line hardcore speedpunk all the way through; it doesn't get weak near the end, or at any other point. And how about those lyrics? "Let's gather 'round the carcass of the old deflated beast / We have seen it through the accolades and rested in its lea / Syntactic is our elegance, incisive our disease / The swath endogenous of ourselves will be our quandary." .....You don't say! (Most are better.) There's a brilliant realist response to Save The Earth fanatics called "Entropy," as well as intelligent attacks on anti-abortion groups and the Flat Earth Society. And probably others too!

All good. All the time. If you get bored, just wait about thirty seconds and a better melody will come along. And it's all... very, very fast.

Reader Comments (David Straub)
The best one. "I'll construct a rack of tempered beams and trusses/ and equip with just a million tiny suns/ I'll install upon the roof of my compartment/ and place tinfoil on my floor and on my walls." Where did Gurewitz come up with this shit? :)

Didn't BENTLEY write those words to "Positive Aspect"?
This album is a fucking masterpiece! The majority of the songs are classics and the rest are just as excellent, except one song - "21st Century Digital Boy". The radio-friendly, poppy, perhaps even commercial sound of this song is a great disappointment as well as its "easy to understand" lyrics. "Digital Boy" isn't punk rock. Its fucking pop! Anyway, apart from that song, unbelievable album. I know all the lyrics by heart.
Some of Greg's shit is just plain weird, but i thought that this record had some of the best lyrics of his career. We're labled as the lunatics/sequestered and content/we're ignored and defeated by the government/there's an oriented public who's magnetic force does pull/but away from the potential of the individual/ against the grain/ that's where i'll stay/ swimming upstream/ i maintain agaist the grain How can you not like that? (Elliot Imes)
Shit, what an amazing album. The harmonies, the guitar parts, everything is just so well-done that everything else is dwarfed in comparison. Bad Religion will always reign supreme as one of the best bands to ever be created.

The title track is one of the most beautifully done punk songs ever. (Michiel Heinicke)
Well this one's a little diffrent than the previous albums, but thats cool cuz if they put out ANOTHER suffer, they would have got a little boring i think. This one's more melodic but the speed's still there. Yeah you are right prindle about the guitar interplay. They don't play EXACTLY the same chords anymore. And "Positive aspect of negative thinking" is their fastest song ever!!!! (Anthony Negron)
I thought this was an OK album…not as good as Suffer, No Control or How Can Hell..? This album is quite mundane at some parts and, IMO, they started to lose some of that razor-edge found on their previous albums. Sure, that’s not a terrible thing, but at this point they are sounding more like X did ten years before: a smooth punk-influenced pop band. I still think 20th Century Digital Boy and Turn On the Light are some of the best pop songs masquerading as punk.

Oh, and try to find Into the Unknown. It’s the most hilarious piece of Prog-Rock shit I’ve ever heard in my life. It sounds like a shitty Styx, with big, overpowering, and pompous keyboards.
I'm certainly not a longtime diehard BR-fan, but if there is a sort of "Pro-No Control"-group that thinks this is where things started going downhill, I might agree with them. The strength of ATG is the work on the vocal arrangements, but in between them, the rocking rarely is as good as it was on No Control. It's mostly a matter of production. It lacks that bouncy, bassy feel of NC (think Change of Ideas, Big Bang, Henchman etc.). Sort of like DK's excellent Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables. ATG is more thick and claustrophobic in comparison to NC, and all in all, I think that's what makes it the lesser record from the rock music perspective at least. That said, I wouldn't call it a disappointment. It might even be better than Suffer.

Add your thoughts?

Generator - Epitaph 1992.
Rating = 8

This is where they really started to change. But, like I said, to this day, they still haven't changed a whole heck of a lot. There are just more slow and midtempo songs than there were before. And, on occasion, more interesting guitar interplay, as you'll hear here on "Only Entertainment," "No Direction," and the spectacular title track. The only problem with playing slower songs is that, where speed can ensure that a bland melody still kicks ass, a non-punk standard bar chord melody just drags like an ass pony. See "Babies In The Dark" and "The Answer" for a proper demonstration. Played fast, they'd probably be fine (or at least short!), but played at Peter Gabriel pace as presented here, they completely bog down an otherwise fast and fun record. Still, a real good LP.

Reader Comments

mabsher@InfoAve.Net (M. Absher)
I take great objection to your slight of "The Answer." It does have a somewhat different sound to other BR classics, but that is part of what makes them the best punk band in the world. (Gerwyn Evans)
Generator is my favourite BR album of all time with Suffer-like songs and some new wave BR songs. They are a great band, but this was probably their last great album. (David Straub)
This one took a while to grow on me... I still think there are duds such as "The Answer" and especially "Two Babies in the Dark", but the quick ones like the title track, "Tomorrow", and "Heaven Is falling", well, i just have to sit there and go "wow". It's too bad this album is so uneven, it's obvious they're at some sort of pinnacle as far as their performance goes.

I miss Brett. Greg, as great as he is, will never write a song as unusual and complex as "Generator". (Andrew J. Bushard)
A very poetic album, the lyrics are phenomenal. The title track is awesome, and the entire album is very moving.
I think that "Two babies in the dark" is the best Bad Religion song ever written even if I can agree that most of the time the faster BR songs are better. Just listen to the intro. It's so fucking great I don't have any words to describe it with. I love both "two babies in the dark" and "the answer" and i don't think they are dragging down the standard of generator.
What the fuck do you mean by giving this album 8/10?! It is a completely perfect album! I love it! It is every bit as good as Against the Grain! It is a little bit slower than earlier albums but that is not necessarily a negative thing. "Two Babies In The Dark" and "The Answer" are masterpieces. So are all the others. This is the only Bad Religion album in which none of the songs were disappointments. They are all excellent. The reason why it is not my favorite BR album is that it doesn't contain the emotion of No Control and Grain.
brilliant album, "no direction" is -according to me- their best song ever. and "atomic garden" rules. (Elliot Imes)
This one's been regarded as the best BR album ever, and I don't think that's true. It did take a little while to grow on me, and it only has 11 songs, which is kind of a let-down. And how can you dis "The Answer" and "Two Babies In the Dark?" Sure, they're mid-tempo, but still catchy as hell. And what else can you say about "No Direction?" The melodies are so dense and fantastic. Get this one, but it's not the best. Probably 8 or 9. (Paul Stewardson)
Their best album since Suffer. "Atomic Garden" is probably the finest BR song I have heard. Stonking. (Michiel Heinicke)
An attempt to recreate Against the grain. Not a bad album but it doesn't have that "motherfucking ass kicking" thing. I dunno what it is. Can anyone help me? (Stonebone)
I almost agree with your grade, but "Atomic Garden" KICKS motherfucking ass...

I think it s the best BR Song ever recorded.

It s funny to read the comments cos almost erveryone tells exactly the opposite than the otherones do
It saddens me how no one ever talks about 'Too Much To Ask', why must it be so underrated? It's such a great tune. The Answer and No Direction are the most thought-provoking songs on this album I believe and Chimaera is extremely interesting with lyrics that beg to be heavily analyzed. I can't pick a favorite Bad Religion album they each have their own beauty to me.
I think your ratings are pretty spot-on, Against the Grain is the pinnacle with Generator and Suffer close behind. I agree with the punters who see distinction between No Control and Suffer - with the former being far more simpler, more raw.

With regards to Generator - I think this is where BR truly made it - shown by self-referring in No Direction. Not many bands ever, ever have the pedigree for this - you must own your genre. And BR own punk.

Add your thoughts?

Recipe For Hate - Epitaph/Atlantic 1993.
Rating = 8

Even more strides towards maturity, including a song with steel guitar (!), back-up vocals by members of Concrete Blonde and Pearl Jam, and two positively grandiose (and depressing!) slow songs called "Watch It Die" and "Struck A Nerve." Some strange songwriting in display too -- two years earlier, there's no way they would have written something as strangulated and dissonant as "All Good Soldiers," for example. I think this is a terrific, incorrectly maligned record, with big-league fuzzy production and songs to sing aplenty. "Man With A Mission" is like C/W balladry in hardcore punk form, for Pete's sake! SMART, I'm saying!

Reader Comments (David Straub)
Have we yet noticed how just about every BR album ends with a superior song? "Skyscraper", I think might be the single best tune they've done, save maybe "Anesthesia". This record suffers (heh) from a kind of tinny, hollow sound, though, even compared to their lower budget Epistuff. (Arthur Albracht)
This is the only album I have by bad religion and when I compare it to the later two, Recipe For Hate is better, because the songs differ more form each other in tempo and melody, and that's what I like in albums. "Portrait Of Authority", "All Good Soldiers" and "Struck A Nerve" are definitely the best, while "Don't pray on me" and "Lookin' In" are too standard and when not listening too the songtexts not very well. (James T. Edmunds)
"American Jesus" alone makes this a great album. I have to disagree with you on "All Good Soldiers" and "Don't Prey On Me." All along it seems like you like Bad Religion for all the wrong songs. Oh well.
"All Good Soldiers" is my favorite song on this cd, because I like neat songs like that. (Elliot Imes)
"American Jesus", the title track, "Struck A Nerve", "Skyscraper", "Lookin' In", "Watch It Die", and "My Poor Friend Me" all kick ass, and the rest is great, but just not as good as the previously mentioned songs. I also nominate this one as best Bad Religion album cover. An 8. (Paul Rapagna)
In my opinion,i would give this album a 6 or a 7.But you have to admit it that some of the best stuff they ever recorded is on here,like "American Jesus",Portrait Of Authority","Watch it Die" and "Skyscraper".Sure most of the songs are fast but they could of put a little more effort into it.

Recipe for hate is the most incredibly terrible album of Bad Religion's, and was only saved from being sold by "American Jesus" and the fact that I had recently sold my copy of NOFX: Animal Liberation and regretted it the next day. Most of the songs sound to me like Greg and the gang (I enjoy saying that quite a lot) were TRYING to make something slow, but just wrote some of their usual fast punk and slowed it down to half speed. Vomit vomit. A few songs are bearable (despite the fact that they didn't get slow right until Stranger Than Fiction), but I skip "Recipe for Hate," "Portrait of Authority," "All Good Soldiers," "Watch it Die," "Struck a Nerve," "My Poor Friend Me," "Don't Pray on Me," "Modern Day Catastrophists," a good part of "Skyscraper," and "Stealth." Oh wait, that's just about all of them isn't it? Well how about that? (Michiel Heinicke)
Definitely their worst album ever. Eddie Vedder???????? goddamit this album sucks more than the average pearl jam album
Well,my first BR album was TESTED then all ages,then stranger than fiction and then suffer and then i bought at once against the grain and recipe for hate. Well, Recipe For Hate's lyrics in some songs are really bad. It has some good songs (which you can find in other albums too) but generally its too bad.
This is a rock album (excluding American Jesus and skyscraper)

Add your thoughts?

Stranger Than Fiction - Atlantic 1994.
Rating = 8

The major-label debut! Finally, they get their long-overdue radio play with the midtempo semi-hits "Infected" (which I LOVE!) and "21st Century Digital Boy" (actually one of the weaker Against The Grain tracks that they re-recorded for no clear reason). Same sorta stuff as the last record, but maybe a bit less experimental. Some are generic but fast (and, thus, enjoyable); others are slower and a bit more questionable ("Slumber," for example, is a folk rock song, and not a terribly good one). It's still Bad Religion, though. They're still singing lines like "Automatons with business suits clinging black boxes sequestering the blueprints of daily life," and they're not turning to prog rock as a younger band might have done. Still holdin' strong to the tradition. Or whatever.

Reader Comments (Adrienne Humel)
I think "Slumber" is the best song on the album. I see how it could sound a little "folky" but who says that's a bad thing? I wrote down the lyrics and gave them to one of my whiny friends and told her to read them and think about them. Bad Religion is a highly underrated band. I think their music is a symbol of how more people should be; straight-forward, honest and not exactly like anyone else. (Mike Dojc)
I'm surprised you forgot to mention the catchiest song on the album - the title track, "Stranger Than Fiction." I'm not by any means a BR fan; I'm more into Brit Pop bands like Radiohead, Pulp & Blur but I picked up this album for "21st Century Digital Boy" and have loved it ever since. (David Straub)
Awesome awesome album! I think the harrowing dark nasty guitar sound is such a huge improvement over the last disc. Side one (I'd assume all through "Infected") makes my hair stand on end. Don't know if I need to see a gooey drippy human brain, though. At least the grey matter is really grey in this photo. (Dan Gold)
This album is terrible. "21st Century Digital Boy" is the only thing that would prevent me from using this CD as a frisbee. It's not even punk. (Not Peter Nicholson)
Dan Gold- you are a fuckwit! The songs aren't fast - mustn't be punk, right? Wrong, boyo! Punk goes beyond the music, the day it is simply about the music is that day Punk dies. It is small minded people like you who create a fucked up portrayal of punk and the lifestyle. Stranger Than Fiction not punk? Fuck, what is punk, boyo? You are a knob! Plain and simple.

The first album of BR's that I came across. What a day that was - I was astounded at the lyrical content- a punk band using words apart from anarchy and fuck the government? What? I suppose that is a bit of a generalization, but I love this band. I got to see them in February '97, and they rock live! It was their first Australian tour. Rad. (Nathan Rice)
Boy, you must have been strapped for time, not mentioning "Stranger Than Fiction" like that. That's the best Bad Religion song I've ever heard. (Although I haven't heard EVERYthing.) BR has such a good message in their songs which is what truly makes them "Punk", no matter what label they're on. About half the songs on this album are written by Mr. Brett and the other half by Greg Graffin. I tend to like the Brett ones better, it's like a rule or something.
what makes STF such a good album (the best BR, really) is songs like "individual," "leave mine to me," "inner logic" and "what it is." Greg is peaking here, and while brett likes to write shit like "infected" (used to like it, bores me now), he also wrote "better off dead" and "stranger than fiction" which are nice little songs. and of course "incomplete" is as good a song as he can write. this sounds more like against the grain to me than anything else, which is GOOD. (The Chameleon)
I thought this album was punk rock shit when I got a second rate copy of it from one of my friends a year and a half ago. But now that I listen to it's really good. These songs are very, very catchy. I just can't get enough of listening to "infected" or "what it is". I just wish I wouldn't have taped over half of the copy I have. Damn, I'm so stupid sometimes.
This is an album, but all the earlier ones were even better. "21st Century Digital Boy" and "Infected" are bullshit though. I don't know why Bad Religion always seem to release their worst songs as singles. Anyway, at this time Bad Religion were still an awesome band.
I can't really explain why, but this is my favorite Bad Religion album, (that I've heard), I love the lyrics, expecially the title track, "I wanna know, why Hemingway cracked," gives me a massive erection everytime I hear it, kinda like Screeching Weasel's "Holy Hardcore" but that song is only because of the name. I give this album a ten. I like this "21st Century Digital Boy" better than Against the Grains's version. (Nick Leu)
To Mista DTgringo: The only way the title track to this album could enlarge ANYONE's phallus is by sucking on it!!! This is my least favorite BR album. Most of the songs are pretty good, but the overall sound is goofy in a way I can't really explain. As for the totally unrelated topic of Screeching Weasel's "Holy Hardcore", it contains the line "The Bible preaches anarchy". Therefore, it's pointless and dumb (and I LIKE Screeching Weasel). Consider yourself corrected.
great. "Tiny voices" for instance, or "markovian process" or even better: marked. how on earth can you call "slumber" a folk song. Ever listened to the pogues? and Britpop dudes should stay away from great music (Elliot Imes)
This was the second one that I got, and it didn't leave my head for one second over the course of about a month. Everything here is just so damn catchy! And people thought that since this was their first official Atlantic release, that it would be a pussy album. They were highly mistaken. Most of the drum beats are furious, the guitar production is very raw and chopping, and Greg seems to be even more smarter. I'd say it gets a 9. (Sandra York)
Bad Religion put more good songs on this album than they did on any other. So that makes it their best. Infected, Slumber, title track, and especially 21st Century Digital boy are the best here. (Matt Davies)
Is it just me or is 'Television' one of the worst songs ever recorded? Anytime that song comes on I feel like dancing around in a tutu. Makes me feel like a damned Sally is what it does. Bask in golden light? Submerge in electric waves? Blacchh! I happen to like television, Mr. Greg.

Add your thoughts?

The Gray Race - Atlantic 1996.
Rating = 7

This is where Mr. Brett quit to run Epitaph full-time, so Greg Graffin had to handle pretty much all the songwriting by himself for the next three records, with a tad of input from new guitarist Brian Baker (formerly of Minor Threat, Dag Nasty, and The Meatmen). This is no problem in regard to lyrics; Greg's brighter than a thousand suns in that department. The problem is that most of the melodies simply aren't up to par. If you insist on making your music this simple, you gotta remember to make it catchy, too. Otherwise, why should people waste valuable time and money on it, hey? I mean, you got a few total kickassers like the title track, "Nobody Listens," and "Come Join Us," sure, but you also got slow yawners like "Pity The Dead" and "Punk Rock Song" (which isn't), recycled melodies from yesteryear like "Parallel" and "Cease," and total crap like "Ten In 2010" and "Empty Causes." And who needs that, hah? Me???? No! Not me! Some other guy, maybe!!!

Sigh. Yeah, it sounds like Bad Religion, and yeah, it's pretty much a rip-off of the last album, but a man like Graffin simply should not be called upon to write 40 full minutes of music. He's been at it for a long time; how many more decent three-chord melodies can he be expected to write? I forgive him. But I doubt I'll ever listen to this record again. Why waste the time when I could be listening to Against The Grain over and over again?

Reader Comments (Derek Cyr)
While a few of your comments about the absence of Brett making a difference are correct, I think Greg Graffin deserves a lot of credit for the varied songwriting he does on this album. Every song kicks ass, with the possible exception of "Ten In 2010", and I think this album sounds so much like Against The Grain that it might as well have been a sequel. "God Song" could've been on The Gray Race, while "Cease", an amazingly fitting finale, by the way, could've been played right after "Quality Or Quantity" on ATG. Also, I think that Greg has adopted a lot of Brett's songwriting style to vary the band a bit; "Drunk Sincerity" has lyrics and musical hooks that are comparable to "Hooray For Me", and the title track is very heavily soaked in those dual guitars you rave about on "Anesthesia". If it's possible to look beyond the Greg/Brett war and the whole indie credibility thing, then I think one would have to admit how great an album The Gray Race is. They've succeeded in maintaining the band through a lot of resistance, and for that, they've gained a lot of my respect. (J. Scott Mitcheltree)
Name ONE other band who can crank out nine albums and still kick so much motherfucking ass? Betcha can't. (Julian Strahan)
i just thought i would share my feelings...BR is my alltime favorite band, and even though i like a lot of their more recent stuff..the old stuff still kicks ass..No Control and Recipe For Hate are my 2 favorite albums..and i also like The Gray Race, i think Against The Grain is my least favorite except for a few songs...but 80-85 and All Ages captures most of their "greatest hits"..i just thought i would share..... (David Straub)
I dunno, I think they play this album really well, especially with the Baker addition, but I really miss Mr. Brett's incisive thoughtful often-non-political lyrics. Still, the first four tracks here shred car stereo speakers. But don't the main riffs of "The Grey Race" and "Them and Us" (Floyd Pink?) sound pretty samey? Graffin is simply overworked here. They say he wrote almost twice as many tunes for this as we actually got to hear, too. hmm. (Bob Blair)
All Ages rocks. Bad Religion is the only punk I like; I absolutely loath green day and rancid and NOFX. All most punk is, is a bunch of drugged fuelled hobos who try to show each other who can play the same three power chords faster than the other while the singer fakes a brit accent and sees how many times he can say fuck in a three word sentence. (Alexandre Linhares Matias)
Bad Religion (all career, any album you want) is as relevant as Men At Work - just change from pop music to hardcore. It's incredibly tedious and they just don't improve - on the contrary. Besides, they had a really good album - All Ages, the good and ol' hits compilation. Buy it and stop giving your money to Epitaph - a label made to release Bad Religion clones (with the honorable exception of Offspring - a Sham 69 clone - that copy "Smells Like Teen Spirit" structure, changing the song from a smash hit to a silly hardpop song). (Dan Gold)
I think you came to the dock as the ship was already half-way around the world with respect to Gray Race. It was BR's best album since Generator. They actually decided to become a punk band again! (Nathan Rice)
GRRRRRR Now you've pissed me off. "10 In 2010" is so awesome!!! Its just him yelling: "10 IN 2010 10 IN 2010" over and over! How can you not like that!!!!???? And how can you ignore "Punk Rock Song"! The lyrics are indispensible (this is just a punk rock song/ written for the people who can see something's wrong) and the tunes are great! It's so darn catchy! This is real punk baby!

BAD RELIGION REALLY KICKS ASS. I Mean even here in Holland (You know where the pot-smokers come from) is Bad Religion the best punk-rock band there is. Well o.k. I admit Lagwagon also kicks ass but the lyrics of Bad Religion are much better.
"Empty Causes" is the most fantastic and relevant song Greg G could've written. DO YOU FUCKING GET IT??? It's straight to the core of "punk" and what it's about. Graffin knows what's up :-)
You guys want real punk that is relevent, try Dead Kennedys. (Peter Nicholson) Poseur. dead kennedys rock, they are relevant, so are BR. Does GG use some words to long for your small mind to comprehend? Listen to the words, don't just hear them. (David Straub)
Has anyone heard the new BR import live record Tested yet? It's not bad! The Gray Race lineup runs thru 23 live tracks and 3 new tunes recorded at Greg's pad in Ithaca. All songs were taken from the '96 tour which I shamefully missed as I moved to Pennsylvania a couple of days before they came to Syracuse. Several are recorded in Europe (where BR are quite popular) and this provides the record with one of its high points, a German crowd singing the first few lines of "Generator" and sounding like a whole bunch of punkass Schwarzeneggers. Every song is rendered awesomely, although I'm not entirely thrilled with some of the selections, but who am I to dictate? Highlights from here seem to be "Operation Rescue" (wicked album opener), "Tomorrow", "1000 More Fools" (according to the booklet, recorded from tabletops in a motel in Florida or something), "Generator", "Do What You Want", "Part III", and a brutal run through of "No Control" to cap things off. Of the new material, I'd call "Dream of Unity" a musical mishap, but the other two, "It's Reciprocal" and "Tested" are pretty damn good (and fast), the title track in particular. Impending middle age, kids, and the occasional PhD are not doing anything to slow these guys down. (By the way, as far as punk scholars go, isn't Milo Aukerman sporting a doctorate these days too?) Two complaints about Tested: it's difficult to locate for a decent price, unless you get lucky online, and the sound is not always that good. Schayer's snare is particularly biting in a lot of the mixes and it's not always easy to listen to (through no fault of his own, he plays like superman). But otherwise, it's a well-played and totally interesting live disc. I'd say it gets an 8!

BTW, Brett is now dealing with heroin addiction after his top earning band (Offspring) deserted him. Maybe getting away from the band and off the road wasn't such a hot idea...
Why does everyone toss over this band so much? They're not even a punk band. I can't believe that Brian Baker of Minor threat fame would join such a shit-for-brains band. If you want to listen to real punk, listen to shit like DK, Black Flag, Minor Threat and Circle Jerks. (James T. Edmunds)
I'll probably never listen to this album again. I might not even buy anymore Bad Religion albums. Well maybe that's a tad extreme. I was always a much bigger fan of Brett's material. Greg's stuff runs together and is way too interchangeable, and the vultures are beginning to swirl. Oh well, Brett's new band sucks too. "The spiritual era's gone it ain't comin back." (Elliot Imes)
Fuck anyone who says this record isn't punk. Did you even listen to this one? It's kicks ass. It's the first one I got, and it made me an instant BR fan. Every song is either above mid-tempo or fast, Greg is still talking about the same things as he did ten years ago, and the riffs are really catchy. It's definitely not the best BR, but anything with the words "Bad Religion" somewhere on the cover is good to me. (Lester)
Husker Du made 9 records and they're better than any punk band i've ever heard. so there. oh yeah, The Gray Race contains about 3.5 good songs - Pity the Dead, The Streets of America, Coome Join Us, and the beginning of Spirit Shine. (Michiel Heinicke)
Yes great idea! Dump that idiot Brett. This album gets closer to punk again. Brian baker kicks ass. And oh yeah Brett DIDN'T quit BR to run epitaph full time, no he's got a new band called DAREDEVILS, wich totally sucks ass. (he sings)
I've always thought this album was particularly underrated. When I first picked it up and saw Ric Ocasek listed as producer, I was a touch concerned-"This better not sound like the fucking Cars!!!"-but the content put my worries to rest, much like as was done to Old Yeller in-whatever that film was. Greg's voice seemed to have reached its peak on this album, and Brian Baker's guitar work made the abscence of old Brett "I write great anti-drug songs but can't stay off the shit myself" Guerwitz perfectly acceptable. "Come Join Us" is a fantastically catchy song that manages to be catchy in a way that's actually different from the standard catchy BR song, "Them and Us" boasts more of Greg's patented head-bopping-rhythm-made-out-of-long-pretentious-words style, "Nobody Listens" is a great hardcore-esque song-and to this date, the last the band has written- and I personally dig the soothing, pretty bassline-driven Victory all to heck.

I agree that "10 in 2010" and "Pity the Dead" don't quite do much enough at all, really, I say, using truly horrific grammar, but "Empty Causes" has some cool vocal syncopation in the verses, and while "Punk Rock Song" may not be one, it is an interesting thing for the band to say after so long-"Yeah, we know we're just preaching to the choir and won't actually change anything by it."

While they may have borrowed the whole "harmony punk" concept from 7 Seconds, they've sure as hell in a handjob managed to do it successfully for longer without turning out some piece of self-rationalizing poopoo like "New Wind." It's hard to write the same song for 15 years and still make it as interesting as these guys do.
My English is not very well (I´m from Germany), so there might be some mistakes in this text. But I want to write down my opinion about The gray race. I think it is the best BR album, with great songs like "Punkrock song" and "drunk sincerity". I don`t miss Brett very much because BB does his part very well and he really know how to play guitar. There is just one bad song which is calles "soirit shine" but I don`t care.

Add your thoughts?

Tested - Dragnet 1997.
Rating = 8

A really cool live import CD. 27 songs long (three of which are new studio recordings! And decent ones!!!), with the strongest production you'll likely ever hear on a live album (you can't even hear the audience most of the time!). It covers their whole career, which makes it sickeningly clear exactly how weak the songwriting got around Gray Race time. Look for it! Pick it up! Throw it across the room!
Reader Comments (Robert Davies)
This is pretty damn awesome. Probably the best produced live record I've ever heard, the drum sound is fucking fantastic. Song selection could have been better, but this comes close to AC/DC's If You Want Blood and Maiden's Live After Death as my favourite live disc ever. This is the shit!

Add your thoughts?

No Substance - Atlantic 1998.
Rating = 7

I absolutely DESPISED this record on first listen. The riffs are generic and at times completely ripped off from earlier Bad Religion material, the tempos are slowed, and Greg's arrogance is completely out of control in holier-than-thou diatribes like "Mediocre Minds" and "The State Of The End Of The Millennium Address" (not to mention in his claim in the liner notes that Bad Religion are "the best band in the world"). See, I'm fine with arrogance if it's deserved. But it's not in this case. Bad Religion used to be the world's greatest popcore band -- but in 1998, they WERE NOT AT ALL. They were still perfectly enjoyable from a listener's standpoint - harmless, cute fun with nice vocal harmonies and the occasional high-speed melody - but they were breaking NO new ground at all, and their soapbox whining was getting really, really tired. Next time Greg wants to bitch about somebody with a "mediocre mind," I'll ask him to kindly not rip off the melody of "Yummy Yummy Yummy, I've Got Love in My Tummy" in doing so.

The songs are simple and catchy, with the occasional cool lead guitar line boppin' in there to make it a bit more interesting. However, they're clearly old men operating on autopilot here, so don't pick this up expecting an awesome punk rock experience like No Control or Against The Grain. Again, basically an enjoyable record, but not nearly as great as the band seems to think it is, the fools.

Reader Comments (David Straub)
This album is a disappointment. The production is fantastic, especially since I think that it was recorded at Greg Graffin's house in Ithaca. However, only a few of these songs really kick ass in classic BR style, and several of them don't really do anything. Lyrics are typically profound, with GG addressing things like the power (and fallibility) of the internet for the first time. I'd say highlights are "Hear It", which is a strong punk rock tune to lead off; "The State of the End of the Millenium Address", which is a fun little Greg rant set to swirling angry feedback-- he's cribbing from Jello here, but it's original; and "At the Mercy of Imbeciles", which kicks off with a tickly riff reminiscent of "Small Man Big Mouth" by Minor Threat. At any rate, BR are definitely backing off, slowing down, etc. Not a bad album, but sorely lacking in the Graffin-Gurewitz tension that fueled their best records. I'd give it a Prindlemeter 6... (Elliot Imes)
I really like this album. It deserves at least an 8. I've been a huge BR fan ever since I first got one of their albums (The Gray Race, to be exact), and have since picked up every other BR release. No Substance is definitely a slight change, but not by much. And how dare you say that Greg has reached a low point in songwriting? Some of the catchiest BR songs ever are on this album. "All Fantastic Images" is excellent, "Sowing the Seeds of Utopia" kicks major ass, "In So Many Ways" is simply beautiful, "At the Mercy of Imbeciles" rocks, "Hear It" is a smooth-flowing adrenaline rush, "The Biggest Killer In American History" has a great stutter-step guitar intro, and the title track has an extremely creative guitar melody.

Whewh. Wait, I'm not done. Although those songs are great, some of the mid-tempo songs here just don't do anything for me. "Victims of the Revolution" and "The Voracious March of Godliness" seem exactly the same to me. Maybe it's just because both of the titles are pretty long. I don' know. Also, I agree that "Mediocre Minds" is awkward, and just sits on its ass for the whole time.

But other than that, I haven't lost faith in these aging men, who just felt like tempering the tempos a bit. If they wanted to, they could have made another pogo-speed Suffer, but they didn't. They've realized that they don't want to play the same thing for 20 years. So they're experimenting. They'll probably come out with a new record in 2 years again, so we'll just wait to see what happens there. And we'll see which old BR guitar lines Greg decides to rip off. Not that it's a bad thing when he does that, but it does frustrate me a bit. Anyway, let's just forget the weaker tracks on No Substance and enjoy it for what it is. A good record. (Nick Leu)
I guess I have just one real complaint about this album, and it revolves around the general midtempo-ness of a lot of the songs. I still like it a lot, but if I want to listen to BR, I'm more likely to reach for No Control or 80-85.

Anyway, it seems (in my opinion) that they've gotten better at making the slower songs in that this time around they aren't just punk riffs slowed down for no apparent reason, but instead when they slow down, they're getting more complex (I think...). I'd probably rate it in the top 50% of BR albums.

I also think that this is the first time I've ever written anything that didn't either totally slag something or rave about it like it was the best thing since the refrigerator or some shit. Hey! There's my requisite obscenity! Almost forgot. (David)
I can't believe you actually OWN that many BR LP's. What a worthless bunch of fakes. What a chump.
This album is awsome! True it is not the hardcore punk style of the old bad religion, but some of us were getting tired of that, and although I hate to say it all the old bad religion song at first listen sound the same. You can't expect to make it anywere writing the same thing for 20 years, and Greg felt it was time for a real change, and rightfully so. Without Brett (who I didn't think was a very good song writer anyway) he is on his own in this opperation, and for an aging man who has been writing for so long to turn something as awsome as this out I find amazing. "Sowing the seeds of Utopia" is one of the best songs I have ever heard, and for people to pan this album just disgusts me. (Alex R)
It's actually been a while since I last wrote something for the Bad Religion section. I just checked some of my scores that I gave on all of their albums, some are still on the money, but on some I went a little too overboard. Here are my new ratings for all of the Bad Religion albums except for Tested and Into The Unknown which are so bloody hard to find.

Bad Religion Ep: 6/10
How Could Hell Be Any Worse?: 9/10
Back To The Known Ep: 7/10
Suffer: 10/10 ( Everything are here kicks ass!! )
No Control: 9/10
Against The Grain: 9/10
80-85: 9/10
Generator: 9/10
Recipe For Hate: 7/10
Stranger Than Fiction: 9/10
All Ages: 9/10
The Gray Race: 8/10
No Substance: 8/10 ( " Raise Your Voice " and " The Hippy Killers " prevent this one to be a 9 )

Can't wait for the new one though.
Self-parody? You tell me.

Like your typical Bad Religion release, this album continues the grand tradition of buttressing the material between two really strong tracks. The middle is a bit of a slump, however. Having seemed to have totally changed their minds about slowing down for two albums now, they apparently re-decided that dropping the tempos was a good thing, which it wasn't, really. If they're going to continue to write songs in the exact same style as before, what precisely they feel they're gaining by doing them SLOWER is beyond me. If you're going to pen slower ditties, then write more complex ones. If Fugazi just sounded like arthritic Minor Threat, then they'd hardly be worthy of their status as one of the best bands ever. Though this record does still contain some doochie-doochie-sounding numbers, only The Biggest Killer in American History sounds particularly aggressive-even if part of the riff is ripped off from Foreigner's Double Vision.

Oh, I shouldn't say "ripped off;" how about "independantly created in precise verisimillitude?" Greg would appreciate that.

To be fair, the liner notes actually say that they are "COMMITTED to being the best band ever," not that they have achieved said goal. And "The State of the End of....etc" isn't particularly arrogant, just trying to be Jello without his naturally biting lefty smarm. It doesn't really work as song, though.

Fact is, I always enjoy this album when I listen to it; it's just that the memories of its general feel seem less satisfying in retrospect, kinda like Generator. I've really little problem with most of the songs taken individually; they just don't seem to need to be all on the same album together, without numbers like "Big Bang" or "Skyscraper" to pop in between the mid-tempo numbers to remind you that you spent your money for punk rock. Which is too bad, since the drums really pound like hell on the few numbers requiring it here. Ultimately a fine listen, but it doesn't feel like they're really pushing themselves very hard here.
This record is crap. Period. And I haven't written y'all since I was like 15 so this record is total crap. Crap
Did you actually read the liner notes? What Greg said is that they are committed to being the best band in the world. I don't believe that is quite the same as claiming to be the best-although they are the best still playing. And perhaps you haven't considered the sarcasm behind "Mediocre Minds" musically. Let's be honest, most minds are mediocre compared to Greg's, have you got a doctorate? I must, however, admit that No Substance is my least favorite of the Bad Religion albums. But it still beats the crap out of anything played by pseudo-punkers like Green Day and Good Charlotte.

Add your thoughts?

The New America - Atlantic 2000.
Rating = 7

Feel free to raise that grade to an 8 with the caveat that at least half of these melodies have already been used by Bad Religion on previous albums. Still, the lyrics are overwhelmingly and surprisingly positive, mostly concentrating on the idea that if you stay true to yourself and be proud of who you are, then even if you don't become a huge success, at least you'll have made your own important mark on the world. Or some crap. Also, the vocal melodies and harmonies sound effervescent, bubbly and filled with bubbles, and there seem to be more fast bits on this one than on the last one. It essentially sounds exactly like Bad Religion. As my girlfriend put it, "Is this a new album? It sounds just like their other albums! Why do they bother making new albums?" Presumably to give Todd Rundgren a reason to not shoot himself in the face.

Reader Comments
I was a little nervous about the first album at first because I heard a song on the net (long way to the promised land) and at first wasn't that impressed. I bought it for £20.00 on import because it's still not been released over here. I was definitely not dissapointed, I'm still not into "promised land" that much but "don't sell me short", "you've got a chance" and "whisper in time" are all amazing stand out tracks. The lyrics are up to the usual standard and are also more positive than in previous albums, which is not a bad thing. Greg's singing constantly gets better and the band are so tight it is unbelievable. This new, slightly different direction will almost certainly get slagged off by a million and one "Johnny more punker than thou" characters, but that makes no difference to the quality of this album. Even the bizzare "I love my computer" is great. Although no where near the best album and containing e few flaws it is still totally worth having and most die hard fans will understand it. Thanks. (NoControl)
Greg is getting old. This means that his geek sensors are fogging up. " I love my computer" makes me blush it is so damned goofy. Drums have gone stale. Guitars have gone flat. Lyrics although somtimes good are not as good. Mixing was good though. Bad religion needs a kick in the head to spice things up. I can't belive someone said that tested was a good live album. The mixing and setup sound like shit everything sounds the same. I heard they suck live is the best live album. IF YOU WANT TO LAUGH FOR A GOOD HALF-HOUR WATCH G.G. STAGE DIVE ON THE NEW AMERICA VIDEO. WHAT A DORK!!! hahah i love him so much.
After their last album, I was preparing for the sad task of possibly having to write off this bad's likely future, as it was. But this one has revitalized my hopes for the time being. For some abstruse reason, it just seems more like an album the band actually wanted to make. While it gets off to a slow start-after the excellent opening track, that is-it jumps back into the action with an album rather reminiscent of Stranger Than Fiction. In a way more specific than the way in which all BR albums are reminiscent of all other BR albums, I mean. The down side to this is that Brett's one contribution to the record, his first since leaving the band back in '95, is a virtual rehash of that album's title track, only longer and with much less interesting lyrics. The up side is that there are more fast bits here, for those who like their music bounce-inducing. "Don't Sell Me Short" is probably the best song the band has written in three albums or so, 1000 Memories is a very pretty-yet-still-fast number, while some totally non-punk excursions like "Whisper in Time" sound just fine without feeling like they even NEED to kick any ass. And sure, the title track is totally stolen from the Ramones "I Just Wanna Have Something to Do Tonight," but it's still pretty catchy.

Of course, it wouldn't kill them to get a producer who could stand turning up the guitars a bit more. Sometimes it works fine, but at other times, when the "loud" guitar come in trying to kick your ass, it misses your ass entirely and ends up kicking you somewhere about the shins. They need to take a lesson from the sound on "No Control" and drown the listener in guitar.

Still, for a band this old and this reticent to change, I'm impressed that they can still do an album this good. Their Atlanta show for the New America tour was the best show I've ever seen them play. I'm amazed that two hours worth of their fastest material doesn't tire them out these days, and that gives me hope that they'll keep on going strong for a few more albums, at least.
Id give this album an 8 (actually id give every album after Against the grain an 8, cept for Recipe for hate wich gets a 7), it has some Great songs, and Also just a bit too many pop songs. "The New America" Rules. Wooohooo, wooohooo! "I love my computer" is actually really funny. Its cool to see them write a "funny" song every once in a while. Here's an update on Bad Religion:

Bobby has left BR due to a really bad injury, he's replaced by Brooks Wackerman. Also Brett has rejoined the Band. I dunno if theyve kicked out Brian Baker though.

Oh and there's gonna be a new album called "The Process of Belief", it will be released on Epitaph. It will be in the OLD BR Style (suffer, no control, against the grain), and will be out in November.


Add your thoughts?

The Process of Belief - Epitaph 2002.
Rating = 8

Yay! They're FAST again! And Brett Gurewitz is back! And they're on Epitaph!

And that's pretty much all I can tell you. I don't even know what the cover looks like! I just found a promo copy (two months before its Feb. 12 release date - HA!) and have been enjoying it quite the large sum of bits over the past 12 hours or hence. Again, forget what you heard for the past few years - BAD RELIGION ARE ONCE AGAIN A REALLY FAST MELODIC PUNK ROCK BAND. Only three of these 14 songs are slow, and even two of those are really good songs!

As for the fast ones, some of 'em are brand new riffs that totally rule, some of 'em are a bit more generic (but work because they're being played so fast!) and maybe one or two parts (like the VERY FIRST GODDAMNED RIFF ON THE ALBUM) just suck out loud and make you embarrassed to be a punk rock fan. But that's the few and far between. It is not at ALL an experimental album, aside from the sound effects middle section of "Bored And Extremely Dangerous" and the dub reggae intro to "Sorrow," but the four-chord thrashers are monstrously catchy in the old-timey Bad Religion tradition. The album as a whole doesn't smoke your ass from here to Hades like Against The Grain, but it's definitely as powerful and headbanging (or more so) than anything they've done since then. Pretty fierce for a bunch of elderly statesmen!

I wish I could tell you about the lyrics but, having no cover, my copy also has no lyrics booklet. I noticed that "You Don't Belong" is about alternative kids in pain (can't tell if it's making fun of them or being sympathetic) and "Destined For Nothing" appears to be arguing that there is no such thing as destiny, but beyond that I'm really gonna have to listen a bit more closely or something! I look forward to the comments of long-time Bad Religion fans who have been eagerly awaiting a return to speed since they gave it up for pussitude a few albums back.

Four huzzahs for a fast drumbeat!

Reader Comments (Michiel Heinicke)
Huh, Bretts back? Brian's staying? So they have like... 3 guitars now. Woa. How are they gonna do that live? 3 guitars will get messy in the mix. Oh well, THIS ALBUM KICKS ASS! at first I thought the album was just overhyped again, like the previous ones, Im not expecting another No Control, man they're old guys! But, suprised I was hearing the opening track "Supersonic". Holy Shit!!! Its FAST!!!!, and then i got even more excited hearing "Prove it". And when I thought it couldnt get any better, "Can't stop it" starts, and that song just blows the shit out of the whole album. Bruce Wackerman sure knows how to "wack" his drums. He's the best drummer they'll ever have. So now i wanna see em' live and hear Bruce play the classics... But, sure the albums got some modern BR-wuzzy songs, but hey, they're beautiful like allways. "Sorrow", is a cool police-intro experiment, the chorus is so masterly beautiful... And the last song KICKS ASS, "Bored and Extremely Dangerous" I love how the song stops and you hear this weird noises, and then ticking...with the clocks going off, (Brett, did you steal that from Dark side of the moon?) and BANG there's the song again. Killer album, best they've done since Generator.

And the cover kicks ass Prindle, are you too lazy to check out or maybe
How can you call the first riff of the album embarrasing - this is the best punk album since Strike Anywheres "Change Is A Sound"....

Bad Religion are back on form! Easily up there with No Control and Against The GRain as best punk albums EVER! Shame they arent likely to be taken seriously in a Maximum Rock N Roll Poll but hey -!

By the way they will manage on tour with 3 guitarists very easily - Mr Brett is not touring (at least not in Europe anyway...)

BEST TRACKS - Sorrow, Destined For Nothing, Bored and Extremely Dangerous.
Oh, fuck yes! Hot diggity doggity damn, the Bad Religion I knew and loved is back! Under no circumstances is Brett Guerwitz allowed to quit this band again! The tempos are way back the hell up, the songwriting is split once again between him and Greg, the playing is much more aggressive, and Brett produced and mixed the album, so it sounds like BR from the Suffer-Against the Grain era production, i.e. LOUD. Newcomer Brooks Wackerman is also to be commended for brutalizing his drum kit the way it so richly deserves. I had been doubtful of the claims that this new album would be "back to old school style"-after all they said that about No Substance, and what kind of drugs they were on to convince themselves of that, I've not a clue, but to make a long sentence longer and yet finally wrap up nonetheless, I was gleefully misapprehensive. Wrong. That's the word. Wrong. It kicks your dog's ass and bites him on it, too.

My only real trepidation upon hearing of Mr. Brett's return was the thought that Brian Baker might be leaving, and his guitarplaying would indeed be missed, but no! They're both staying! Three fucking guitarists is better than, say, two.

Of course, despite all my talk about the resurgence of speed, I keep on humming "Epiphany," one of the slow numbers, but it's a good one dammit! And unlike recent BR releases, when the distorted guitar cuts in, the song actually gets way louder, because Todd Rundgren got nowhere near this album. And Christ, even though in terms of actual beats-per-minute "Can't Stop" is actually slower than the two songs before it, it feels even faster from being so damn frentic. You'd never guess that this was the work of a bunch of guys hovering about 40. Bands like Blink-182 ought to be ashamed of their pathetic-ass selves, (for this and many other reasons.)
good god i love this new album. graffin and gurewitz reuniting is like the punk rock equivalent to lennon and mccartney reuniting, and this album shows it. without exception, every single song on here is intensely catchy and is very well written. i have to say i don't understand why you think the opening riff to "supersonic" is embarrassing. i think that opening is one of the greatest statements they've ever made. i mean, they've been putting out lukewarm albums for about five years now, and just putting in the process of belief and having it hit me like that right from the beginning was indescribable. i was so excited from the beginning and my excitement lasted until the very end of "bored and extremely dangerous". a tip of the hat to those bad religion guys, they have really proven everyone who doubted them to be totally wrong. by the way, the new drummer's name is not bruce wackerman, it's brooks wackerman, easily making him the most oddly-named member in bad religion history. (Mark D. Britton)
I don't understand how you can criticize j. mascus of redundancy and criticize him (and dinosaur jr. in it's later years) because of it, then turn around and praise a band who has been redundant for two decades? Yes, they're fast. They're always fast. And, yeah, they're pissed. But so what? My mom used to get pissed when I didn't wash my hands before dinner, and she was way scarier than these guys! They're flat out boring. As boring and predictable as any Motown hit from the late 60's. In fact, I'd have to say that Bad Religion is to punk rock as ...ah... what's the name of that boy band (I don't know, just pick one) is to the world of pop, and about as talented (political consciousness aside). If there's music waiting for me in hell, then this is it... (Ooes)
You forgot to mention the HORRIBLE overcompression of dynamic range in the mix that sucks all the life out of the music. The album could be really good if the sound WASN'T SO FUCKING SQUASHED!

For those who don't know what dynamic range compression is, it's basically altering of the levels of different sounds and dynamics in the song itself, pushing softer parts of the sound closer to the louder parts, making the song "louder" in the sense that there is more presence rather than higher peak levels so that the music is easier to make out in heavily populated areas like resteraunts and when driving in a convertable. While some compression is neseccary to make the music sound solid and more accurately recreate what the band in the studio actually sounded like, in recent years record labels have taken compression to uncomfortable extremes, making music as loud as possible to get people to notice the music they publish when played on the radio and television, with rival labels trying get their albums to sound "hotter" than the other in a relentless loudness war, meanwhile the actual LISTENER who buys or downloads music for private listening gets the shaft. Overcompression "squashes" the sound, taking much of the force out of the percussion, sucking out the ambience and is very uncomfortable to listen to, especially at loud volumes.

Some more information on this phenomenon can be found at:
http://www. (Mike Brennan)
Despite the fact that Bad Religion had been around over 20 years, had different guitarists, been cursed with shitty drummers until this album(Brooks Wackerman is actually good), and is even now using effect pedals(I hear that delay), every song Bad Religion has ever done is exactly the same. Why I keep listening to the band, I'll never know. They're not great, and they have no sense of experimentation musically, but they keep ending up in my CD player. I can't even tell whether or not I'm a fan.

Add your thoughts?

The Empire Strikes First - Epitaph 2004
Rating = 7

How on Earth do you get this far into your career without harboring ANY desire to try something new? Christ, even the Ramones showed more stylistic growth over the long run than these guys. And this is a shame, because there were some moments on Generator, Recipe For Hate and Stranger Than Fiction when it really seemed like they were developing into a great and creative hard rock/hardcore hybrid. But this is just a throwaway. I mean, they've already written every single one of these songs. So have many, many punk rock bands. Hundreds and hundreds of times. Basic, predictable chord sequences -- the tempo alternates between high-speed and midtempo, but the music is ALWAYS basic and usually predictable. There are a few nice surprises -- the alt-rock album intro, the soaring lead guitar line in "Let Them Eat War," the title track's harmonics-driven melody, the Beatle-pop of "Los Angeles Is Burning," the confusing chord-drum-timing shift during the chorus of "All There Is" -- but most of it is just the same old Bad Religion story. The "Aaaaah" background vocals, the political lyrics and most upsettingly, as I said, the nothing riffs. These chord sequences should have been retired twenty years ago, when they'd all already been used in about 100 different hardcore songs.

As for the highly-touted anti-War On Terror lyrics -- the words are too small and they have nothing to say that a 15-year-old with a newspaper couldn't say more intelligently. And honestly, the majority of the lyrics are just anti-religious, a "brave" stance that they already established when they named themselves "Bad Religion" 20 fucking years ago.

If you only recently became a punk rock fan, you'll probably like the fast songs on here and hate the slow ones. If you like pop-punk, you'll probably like the slow ones and hate the fast ones. But if you've been following Bad Religion for a long time, you'll most likely come out of it feeling the same way I do: "Well, I like Bad Religion... and this sounds like Bad Religion... And none of the songs are bad, per se.... CHRIST! THEY'RE USING THIS CHORD SEQUENCE AGAIN!?!?!??!"

Also, they let a guest rapper "rap" on one of the songs. Because rap is "real." The song was just sugar-coated Hollywood entertainment until the rapper came in and brought it down "to the streets" with his "lack of vocal melody."

God, I'm coming across a lot more bitter in this review than I actually feel. I think I'm just all worded out from reviewing 9 "zine" CDs right before this one. But let's check in and see how I'm doing. I'm again feeling like I have no free time. Then when I finally get some, I waste it on ebay. My OCD is back, but I've upped my dosage of whatever the hell I'm taking for it now, so hopefully that will help. My wife's been out of town all week. I'm working three days a week, and busy as poop with freelance work and ebay sales the other two days. I'm not falling apart, by any means. I'm very happy to be alive and (as far as I know) healthy. And OCD is one of those come-and-go things. The real problem is probably my complete lack of self-esteem. But how does one develop self-esteem? I'm not gonna go around pretending I have any reason to be an arrogant assgrab! Hmm. Questions, questions. The brain is an interesting organ. Do you ever notice how closely your reaction to a given situation is related to what the chemicals in your head are doing at that particular moment? It's so easy to act like an asshole because of what your brain is doing at a particular moment -- then 30 minutes later, when you're in a calmer state of mind, you look back and go, "Why did I do that? I'll never do that again!" Then you end up doing it again the next day because you have a headache or you're tired or too caffeinated or something. These are just little decisions -- like "If someone says something rude to me on the street, do I ignore them, laugh at them, apologize to them or cuss at them?" I can sit in this chair right now and proudly declare, "I'll take the high road and ignore them!" But put in the actual situation, if I'm already stressed about having no free time, or feeling guilty about eating pizza too much, or angry because of all the assholes honking their horns -- and then some stupid old bag is rude to me completely out of the blue, it's going to take every ounce of willpower to refrain from strangling her with my dog leash. So is the answer to just "go with the flow" and stop feeling guilty about every decision I make? I don't know. I'd obviously hate to make the wrong decision and end up in the emergency ward after cussing out some football player or gang member or something. But do I really want cancerous old bags getting away with rude comments about my dog? Shouldn't they PAY for being conscienceless old fucks? Ah, the gentle brain of life. What is it doing? Where is it going? And how can it get George Bush out of office?

Reader Comments (Keith)
First of all, you're probably the only BR fan that wants them to be prog rock or whatever. I'm sure your familiar with the reaction to into the unknown though I'm not motivated to scroll up and see what you might have written about it. they're in that rarefied air that the Ramones, ac/dc, Motorhead, and, until relatively recently, slayer breathed, where they keep people happy and maintain artistic integrity by maintaining the status quo, and no one can touch them if they stay there. I'll again go back to that fucking genius Johnny Ramone: "everybody, except the Beatles, who changed, got worse. Elvis would have been just fine if he never changed". now, since i haven't heard this yet and am buzzed and apparently have nothing better to do, I'm gonna digress into your repeated mention about how "American Jesus" (no funnier a "blasphemy" than your stupid honkin' on bobo review comment, but a whole lot more catchy and interesting) supposedly rips off "commando". Devo's "mongoloid" and the Misfits "halloween" and about a million other songs that aren't coming to mind right at this second swipe those four chords from commando's chorus more noticeably, but this song should be spared the insinuation of being a ripoff of the Ramones since it has the innovation of laying a great "breaking the law" by Judas priest arpeggio over it, catchy as hell, a technique also employed by your favorite band the offspring with their hit "the children aren't all right". you want a blatant Ramones rip, try DKs "kill the poor" chorus as swiped from the ending of "you're gonna kill that girl". maybe you mentioned that, i sure ain't gonna check right now.... by the way, you are apparently worried about your ability to make consistent decisions (note: here i have actually gone back to referencing your empire strikes first review). that's because you do not have any faith in the grace of the lord, because you see, Christianity is a GOOD religion... (Michiel Heinicke)
Well, this album doesn't have the same impact that the process of belief had, that was their return to form, and well this is.... a continuation of that form. It sounds quite the same actually. Again the first songs are speedy, again the middle part really drags with the slow songs. It has its moments though. Brooks does a cool double bass on "sinister rouge". "atheist peace" is so catchy it could be on Against the Grain. The middle part really sucks. "Los angeles is burning" is so boring it could be on "The new America". "Let them eat war" has got a hiphop part. That's about the worst idea they had since asking Rancid members to sing on Stranger than Fiction. BUT now let me say that "Beyond electric dreams" Is already a BR classic to me. I guess i havent really considered any BR songs classic sice "American Jesus" on Recipe for Hate. The song KICKS ASS!!! Its not really speedy but the guitar riff fucking rocks. "Boot stamping on a human face" is fucking hilarious. I can't really take that song seriously. Not only is it one of the weirdest songtitles Ive ever heard, you can hear BR doing a song that normally bands like Puddle of Mudd would do. Just listen for yourself. Hahaha.

Now the question: Is it better than Process of Belief? I think it is. Process of believed was overhyped when it was released, since brett returned - and they finally had a tight drummer and all. But the only memorable song on TPOB was to my opinion, "sorrow". The other slow songs are boring, the fast songs are fun but nowhere near the old stuff. The fast songs on TESB are better. Id give this somewhere between 7 and 8. Have to listen to it a bit more.

Oh yeah, say WHERE did you get this album Prindle, are you ILLEGALLY downloading songs of the Internet??? Well Im totally for that shit too, ill buy the original when it comes out anyway. I think the band themselves don't really mind either, I saw both Brett and Jay on their official forum asking fans wich songs they liked, they even corrected some lyrics that some fans had typed out. Ill be seeing them live in 3 weeks, and i sure would like to see their reaction that people are singing along with still unreleased songs. haha. (Beau Mihalek)
I've always hated that Johnny Ramone quote. Is anyone going to argue that David Bowie's mid 60s albums are better than the Ziggy Stardust stuff? Or that Paul's Boutique is worse than Licensed to Ill? Safe as Milk better than Trout Mask Replica? Talking Heads 77 over Remain in Light? MANY bands have changed for the better. The Ramones stayed the same and got a lot worse. (Jeff Fortin)
You mean to say that this album earns the same "7" rating as No Substance, The New America, and “The Gray Race? Are you fucking kidding me? This album, as others have noted, is a logical continuation from The Process Of Belief There is an energy and substance to the songs that was lacking during the “No Mr. Brett” years. New America, No Substance, and Gray Race are borderline unlistenable and may actually be worse than “Into The Unknown” While their music hasn’t really advanced since the Suffer/NoControl era, it is solid punk music that 90 percent of the punk bands out there would love to be able to call their own.
C’mon, and u guys call urself fans, this album is F*cking amazing, and while the process of belief was good, this blows it away, its totally different to anything they have previously done! (Tom Kitchen)
Hey, Im a 17 year old from England and i have to say, Bad Religion are my favourite band of all time. The first album by them i bought was Generator and i loved it as i was a big fan of pennywise, minor threat, nofx and the offspring and i was blown away, I now own every album theyve done except for No Control which i have to buy cos i downloaded it and its amazing and id like to give some personal review scores for the albums so here goes,

How Could Hell Be Any Worse 8/10 best song: Part III

Suffer 9.5/10 best song: Suffer

No Control 9.5/10 best song: No Control

Against The Grain 8/10 best song: God Song

Generator 9/10 best song: Generator

Recipe For Hate: 9/10 best song: Man With a Mission

Stranger Than Fiction: 6/10 best song: Marked

The Gray Race: 8/10 best song: Nobody Listens

No Substance: 5//10 best song: The Hippy Killers

The New America 6/10 best song: Dont Sell me short

The Process of Belief 9/10 best song: cant stop it

The Empire Strikes First 8/10 best song: Atheist peace

So There we have it, how comes no one mentioned Man with a mission! Just one last thing i was so inspired by punk i decided to make a punk rock band kinda in the bad religion style and id love to hear your feedback if you can be arsed to give it 5 mins songs to check out especially are power struggle and $ick pay the link is here -

Thanks alot and keep up the message board
OK, I'm looking at my younger self talking about how "No Substance" was crap, and I still believe that. But I thought maybe "No Substance" was a Bad Religion fluke, kinda like all bands have to have one crap album in their career, but damn, this "Empire Strikes First" album is like the epitome of Bad Religion crap, I never thought I'd say it, but "No Substance" is better than this piece of crap. It sucks, it's boring and predictable, each song I hear I say, "It's gonna sound like this," and damn if it doesn't. I was so disappointed after what they did with "The Process of Belief," in which they were reborn, but on this crap album they just died. I was sad, I bought this one the same day that I bought Velvet Revolver and I am trying to decide which one takes number one for biggest disappointment of the year. They are both great candidates. (Matt Murray)
Every album these guys have done since Recipe for Hate I've had to kind of grow into, until The Process of Belief came out. With this one, it was back to having to give it a few listens before it grew on me. That said, this album is true to form, as are most albums by this, one of the world's most change-averse bands. The songs here aren't as strong as the last album, but they're still catchy and hummable, and still provoke the same response from me. Music enjoyment can result from an intellectual appreciation, but deep down it's mostly the emotional gut reaction we get , and in this capacity BR continues to produce more or less the same response out of me. If the lyrics are somewhat less trenchant than Generator, their sendup of the last George Bush's Iraq war, it nevertheless remains true that ANY indictment of the current regime...err, administration is better than the "America is united on my agenda" crap spewed out by our alleged president on a routine b! asis. And frankly, in a country where 90 percent of the citizens profess a belief in a god, it DOES take some guts to get up and proclaim "religion is not and never has been a strong force for positive social change."

I must agree with the reviewer above who proclaimed "Beyond Electric Dreams" an instant BR classic. And "Los Angeles is Burning" is the best Ramones song I've heard in a while. But I must tip my metaphorical hat to "Boot Stomping on a Human Face Forever" for being a genuinely different-sounding song for these guys, and not in an unwelcome way. As a whole, it's pretty enjoyable overall, especially for a bunch of guys who've been mining the same square inch of ground for twenty-four years now. I'm impressed that they're still doing so well. (Greg)
Sometimes I think some people wont be satisfied before Bad Religion release a polka album, or maybe even a Christmas record(Oh wait, they did!). Is there something inherently wrong with having a style you pioneered and using it as a foundation? Compare BR to anyone at all in their respective sub-genre and then tell me they lack range. You can't. As far as this hybrid hardcore/hard rock thing, they spent much of the late 90's more or less trying that and we all know how that went. To paraphrase Mr. Brett in an interview I read once, can't remember where, some people say fuck Bad Religion because all the songs sound the same, and other people say fuck Bad Religion because they've changed/sold out. As long as the ratio of those two types of critics stays fairly even, you know you've struck a good balance. I, for one, am really happy they've returned to their roots, instead of more noodling in pop punk/arena rock garbage.

Chris Scanlon, Santa Monica
I respectfully disagree your opinion, and the ability to so is what's makes this forum so valuable to our community and your readership.

Although more polished than its earlier "salad day" efforts, The Empire Strikes First, shows the aging Bad Religion returning to its younger, up-tempo, roots.

I'm glad that Stranger Than Fiction's commercial success didn't derail these guys for too long.

Credit both Gregs (Graffin and Hetson) for driving the band forward through a series on line-up changes, and Mr. Brett for getting his act together and returning to his first family.
i got a lot in common with that 17 year old from england, namely that im a 17 year old from england! when i saw, (and met!!) NOFX last year fat mike said that bad religion were the greatest punk band ever, i totally agree as i'd already told him earlier that day. In my opinion TESF is probably the worst of bad religion i'v heard but im not ready to abandon such a fantastic band on the basis of this, everyone stop complaining and pray its not too long till the sceptical quick to call sellouts have another new BR album to tear apart.

P.S. that guy who rated the albums stranger thn fiction, worse that the gray race!? plus do what you want, the best song ever written is clearly the best song on suffer!
This is the only BR album i've bothered to check out since Brett rejoined (actually the only one i've checked out since The Grey Race, to be exact), and it's a mixed bag. I could do without the rap (though maybe they're trying to prove they're 'with it'). since they've been on a major label and now Brett's back and they're back on Epitaph, all I can think of is Vanilla Ice's classic 1994 "comeback" lyrics... "Jealous cause I went Multi-Platinum, now I'm gonna bust em in the head, bust em dead, with my magnum/You know those critics love to hate/so I made this new record much harder, set the stupid critics straight/And I'm still droppin' bombs/You know the rap world's like the battlefield of Vietnam." Actually i'd probably enjoy BR covering that song better than the rap track here.

Also, 3 guitarists... Iron Maiden did that with their classic lineup reformation too... don't these vet bands know bands with more than 5 members generally suck? How many rap/nu-metal bands with DJs and black metal and goth metal bands with keyboardists have 6 or 7 members, for instance?

Still there's some OK stuff here, and i actually like some anti-War on Terror (or at least the way it's being run by the Bushies) lyrics... but it's nothing that they haven't done before. I prefer Against the Grain, or even Stranger than Fiction ("Infected" was the first thing i heard by them and i did love it when i was 15) to this. 6 or 7, don't care enough to choose which.

Add your thoughts?

New Maps Of Hell - Epitaph 2007
Rating = 8

Let's start this off with a laugh at my expense. I sent my friend Christian Smith a sensitive, heartfelt email reading as follows:

Subject: Obscene "Generator" parody

For some reason I've been singing the intro (to myself) like this lately:

Like my cock
Like Aunt Janet
Like I'm fucking Adam West...

But now look at Christian's seething, bile-ridden reply of hatred to my caring note of friendship:

If you were an "image" commercial for a major corporation, you'd be slo-mo shots of couples snuggling, men building skyscrapers, Hank Aaron, and the Great Wall of China while Sam Waterston said, "Consistency. Doing what you do over and over again. Tirelessly. Effortlessly. Forever." Then maybe it'd end with a big explosion.

See??? With friends like needs, who these enemies!?

New Maps Of Hell is a very good Bad Religion CD. On the surface it may sound like the same standard Bad Religion chord progressions for the 50 billionth time, but there are actually a lot of novel stylistic decisions worked into the mix. In fact, if you at any point during the disc think to yourself, "Okay, this is a generic Bad Religion song," listen more closely and you'll probably notice something slightly different going on. Some songs are differentiated by curious guitar approaches (roaring metallic tones, downbeat stomp-stomp-stomps, high-pitched folk-rock leads, sections where the guitars are turned down so the bass is the prominent instrument), while others incorporate completely unexpected influences or arrangements, such as:

- "New Dark Ages" is driven by an Iron Maiden-style dual-guitar lick and palm-muted stutter-thrash!
- "The Grand Delusion" features bass and guitar riffs that progress against each other (one ascends as the other descends)!
- "Requiem For Dissent" features military-shout backup vocals, for an almost NYHC feel!
- "Honest Goodbye" sounds like Weezer. A bit too MUCH like Weezer, some might say. And by "some," I mean "me"
- The drumbeat of "Heroes And Martyrs" leaves cymbals out of the verse, for a neat boxy effect
- "Fields Of Mars" features a prominent piano introduction and mid-song break (it's also a GREAT song with a super-anthemic '70s classic rock chord sequence pummeled through the Bad Religion speed factory)

Of the 16 tracks, 6.5 are midtempo/slow and 9.5 are fast as fast can be. The mix is very strong and loud, the harmony backup vocals are as great as always and, although the overriding moods are the same as previously (minor-key angst, melodic punk), there are a few instances of viciously slashing anger-punk of the sort I don't think we've ever heard from this band. Listen to the opening/recurring riff of "Heroes And Martyrs" or the fast parts of "Murder," for example. Adding to this aggressive feel are a few instances of Graffin putting his vocals through a distortion pedal (but thankfully not altering his tuneful singing approach). And the sole song I don't like at all is only 52 seconds long! I'm not going to tell you the name of the song, but here's a hint: the first song on this CD is called "52 Seconds," and it's the worst song I've ever heard. Okay, that's your hint! Good luck! Feel free to email me with any additional questions you may have about this song.

To repeat my general theme: with New Maps Of Hell, Bad Religion has given its fan base exactly what it wants and expects (speedy, catchy punk with backup singers going "Aaaaah"!), while simultaneously providing enough interesting little variations on the formula to excite those of us who were getting tired of hearing the same chord changes over and over again. Not every diversion meshes perfectly with the Bad Religion aesthetic (the alarmingly ugly vocal 'harmonies' of "52 Seconds" are hardly a promising start to the record, "Prodigal Son" tries to combine Graffin's folksy solo interests with stomping punk-metal to iffy effect, and there is never a valid reason for a band to sound like Weezer), but it's wonderful to hear them trying to 'shake things up' and 'think outside of the box' in ways other than 'just playing slower.' Way to go bad, Religion!

Weigh, too. Go, Bad Religion!

Whey dago -- Baaa! Tree lid gin!

This is going everywhere, but very slowly.

Reader Comments
Yes! I'm the first comment on New Maps of Hell! I should win part-ownership of this website, or something similar.

I can't agree with you more about this new album. My ex was OBSESSED with The Empire Strikes Back, and she has bought New Maps of Hell, but still hasn't listened to it. I keep telling her that it's way better than Empire, but she has not gotten around to it yet. That might be why we're not together anymore.

Finding a favorite song or moment on this thing is tough, since there are so many. "Before You Die" is just phenomenal, with that vibrato all over the guitars in the chorus. "Grains of Wrath" might be my favorite fast song, having a majestically epic "FROM SEA TO SHINING SEEEEAAAAAAA."

I'm starting to believe that Bad Religion really can just keep doing this shit until they're 60. If they haven't stopped being consistent this far into it, what would keep them from continuing that until the end of time?

That "let's cram the fastest songs at the beginning of the album" formula again, third time they do it. It worked with the Process of belief. OKAY. But FOR THE THIRD Time, come on!

I dont even think the short songs are good. They should stop trying to copy No Control-era tracks, they are too old for that. (Greg can't even get to that high note of I want to conquer the world anymore, they play those songs in lower keys at live shows, wich really sucks)

The rest of the album is basically the Punk/rock/pop Bad Religion we know since Stranger than fiction. Some great songs, like New Dark ages and Dearly Beloved.

Great that they dropped the politics of The Empire Strikes Back, that was WAY too Green Day. (how can you take songs about politics played by guys with make up serious anyway???) By the way you gave Empire a 7 and this one a 8, that's just ONE grade higher... I think this just kicks empire's ass. Empire had No substance.... (hahahahaha I said No substance... GET IT???)

Henry Guion
What about "Dearly Beloved"?
That, in my opinion is one of those great Bad Religion songs, even though it is acoustic. They really show a new side there, as well as having the consistent overlapping harmonies that everybody loves. It is also a sweet song. GG's voice is getting better and better. I haven't listened to the rest of the album though.
Complete with a Star trek reference and the chilling line, "Dearest in memoriam - set phasers to stun
And grab yourself a neighbors' skeleton to lean upon,
Did you know him in life - one filled with regret,
So soon we all forget - we ever met"
I do agree that Bad Religion is maybe the best punk band ever, along with DK
NOFX is pretty good too but not the best

Add your thoughts?

30 Years Live - Epitaph 2010
Rating = 8

While taking Henry The Dog on "A Walk" the other day, it suddenly struck me how often over the years I've taken special care to appreciate having him around, since dogs have relatively short lifespans. It never occurred to me to appreciate my wife in such a manner, because I took for granted that she'd always be here. Now she's gone, she's not coming back, and death has nothing to do with it. She simply fell out of love with me. After fifteen fucking years.

I haven't experienced this kind of emotional pain in over a decade, and this degree of emotional pain ever. My adult life was cruising along so well for so long, and now I'm suddenly lost, hopeless and alone in my own "New Dark Ages." I realize "We're Only Gonna Die" at the end anyway, but I don't know how long I can stand to "Suffer" like this. "Won't Somebody" please convince my "Dearly Beloved" that she's made a terrible mistake? Sweet "American Jesus," it hurts to be rejected by the one person you loved and trusted more than anyone else on the planet. "Fuck Armageddon, This Is Hell."

Maybe "Tomorrow" will be better. Maybe I'll suddenly wake up and feel like a "Man With A Mission." But so far, I'm just wandering around sad and scared -- sad because my soulmate doesn't want me anymore, and scared that I will be alone for the rest of my life. This hurts to an unbelievable, indescribable degree. Nearly every good memory I have from the past decade and a half involves this woman. Six weeks ago, everything seemed fine. Today, we're preparing to sign separation papers. My childish "Resist Stance" certainly hasn't done me any favors (particularly when I tried to commit "Social Suicide" two weeks ago), but this ripping apart of our marital vows is all too sudden for me to comprehend. It's as if alien "Germs of Perfection" have taken over her mind and turned her against the last 15 years of her life. It feels like my heart is California and "Los Angeles Is Burning."

All I can do now is mourn my loss and try to develop a new life. I definitely need to meet new people; I hardly know anybody in NYC. My cognitive therapist recommended that I attend a meeting of Codependents Anonymous, but their web site has all this religious crap on it so I'm not sure I could find any "Atheist Peace" there. Might as well join the "Flat Earth Society"!

This live album doesn't have any songs on it.

If it did, "Won't Somebody" would be a slow boring generic song previously available in acoustic form as a bonus track on New Maps Of Hell, and "Resist Stance" would be a brand new ass-kicker with an opening riff reminiscent of an early Rush song. But again, it doesn't have any songs on it.

"Marked" Prindle

Reader Comments

JC Carrera
Whatever you do, don't listen to Greg Graffin's first solo album right now!

Or maybe it will help you, who knows.
No...not gonna buy this...not even download it...Duuuude, the 80's are long gone...

Don't some of these guys have, like, accounting degrees and shit? And own king shit sized record labels? Are they that desperate to be relevant once more? Why should we "suffer" though this? Again?!?!?

After all, "How could hell be any worse?" I mean besides a Courtney Love concert?

I mean, we're "only gonna die" etc etc etc etc etc...Right?

....Have you tried strong drink and a weak woman?
Hey, if you want to get some pussy, this is what you do. You find an attractive woman somewhere, stand near her with your back towards her, start sniffing the air around you and then exclaim at the top of your voice: "What's this smell of burnt rubber here? Is that YOU!?!" At this point you turn dramatically and point your finger at the woman of your choice. Works best in high society parties.

Add your thoughts?

The Dissent of Man - Epitaph 2010
Rating = 7

I saw Pink Floyd's Roger Waters live in concert tonight! Here's what he played off each album:

The Piper at the Gates of Dawn - nothing
A Saucerful of Secrets - nothing
More - nothing
Ummagumma - nothing
Atom Heart Mother - nothing
Meddle - nothing
Obscured By Clouds - nothing
The Dark Side of the Moon - nothing
Wish You Were Here - nothing
Animals - nothing
The Wall - "In The Flesh?," "The Thin Ice," "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 1)," "The Happiest Days of Our Lives," "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)," "Mother," "Goodbye Blue Sky," "Empty Spaces," "Young Lust," "One of My Turns," "Don't Leave Me Now," "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 3)," "Goodbye Cruel World," "Hey You," "Is There Anybody Out There?," "Nobody Home," "Vera," "Bring the Boys Back Home," "Comfortably Numb," "In the Flesh," "Run Like Hell," "Waiting for the Worms," "Stop," "The Trial," "Outside the Wall"
The Final Cut - nothing
The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking - nothing
Radio K.A.O.S. - nothing
Amused to Death - nothing
Ca Ira - nothing

Regardless of its limited set list, I loved the show. My ticket was a birthday gift from Jim Laakso, and MAN! What a birthday gift. Even better than the marital separation my wife gave me this year. The songs! The wall! The special effects, fireworks and animations! The liberal propaganda! The crashing airplane and flying pig! The Nazi-esque costumes! The wall falling onto the first few rows of audience members at the end, crushing them to death! Even stranger, Roger appeared to be in an excellent mood and very thankful to have us all there for his light-hearted anti-war rejiggering of Pink Floyd's The Wall, an album.

One thing got me to a-thinking though: at one point, a quote from Dwight Eisenhower was projected on the wall, and it made me wonder the following: have presidents always had speech writers? In other words, did John Kennedy really say "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country"? Or did he just read what a speechwriter had written for him? Same for Nixon's Checkers speech, Eisenhower's anti-industrial-military complex speech, Lincoln's Gettysburg Address (okay, I'm pretty sure he did write that one).... At what point did speechwriters start doing all the writing? I'd be pretty darned angry if I came up with a quote as great as "Ask not what your country can do for you" and some Catholic assbag got all the credit for it.

Not that I have anything against Catholics.

Or assbags.

But on the topic of Bad Religion, please enjoy these interview excerpts from a recent issue of Touch & Go fanzine:

Tesco Vee: "How many grovelling little nubiles do you get to suck your wangs after every gig?"
Greg Graffin: "At least one every gig."
Brett Gurewitz: "One."
Jay Bentley: "Not too many. I'm usually way too drunk!!"
Tesco Vee: "What are you when you aren't Bad Religion?"
Brett Gurewitz: "Horny."
Greg Graffin: "A sex maniac who likes new wave chicks with big tits and who MASTURBATE!!!"
Tesco Vee: "Who's the biggest asshole in LA?"
Group: "All the fucking poseur little faggots that think they're the meanest thing since Sid."
Tesco Vee: "What type of kids do you attract?"
Greg Graffin: "Not enough new wave chicks with big tits!"
Tesco Vee: "Opinion of San Francisco?"
Greg Graffin: "I don't really like all the people but the city is cool, if it didn't always smell like cum."
Jay Bentley: "It's weird up there. I mean people are freaked out on drugs or something. I love the city structural wise it's bitchen and the nude ladies you can see for a quarter, that's OK."
Tesco Vee: "Where do you guys stand on drugs, booze etc.?"
Brett Gurewitz: "Anywhere I can."
Jay Bentley: "Anything that's bad for you is good for you, if you take enough to make you pass out!!"

What a letdown. Did Greg Graffin learn nothing from his zoology graduate courses except the appeal of large-chested women engaging in onanism? Did Brett Gurewitz learn nothing from his struggles with cocaine addiction except to stand on drugs anywhere he can? Does Jay Bentley really know a place in San Francisco where you can see nude ladies for a quarter? And don't give me your "Hay Mark that interview is from 1982 when they were all like 15" bullnonsense because there's no such thing as clocks and everything just happened a minute ago. Shame on you, Brett "Horny" Gurewitz and Greg "Sex Maniac" Graffin! How will I ever again enjoy "Flat Earth Society" now that I know it's about girls with small bajongas? And don't even get me started on "21st Century Digital Boy"! (I think we all know what he's doing with those "digits"!)

Moving on to the actual album, The Dissent of Man starts off kicking hardcore ass like all the other post-Brett's-return CDs, but then reveals its true hand: to be as midtempo as the post-Brett's-leaving-pre-Brett's-return CDs. Only six of these fifteen tracks are "Bad Religion Speed"; the others might as well be rock songs by a rock band or some fucken shit. It's not quite a return to the Graffin-only era though, as there are definite touches of folk and classic rock influence here, particularly in the great REMy folk rocker "I Won't Say Anything," morose protest folker "Won't Somebody," Pleasant Dreamsy "Turn Your Back On Me," and Tom Cochrane-styled country-rock vomitbag "Cyanide."

Lest it seem I'm damning the record (not that a "7" is a damning grade) for its slower tempos, let me stress that the real problem with the record isn't the speed but the inconsistent songwriting. There are, as usual, far too many generic chord changes on this record. And as I've stated before, it's a lot easier to forgive cliched riffs when they're hurling past your brain at 4,000 miles an hour. Energy and aggression are a major part of the appeal of punk rock, and often when you slow it down, all you get is slow simple chord changes. So thank goodness gracious that Bad Religion also cherishes vocal melody and harmony; can you imagine how boring this stuff would be if that guy from the Necros was singing it? I can, and it would be BORING!

That paragraph was supposed to be negative and it turned out positive. Let me try that again.

I imagine that most Bad Religion fans are with me in preferring their fast music to their midtempo music. I'm just talking "in general." I agree that some of their slow and midtempo songs are phenomenal, but I sure wouldn't consider myself a fan if their entire discography was as listless as The Gray Race or No Substance. For this reason, it probably won't surprise you when I opine that four of the six high-speed tracks on here are fucken killer, but of the remaining nine tracks, only "I Won't Say Anything" and the delightful tonic-subdominant pop-punker "Someone To Believe" are of comparable quality. There are only so many things you can do with worried minor chords and people going "Aaaaaaahhh" in the background, and Bad Religion has already done them many times over in the course of recording 15 studio albums. I'm not saying they need to branch out -- just keep the damned speed up! If you can't give us creativity, at least give us energy.

About which let me add that Greg Graffin sounds more passionate in "The Resist Stance" than he has in decades. Does this song mean more to him than the others for some reason? Or does he just love the riff? (I'd vote the latter, as it is definitely the strongest guitar hook on the record).

I will leave you with a positive and sincere statement: Bad Religion has never released a bad album. That has not changed. If it's too loud, you're too young!

Reader Comments

Brad Halverson
This album keeps sounding better to me the more I listen to it. It feels like this album and New Maps of Hell represent Bad Religion officially becoming Grown Ass Men in some way in that the former is musically about exploring where they've been, and Dissent is more about where they are now. I agree with you that these guys are at their best when they're writing fast, concise songs, but the slower and poppier songs here sound more sincere and less like weird attempts at getting radio play. Wrong Way Kids is completely dorky, but dammit, it's so sincere I actually kind of like it. And all the fast songs are great, especially The Resist Stance and Meeting of the Minds (even though they've already written that one a couple times already). It's not a perfect record, but it's pretty amazing that these guys still sound so relevant thirty years into their career.

Also, I'm kind of surprised you liked Won't Say Anything (Which I think is one of their worst songs) but not Cyanide which I actually like a whole bunch, despite Greg's awful, cheesy, reading of "The road to you is paved with good intentions" right before the guitar solo. I just ignore that part! It's a good song!

Add your thoughts?

Other Bad Religion Sites

*Click HERE to buy any Bad Religion CDs you don't already own (except for "Into The Unknown," I guess)

* Need more Rad Beligion? See Hakan's Music Pages!

*Another option might be The Bad Religion Tribute

* And if you're a 21st Etc. Etc., visit The Best Bad Religion Links!

If You're Into Rock But Think Roll Is For Assholes And People Who Want to Survive A Fire Like A Dumbass, Click Here For Mark Prindle's Rock Reviews That Tear