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Autonomist
11-10-2007, 05:29 AM
(I know, there's already a dozen BR threads floating around on the board. I put some decent work into this however, so I'm hoping this'll be crowned the official one, or something along those lines.)

Earlier this week I saw Bad Religion live, and it was hands down no comparison the best show I've ever been to. In the lead-up to this, and in order to remind myself that they were my favourite band, I listened to all their albums over a period of two weeks and wrote lengthy reviews for all. I'm proud of my work, so I'm posting it in order to hopefully open up discussion of some sort.

Ahem;

HOW COULD HELL BE ANY WORSE? (4/5)
A lot of the songs here are great, but they would become even greater years later when they were perfected into live masterpieces. Part III sounds decent enough here, however in later years it would sound absolutely phenomenal live, with an excellent pumping bassline introduction. Some of the songs on How Could Hell Be Any Worse are fairly average and forgettable (Voice of God Is Government, Oligarchy) however at the end of the day it's filled with more good stuff than bad. Fuck Armageddon... This is Hell is a great song that remains a live benchmark and fan favourite to this day, as does We're Only Gonna Die. The biggest criticism here is that most of the songs don't really differentiate from one another, and as a basic hardcore record this is much more problematic than it would be in later years. But overall, a decent record and a sign of better things to come.

INTO THE UNKNOWN (2/5)
Bad Religion's incredibly experimental second album. It's definitely interesting to say the least, however there's no denying that the experiment didn't pay off very well. It was daring to wade into synth-pop territories after How Could Hell Be Any Worse, an under-produced hardcore punk record that earned them a sizeable fan base. Needless to say Into the Unknown wasn't very popular with fans. Even for those whom are more open-minded however it's easy to see why the band has never bothered re-releasing this - it just really isn't an overly strong album. The keyboards don't blend in very well with the guitar sound most of the time, distorting a lot of tracks to mediocrity. It's Only Over When... and The Dichotomy are listenable tracks, but apart from those Into the Unknown offers nothing memorable. It's not as bad as you'd think, but it's hardly worth checking out either.

80-85 (2/5)
Excluding How Could Hell Be Any Worse, there's nothing especially great on here. I like Bad Religion and Along the Way, but as is the case with their debut album these songs sound much better when adapted live. Otherwise it's just a bunch of hardcore EPs that obviously went way over my head.

SUFFER (5/5)
I love the hell out of this. The first album in the band's classic album trilogy has 15 songs that more or less sound the same, but flawlessly do so at the same time. Best for You is among the catchiest work they've ever done. Suffer is among the absolute highlights of their live set. Do What You Want is ridiculously fast on an album full of already ridiculously fast songs, and Pessimistic Lines is a nice and simple track to bow out on. There aren't many times you feel you've gotten your money's worth when an album clocks in under half an hour, however this is one of them. Short, fast, loud and fun.

NO CONTROL (5/5)
A great and equally flawless follow-up to Suffer. Not every track here is a classic like the previous, though the greatest trackers here are greater than those on Suffer. While the second album in the classic Bad Religion album trilogy isn't as short or fast the songs for the most part clock in around the same length. No Control, You and I Want to Conquer the World are among my favourite ever Bad Religion songs, probably somewhere up the top of my top ten. Sanity borrows its riff from Drastic Actions, one of the tracks from the band's very early years, and makes a much better song out of it. Once more the album doesn't have any sub-standard tracks, just ones that aren't as epic as the epic ones. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to name my absolute favourite album by the band, but this would definitely rank among the top three at least.

AGAINST THE GRAIN (5/5)
A solid example of the classic Bad Religion that I love so much. This album is one of what is regarded to be the Bad Religion Trilogy, as it came a year after No Control, which in itself came a year after Suffer, and all three are possibly the band's most critically and universally acclaimed albums. Against the Grain is heavy with all the things that make Bad Religion such a great band - their challenging lyrics, catchy melodies and vocal harmonies just to name a few. Many classic BR tracks can be found here - album openers Modern Man and Turn on the Light, Anesthesia, Faith Alone, Operation Rescue and God Song all being prime examples. Even the original version of 21st Century Digital Boy, which was later on genetically redone for a later album, is a promising feat here. The only track that notably can't stand up among the rest is Misery and Famine. Other than that, Against the Grain flows perfectly and is without fault.

GENERATOR (3/5)
Even in the classic era with the classic line-up not every Bad Religion album is a classic by any standards. Generator may have spawned one of the band's most well known and popular songs in the form of the title track, however the whole of this album seems to lack any sort of punch or excitement. Fortunately many of the songs here translate much better when played live, eg Tomorrow, Atomic Garden and No Direction. Aside from the songs already mentioned, most of the rest of Generator is filler. Not a bad album, but incredibly average by Bad Religion standards.

RECIPE FOR HATE (3/5)
Wasn't much of a fan on the first listen, however it definitely seems better than I originally thought on the second. The title track is as strong an opener as you'd find on any other of the band's albums, and though I've listened to American Jesus to the point where I can barely stand to hear it anymore this too is a great song. Recipe for Hate is a much more experimental album than Bad Religion had done in the past (save Into the Unknown of course), and while they remain true to their roots they also shake things up a bit. Most of what results from this however is pretty dull. Portrait of Authority and Man With a Mission are two of the slower tracks on here and neither of these are really worth any particular praise. Struck a Nerve, one of the fan favourites on here that that they continue to play live, but it's nothing stellar. It's what I consider to be perhaps Bad Religion's most overrated track, by their fans at least. Overall it's got some good stuff, weighed down by some incredibly average stuff.

STRANGER THAN FICTION (4/5)
This is the first Bad Religion album I got, and probably the one I change my mind the most on. I'd say this is roughly the Bad Religion equivalent of Americana - it was poppier and much more popular than the band's previous releases, so of course it was unfairly hated by the true punx (ahem, fans). I grew out of this around the time I got the classic BR albums that I love so much, but revisiting it now I can appreciate Stranger Than Fiction for What It Is (pun intended). I've never been a big fan of Slumber; I've always thought it sounded somewhat forced compared to most of their other lighter stuff, as if they just stuck it on after becoming worried the tracks were sounding too samey. I'm also not big on the remake of 21st Century Digital Boy, the original version was better. Other than that it's a solid album, with some of the greater tracks including Tiny Voices, Infected, Incomplete and Leave Mine to Me.

Autonomist
11-10-2007, 05:31 AM
THE GRAY RACE (5/5)
I've never understood why this is so often placed into the same category as The New America and No Substance (apart from the fact that there's no Brett Gurewitz obviously). I think this is not only much much better than those two albums, but hands down it has some of the greatest songs of Bad Religion's entire lifespan. A Walk is the catchiest thing ever, and since I first heard it back whenever that was it's been permanently stuck in my head. The same thing can be said for Punk Rock Song, which I've listened to so many times now that I know it word for word. Ten in 2010 is another five star effort, with one of the best lead-ins I've ever heard. Lastly, The Gray Race definitely has the best finishing tracks of any Bad Religion album, in the forms of Come Join Us and Cease. Every one of the songs mentioned above is five star worthy, and rank among the top 10 of my favourite ever Bad Religion songs. Some of the other stuff may be slightly forgettable in comparison, but there's nothing you really need to avoid here. That's why I love The Gray Race.

NO SUBSTANCE (2/5)
The start of No Substance is acceptable enough with Hear It, not a particularly memorable track but nothing cringe worthy. All that comes later. Raise Your Voice may perhaps be the most enjoyable track featured on the album, however even that couldn't stand up amongst most of their other stuff. Sowing the Seeds of Utopia is an incredibly weak track, and The State of the Millennium Address is a preachy experiment that really doesn't pay off. Overall it's a disappointment of an album, with the strongest tracks being just alright and the weakest being beyond laughable (Mediocre Minds, Victims of the Revolution, The Voracious March of Godliness just for the title alone). At the very least, the album delivers what it promises.

THE NEW AMERICA (1.5/5)
I'm unsure as to whether or not this is better or worse than No Substance. The opening of the album is equally as bland and forgettable, however it definitely seems like a step in the right direction at least. Melodies and hooks are much more evident here than on No Substance, however they still aren't Bad Religion quality. Some of the songs reek of effort (1000 Memories) and again we have laughable tracks not worthy of being included as B-Sides (A Streetkid Named Desire for the complete lack of any sort of hook, Believe It). Though as a whole it's probably a little stronger than No Substance, I'm gonna say this is the worst of all Bad Religion albums simply for the inclusion of I Love My Computer, which is one of the most godawful embarrassing songs I've ever heard.

THE PROCESS OF BELIEF (3.5/5)
Brett Gurewitz is back, and The Process of Belief is definitely a step in the right direction after a horrible pair of albums. It's not perfect by any stretch, but it's fairly consistent at least. Supersonic is a solid opener and like many other of the band's songs over the years this too has become a concert hallmark. Kyoto Now is the vintage should-of-been-a-single track featured here, however as good as it is it definitely feels like Bad Religion were trying a bit too hard to replicate some of their previous work. Hands down I'd say the best tracks here are the slower ones - Sorrow is one of the band's strongest singles from their later years, and Epiphany is an underrated gem that also most definitely should've been commercially released. Songs like The Defence and Destined for Nothing might not change your life, but it's encouraging to at hear Bad Religion doing something right once again. The only track you really need to be weary of here is Broken. Other than that a decent album and a promising sign of better things to come.

THE EMPIRE STRIKES FIRST (5/5)
The thing I realised immediately upon re-listening to this album for the first time in a while is that it's much better than I originally gave it credit for. The songs are for the most part short and sweet, and have an incredibly anthemic feel to them. Rather than a couple of standout tracks, The Empire Strikes First has more in common with Against the Grain than any other BR albums in that the bulk of songs are stellar and flow together very smoothly. The pace slows down a bit towards the end, however overall the quality is good enough that nothing negative merits a mention. A solid, melodic, enjoyable album.

NEW MAPS OF HELL (3.5/5)
The most recent, and therefore the hardest to review. After listening to it over quite a few times I think it definitely incorporates elements from many of Bad Religion's previous albums, a modernised version of No Control in particular. This is particularly evident in the opening tracks 52 Seconds and Heroes & Martyrs, one of the strongest songs featured on the album. There's nothing here particularly groundbreaking, but the majority of the tracks are solid and enjoyable. I think it's a remarkable feat that they're still making albums worth listening to in 2007 - how many other bands can you name off the top of your head who've just put out their great 14th album? The standout tracks include those already mentioned plus New Dark Ages, Requiem for Dissent, Dearly Beloved, Scrutiny and Prodigal Son.

German Andres
11-11-2007, 08:52 AM
Pretty much agree with what you said, I`m not a huge fan of the band, but I really like them. The best album in my opinion is Back to the Known. I kinda like I love my Computer...I find it a funny song.. :D

BREAK
11-14-2007, 06:20 PM
Suffer and Against the Grain are God and Jesus Christ, respectively. The rest of the albums I've heard by them (Grey Race, Process of Belief, Stranger Than) have all been below average. Beginners should just get All Ages and forget this band ever existed. I have.

0r4ng3
11-14-2007, 07:24 PM
You should also hear No Control. That one evens out the Trilogy quite well.

BREAK
11-14-2007, 08:40 PM
The Holy Ghost? Upload it for me in the sharing thread.

AnimalBoy
12-09-2007, 04:33 PM
hey, like your review, however, I can't give less than 5 stars to any of BR's albums, I love them very much at the point that there's not a single thing they've released that hasn't blown my head off


there's a live version of I Love My Computer where they didn't play with that "computer sound" in the backround and even though I like the studio version I think that was the way they should have recorded it.

Ninty Man
12-11-2007, 06:38 PM
DUH???

Why everyone hates No Substance and New America???

Well... I used to hate No substance, but now I find it GREAT!... but the bitches wanted brett " I HATE OFFSPRING FOR MAKING ME RICH" Gurewitz.
BLEH!

No susbtance FOR ME has like 3 filler songs: voracious march of godliness, victims of the revolution and at the mercy of imbeciles. Everything else is quite great. And hear it IS ONE OF THE GREATEST BAD RELIGION SONGS EVER!!!! such shades of truth and In so may ways.
New America...MMM... I will recognize is overproduced, and I think that the problem is that the producer wanna make sound Graffin like the ultimate bad ass singer. But in the other hand, I really love this album:

You've got a chance is fucking awesome
NEw America song is a GREAT lyrics work
Let it burn and don't sell me short are a great finish for this album
A world with out melody is so GOOD!
A streetkid named desire is awesome, funny and clever.

MMM... And... HATE ME MORE:

I think that suffer and no control are WAY TOO OVERRATED. I mean, they're good... as good as How could hell be any worse is. Pretty good damn songs but with the lack of fillers such as: 1000 fools, what can you do, sometimes it feels like, progress, etc.

I know is your opinion dude, but hey, I wanna share mine too. And for me, the best BR records are:

Against the grain, generator, Stranger than fiction, No substance, New America, New Maps of hell (yeah, I love those albums)

Pretty good: Empire strikes first, process of belief, gray race

Good enough: (which means, even I don't listen THE WHOLE STUFF of these, I like them enough and listen them constantly) Recipe for hate, No control, Suffer, how could hell be any worse.

The one I hate: into the unknown.

80-85 is a compilation of the early years, and now is in remasters as: How could hell be any worse

cool 2 hate 681
12-11-2007, 07:39 PM
great br reviews man i enjoyed them

also i am the only one who likes recipe for hate the best?

these are my favorite br albums in order

1 recipe for hate
2 the empire strikes first
3 new maps of hell
4 the gray race
5 no control
6 the process of belief
7 against the grain
8 stranger than fiction
9 suffer
10 generator
11 no substance
12 into the unknown
13 80-85
14 how could hell be any worse?
15 the new america

Llamas
12-12-2007, 12:49 AM
The only BR albums I really have listened to enough to give an opinion on are as follows:

Stranger Than Fiction, which is my favorite. I love this album, and my favorite song by them in on here (Infected).

New Maps of Hell is my second favorite.

The New America I don't like. There are like two good songs on here. It really bores me, and I regret buying it.

I have more albums of theirs, but haven't really given them enough listens to have a solid opinion. The problem for me with BR is that all their stuff sounds too darn similar, and it makes it hard for me to distinguish each album even though I've heard them all several times. Also, since they don't sound very different from album to album, I get bored listening to other albums, because I feel like I've heard all their ideas before on the albums I already know.

JohnnyNemesis
12-12-2007, 12:57 AM
Mediocre Minds

One of the absolute worst pieces of trash in the history of punk/punk-pop music/civilization. Seriously.

The Same Person and In So Many Ways redeem the disappointing "No Substance" album. Still a weak album, but those two songs are extremely good and a great way to end the album and remind us that they were once great.


THE NEW AMERICA (1.5/5)
I'm unsure as to whether or not this is better or worse than No Substance.

Not only is it worse than No Substance, it's worse than most albums put out by any band anywhere.

Short_Attention_Span
12-12-2007, 12:55 PM
^Add "1000 More Fools" to that and I think we might be getting somewhere. I hate that song.

Personally, I like Empire Strikes First the best, but that's probably because that was the first album of theirs that I got. Stranger Than Fiction comes in a really close second... I've also been listening to New Maps of Hell quite a bit lately. I think it's grown on me.

New America does not even exist as far as I'm concerned. It's just... so bad. And I rarely say that about any band or album.
________
Lovely Wendie (http://www.lovelywendie99.com/)

Ninty Man
12-12-2007, 05:09 PM
^Add "1000 More Fools" to that and I think we might be getting somewhere. I hate that song.

Personally, I like Empire Strikes First the best, but that's probably because that was the first album of theirs that I got. Stranger Than Fiction comes in a really close second... I've also been listening to New Maps of Hell quite a bit lately. I think it's grown on me.

New America does not even exist as far as I'm concerned. It's just... so bad. And I rarely say that about any band or album.

It exists... and it rocksXD

Alex101
09-09-2009, 08:50 PM
also i am the only one who likes recipe for hate the best?
No, you're not the only one who likes Recipe for Hate the best. It's one of my favorite BR albums.

Autonomist
09-10-2009, 12:46 AM
:( Why bump this? I don't wanna read those horribly illiterate reviews I wrote when I was 16.

I am however seeing Bad Religion again at the end of the month. Maybe I should rewrite them all!

RODNEYMULLEN
10-12-2009, 09:36 PM
Check this out. The drummer is Brooks Wackerman.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfzFxxJBJ8E