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Rock - Released January 18, 2013 | Epitaph

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Ambient/New Age - Released October 25, 2013 | Epitaph

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Upon seeing a Bad Religion album titled Christmas Songs, the instinctive reaction would be to assume the band was releasing an album meant to skewer the holiday and the evil corporations that profit from its commercialization. Instead, the album is exactly what it appears to be, with the legendary punk band delivering high energy yet faithful renditions of Christmas classics like "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing," "Little Drummer Boy," and "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen." Rather than subverting culture, the band goes one step further, subverting the expectations of listeners by performing the songs without irony. Most surprising, however, is how well these songs work with Bad Religion's driving and melodic style and Greg Graffin's distinctive voice, showing that these songs' ability to endure for so long might have more to do with their solid songwriting than with the machinations of any church or corporate entity. ~ Gregory Heaney
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Alternative & Indie - Released May 3, 2019 | Epitaph

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The West Coast punk legends' 17th studio effort and first full-length outing since 2013's True North, Age of Unreason couldn't have arrived at a more divisive time, which suits Bad Religion's particular brand of melodious socio-political punk just fine. If the one-off single that preceded it -- "The Kids Are Alt-Right" -- is any indication, Greg Graffin and company are more than up to the challenge of speaking truth to power, which they do with equal parts earnestness and apoplexy. True to form, Age of Unreason commences with a snare roll and a pick slide -- the latter move is featured so frequently that it deserves an instrument credit. The aptly named "Chaos from Within" pulls no punches -- "The Fox-stained leaves of civilization depict a stark repeat" -- delivering a taut minute-and-50-seconds' worth of melody-forward emotional discord. "Do the Paranoid Style" follows suit, sardonically casting the current zeitgeist as a hip dance like The Jerk or The Hustle, but the kinetic "Faces of Grief" and the equally propulsive title cut offer up the faintest glimmers of hope; hastily strung together beacons on the eve of a climactic battle. Produced with the considerable snap of Grammy-winner Carlos de la Garza (Ziggy Marley, Paramore), songs like "Big Black Dog," with its disco swagger, and the soaring "End of History," which somehow finds a way to successfully meld melody lines from Cheap Trick's "Southern Girls" and Aerosmith's "Dream On," resonate on a visceral level. Graffin remains a potent evangelist of the punk idiom, and while there's nothing on Age of Unreason that would sound out of place on anything that came before it, the band's commitment to keeping the genre vital, both musically and lyrically, feels as necessary as it does timely. ~ James Christopher Monger
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Rock - Released March 9, 2018 | Epitaph

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Rock - Released July 26, 2005 | Epitaph

The third in a flurry of releases that followed Bad Religion's 1988 reunion, Against the Grain found the band's edge honed sharper than it had been in years. Epitaph's 2004 remaster respects this. Increased clarity between mouthpiece Greg Graffin, guitarists Brett Gurewitz and Greg Hetson, and the rhythm section of Jay Bentley and Pete Finestone increases the inherent melodic tension and amplifies Graffin's righteous lyrical anger. "My path renewed/Against the grain/That's where I'll stay" -- for many, Graffin's resolve over Grain's martial pace was a restatement of purpose, a refueling of belief in the punk and hardcore ethos as a new decade dawned. "21st Century (Digital Boy)" was a throaty, gritty, gang-vocal anthem that name-checked No Control and bitterly dismantled middle-class complacency in the technology era. One of Graffin/Gurewitz's pet themes, it also guided cuts like the rapid-fire opener, "Modern Man" ("I'm a cyborg just like you"), and the acerbic anti-greed rant "Quality or Quantity." Bad Religion had always warned against the excesses of the future and the assimilation of individuality. But the gospel cut deeper with Against the Grain. Songs began in an instant, with the single crack of a snare drum signaling the beginning of another screed. The guitars came in, twining between fiery leads and urgent, sometimes hyper chording -- the album seemed like a signal fire to the lost tribes of hardcore. Its best moment might be "Turn On the Light." As a thick, trademark Bad Religion melody rips in the background, Graffin spits out lyrics that define ideology with literate pacing, even as they ignite the genre's base emotions. "I'll construct a rack of tempered beams and trusses and equip it with a million tiny suns," Graffin sings. "...and I'll burn like a Roman f*cking candle." ~ Johnny Loftus
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Rock - Released October 1, 2004 | Epitaph

The first record in three years is the fastest thing they've ever done -- even faster than 1982's How Can Hell Be Any Worse? With the exception of "Best for You" and "What Can You Do?," the other 13 songs are in the same super-speedy tempo, which is too bad, and at least four times on this record they're ripping themselves off, stealing riffs from their previous work. And you know what? This is still such a terrific LP none of that matters. Perhaps since so many of the songs are so dead similar, at first it's hard to tell them apart, but after a couple of plays that's no longer the case. And if you do play it once, you'll no doubt play it another 20 times, just to hear Greg Graffin sing. "You Are (The Government)" ends in one of his great held lines, "And I make a difference too." On "When," he hits five notes just singing this one word, and the last time he sings the word "suffer" on the title track, he holds it for eight snare hits, a great descending trill. None of this makes any sense to you, so you'll have to buy it to understand -- an unbeatable punk/hardcore singer on top of the most melodic, riff-ridden hardcore band going now. And those lyrics: "The masses are obsequious contented in their sleep/The vortex of their minds contented in the murky deep" ("1000 More Fools"), "Production and consumption define our hollow lives...When will mankind finally come to realize this surfeit has become his demise...Tell me is there anything so sure/Rapacity, tenacity, capacity for more!" ("How Much Is Enough?"). Graffin admits on "Pessimistic Lines" that he's a full-time skeptic, but in this "sick society" (as Martin Luther King called it upon hearing of the murder of John F. Kennedy), that's a rational position, and frankly, the lyric sheet is worth the money, much less the music and singing. Buy it if you like hard fast rock & roll in general. Comeback LP of 1988? ~ Jack Rabid, The Big Takeover
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Rock - Released August 2, 2005 | Epitaph

Suffer had already wound the meter on Bad Religion's Cali hardcore even tighter -- No Control simply and forcefully continued the shift, delivering a pummel of melodic songwriting made sharp by Greg Graffin's populist cynicism and the stinging barbs of a twin-guitar strike. The remastering for the 2004 version greatly amplified the album's volume. It might also strip away some reverb from the instrumentation, but the latter observation is mostly theoretical, as the later No Control really just sounds louder. This is welcome, as it makes the band sound that much more direct on principal cuts like "I Want to Conquer the World," "Automatic Man," the aggressive title track, and "Progress." ~ Johnny Loftus
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Rock - Released July 26, 2005 | Epitaph

Based on only one or two listens to The Process of Belief, one would be tempted to retitle it The Process of Backsliding. It's like a batch of outtakes from their 1988 comeback LP, Suffer, or the amazing juggernauts that followed, No Control and Against the Grain. But successive immersions into the new LP's brute, lashing power and wild honey melodies disarms such critical impulses as efficiently as a martial arts master. Regression rarely feels this fresh or this welcome. For anyone who forgot how much had been absent without Brett Gurewitz, The Process of Belief radiates his singular seasoning in technicolor. First, with him back in the fold, Greg Graffin need only compose seven ace songs instead of 14 like the previous three LPs. A higher quality control results, as well as the rediscovered compliment of Gurewitz's searing tunes with Graffin's pop hooks. One also notes the lustrous sound of Gurewitz's backing vocals, once again meshed with Graffin's in the kind of familiar near-perfection that has signaled the best harmony teams: a sound so pleasing and comfortable it drives the chorus melodies and the "ooohs and ahhhs" much deeper, like a stake into the heart. Third is the more clearly-pointed edge of the band's attack, clearly captured by Gurewitz's bursting production. And once one gets used to the late-'80s feel and chalks it up to a pardonable retrench, there isn't a bad moment in The Process' 37 minutes. No sooner does one "supersonic" hook subside than another -- like the frantic, frenetic, kinetic "Prove It" -- relieves it. The old dog didn't need any new tricks, it just needed to race like a real greyhound again. The Process of Belief earns its hopeful title, and it's a short process towards complete and utter conviction. ~ Jack Rabid
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Rock - Released June 20, 2018 | Epitaph

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Alternative & Indie - Released October 1, 2004 | Epitaph

Punk veterans Bad Religion don't rely on bankrupt laurels, nostalgia, or a facade of long-expired cool. LP after LP, they just set vicious hooks, a blitzkrieg attack, and potent lyrics to soaring singer Greg Graffin's piledriving passion. It's easy to take them for granted, to view Recipe as just another red-hot LP (ho hum) by the last and best band to survive the '80s L.A. punk explosion. And on first listen, it's tarnished by their previous mild malaise: everything sounds alike, and some exit the boat here too quickly. But then the beautiful sonic smack starts to sink in, and the luxurious melodies introduce erudite parables. Their hometown's riots inspired the gut responses of "Recipe for Hate" and "Don't Pray On Me" ("everybody's equal, just don't measure it"), but they think too clearly to grandstand. Rather, from the epic, anti-military sneer of "All Good Soldiers" to the introspective nausea of "Struck a Nerve" and "Looking In" ("our evolution is our demise"), Bad Religion issue more warnings about our unquestioned ways than Rachel Carson or Michael Crichton could shake a stick at. Warning who? Die-hard punks remain their core audience, but with the co-optation of that carcass into mainstream nirvana, this band is ambushing the slackers. Accordingly, they ripened out of the rapid-fire detonations of 1988's Suffer, 1989's No Control, and 1990's Against the Grain into 1992's more methodical Generator. Recipe's saner speeds and better variety should further inveigle any upstanding gormandizer of killer tunes and dive-bomb chord changes. And in any real taste test, Bad Religion is the alternative to alternative. Smug, silly, ironic '70s retro bands feign danger and detachment, but this band's urgency, lyrical contentiousness, and wicked crunch crush that au courant crap flat. ~ Jack Rabid
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Alternative & Indie - Released August 19, 2008 | Epitaph

It's a testament to a band that their weakest work is still this great. There's no question that the loss of guitarist Brett Gurewitz hurts the band. Gurewitz had a hot, edgy sound, and wrote half the songs, including all four singles off 1994's stunning Stranger Than Fiction. Losing such an awesome talent would cripple most groups. Fortunately, the other writer, extraordinary vocalist Greg Graffin, remains. He too has penned so many of Bad Religion's most memorable songs, and one can now add a bunch from Gray Race to this list. Moreover, this LP shows why it's an enormous relief this band survives and still prospers -- there's no better punk rock band in the world. Not even close. No one else can mix such high octane tunefulness, the most thought-provoking lyric sheet around, and Graffin's still ungodly, powerful voice. Hell, does anyone in America deliver better harmonies than this bunch? No! The standouts are the mid-tempo chuggers -- "Pity the Dead" is so catchy it hurts, with a knockdown bridge that stops the heart as Graffin strains for a dramatic high note. Likewise, "Spirit Shine" and the radio hit "A Walk" show the kind of melodic gifts a band should have to beg Lucifer for. The only reason Gray Race is even remotely weaker than their other LPs is because sympathetic producer Ric Ocasek (the Cars) smoothes out the firepower a tad. As well, without Gurewitz's half, a couple of songs seem so-so by past standards, and there's less variety. But make no mistake, Gray Race is one of the finest LPs any American band released in 1996; may they make records 'til the title of this LP refers to their hair. ~ Jack Rabid
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Rock - Released November 12, 2018 | Epitaph

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Rock - Released October 1, 2004 | Epitaph

Another title for All Ages might be "The Best of Bad Religion Before Recipe for Hate." Which makes sense: Since the band's last two LPs, Recipe and Stranger Than Fiction, are owned and distributed by Atlantic, this is a great overview of the band's prior six albums for those who only got into the band since the major label got involved. Here's another good title Epitaph could have considered: "Embarrassment of Riches." Though it encompasses 23 pretty frickin' amazing, tuneful, punk/hardcore smashers, off the top of the head, one could check off dozens of others that deserved inclusion. What's here is as breathtaking as punk has gotten after 1985, thanks to Greg Graffin's insistence on clearly enunciated pop vocals, complete with soaring harmonies, and considering these as important as playing hard, fast, and mean (not to mention the lyrics that betray the sizable brains of the two writers, Graffin and guitarist Brett Gurewitz). Unhappily, there are no tracks from the 1985 Back to the Known EP, there are only two from the 1982 debut, How Could Hell Be Any Worse?, and of course, asking for any selections from the band-disowned 1983 second LP, Into the Unknown, is like asking Scrooge for a sick-day. Nevertheless, the net result is that All Ages is more or less Bad Religion from Suffer (1988) through Generator (1992), but that's when the band first peaked anyway, with material so incredible it would seem like justice if everyone who bought a Green Day or Offspring LP the previous year (decent as those LPs are) were forced to return them for this older, wiser, tons-better best-of. ~ Jack Rabid
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Alternative & Indie - Released August 19, 2008 | Epitaph

Todd Rundgren may seem like an odd choice of producer for Bad Religion, but as The New America illustrates, it was an inspired, even necessary, one for the veteran Californian punkers. Bad Religion painted themselves into a corner in the late '90s, adhering to the literate, hard-driving punk that marked their indie releases. That may have kept them pure, but as they grew older, they wound up repeating many of their musical ideas, while losing some of their focus. Rundgren blends his talents as a pop maverick and a vital hard rock producer on The New America, pushing Bad Religion to strengthen their melodies and hooks without losing their edge. Of course, if the record was just production, it would fall flat, but Bad Religion seems eager to embrace the challenge of making their tightest, tuneful record yet. Maybe some longtime fans will cringe at the big, powerful sound, the backing harmonies, or the catchy melodies, but these were all present on previous Bad Religion releases -- here, they're just presented with more focus. The focus, the careful production, and the group's solid, well-constructed songs result in one of the group's strongest records, while illustrating that the group can indeed grow old gracefully. And that's the most remarkable thing about The New America -- it is clearly the work of a band that's been around for nearly 20 years, but the experience hasn't worn them down, it's strengthened them. They've stayed true to their original vision while expanding its boundaries, which is something many veteran bands, regardless of genre, just can't do. Some credit may go to Rundgren, but the achievement really is Bad Religion's, not his. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released July 26, 2005 | Epitaph

In 2004, Bad Religion supplemented a magazine of reissues with one in the chamber called The Empire Strikes First. Given the state of affairs and activism of peers like NOFX's Fat Mike, it's natural for Greg Graffin, Brett Gurewitz, and company to point their measured seethe and trademark erudition against shady politics and policies of preemptive security. "We strike first and we're unrehearsed/Here we go again to stage the greatest show on heaven and earth," the title track rants. But Bad Religion was never just a catchy name, as "God's Love" illustrates yet again. And society doesn't get a pass, taken to task for ignorance in "Social Suicide" and suffered as the source of Graffin's profound cynicism in "To Another Abyss." So the band's as indignant as ever, and that's important. The punk-pop kids in the drive-thru and hanging out at half-pipes need to see the graybeards bringing the big issue pain train. But it helps if those issues are bound to strong melodies, and in this department Bad Religion doesn't disappoint. "Let Them Eat War" features a stinging lead guitar figure and the usual muscular chug; outsider rap poet Sage Francis makes an appearance in the middle. Opener "Overture" is a brooding instrumental, the sound of punk in a neutered Orwell future -- it bursts into a million pieces in the thrusting fists of "Sinister Rouge" and the aforementioned "Suicide." (Empire's lyrics are attended by footnotes -- including Orwell -- à la 1992's Generator.) Those BR harmonies rise and fall behind a pleadingly angry Graffin in "All There Is," and one of the band's three (!) guitarists adds a solo blister. Best might be "Los Angeles Is Burning," not surprisingly inspired by the California wildfires of 2003. "Palm trees are candles in the murder wind/So many lives are on the breeze even the stars are ill at ease" -- the track's as powerfully melodic as it is darn angry. The Empire Strikes First isn't a return to Bad Religion at its most vitriolic and unstoppable -- whether that could ever really happen is unclear, and probably unnecessary. Unnecessary, because Bad Religion is best when standing defiant in the way of whatever hate and shenanigans are currently inhabiting our collective psyche. Their tone doesn't change, but the battles are always changing. Watch out, evildoers -- Bad Religion is in your rear-view, and they're gaining. ~ Johnny Loftus
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Punk / New Wave - Released September 24, 2010 | Epitaph

On Bad Religion's 15th album in 30 years, the stage opens with a sentimental but roused Greg Graffin reminiscing, “Do you remember when we were young?/Adventure had no end/Those were the days, my friend,” to recall the melodic blast of their early years. Still, even die-hard fans recognize the lack of trajectory for the band; the first album ruled, and if you like the mid-career songs, the late songs are pretty much the same. Producer Joe Barresi (Queens of the Stone Age, Tool) attempts to add range with some midtempo pop/rockers like “The Devil in Stitches,” "Won't Somebody," and “Cyanide,” the latter with Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers’ Mike Campbell on slide guitar. In these, guitarist Brett Gurewitz’s songwriting seems more fitting for the Gin Blossoms or Lemonheads than a rapid-fire punk group, but it's a change. Elsewhere, "Only Rain" takes it back to their roots and features some of Bad Religion’s most heady anti-Christian commentary -- which is saying a lot for a band with a crossed-out cross for a family crest. ~ Jason Lymangrover
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Rock - Released July 26, 2005 | Epitaph

Generator demonstrates an improved sense of melody from Greg Graffin, which doesn't mean Bad Religion have abandoned their blistering hardcore inclinations. Instead, the band has managed to incorporate melody within the framework, adding an increased depth to their already provocative songs. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released November 12, 2018 | Epitaph

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Rock - Released March 9, 2018 | Epitaph

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It seems that Bad Religion's eighth LP is a rare case of selling out in reverse. Having signed to the big bad major wolf ("what big teeth you have, Grandma Atlantic"), the bandmembers seem too intent on showing their fans they're not going wimpy, so they turn their back on the advances of Generator and Recipe for Hate in order to bring back the naked aggression. Stranger Than Fiction is back to the go-for-the-jugular stuff, pretending that the wonderful modifications and variety of their recent work never existed -- thus the qualms about this LP. It feels too regressive, a sort of pandering. That said, if they are going to go backwards, I for one am going with them -- there is still no one better at this stuff. The opening "Incomplete" features some of the most intense verse singing by the ever-soaring Greg Graffin, behind a muscular, punishing sound helped by guest guitar from the MC5's Wayne Kramer. Almost as storming in the same vein are philosophical songs such as "Leave Mine to Me," "Individual," "Tiny Voices," and the powerhouse "Marked," all uptempo barnburners, pulverizing in their rapid passion. The biggest gratification, though, is that a few songs do seem more in line with the maturity of the previous two LPs. "Handshake" is the album's summit, thanks to an oven-hot chorus and an outro-coda that has to rank among their ten best moments. "Slumber" is a slower show-stopper, with a pleading barrage of harmony vocals, while the title track builds on Generator's "Atomic Garden" with an unusual Beatles/Jam singsong melody. On the negative side, "Infected" into "Television" are the two least effective songs of their 15 years, the former a third-rate "Sanity," the latter bereft of hooks. In any case, it is not to be missed and it will haunt you in your sleep. ~ Jack Rabid
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Punk / New Wave - Released July 26, 2005 | Epitaph

Listening to Bad Religion's 1982 debut , How Could Hell Be Any Worse?, is like cupping your ear against the garage door of their practice space. Greg Graffin's vocal style isn't fully formed here, nor is his lyrical agenda, but the building blocks are significant and affecting, bigger than piles of collapsed cathedrals. Indeed, "Voice of God Is Government" begins with a caustic caricature of the money-grubbing preacher, who assures that donations will be used to "censor TV and radio, ban questionable books, and contribute to many other Godly services." Snotty punk then crumbles into accelerated, anthemic hardcore. The subtle "We're Only Gonna Die" opens the album; the piano and acoustic guitar midsection is a nice foil for the youthful anger in the vocal and its crackling lead guitar riff, a sound and tone that would only become more refined and powerful with consecutive '80s outings. "Fuck Armageddon...This Is Hell" is another highlight, with its tense, urgent opening instrumental section and Graffin's Southern California-centric rail against throat-choking smog. ~ Johnny Loftus