bad religion - the empire strikes first

Bad Religion: The Empire Strikes First (2004)

It’s a sad reality that turbulent times feed art like little else.  Whether it’s internally generated or a product of the outside world, art seems to thrive and feel more vibrant when it’s railing against the tyranny of the negative.  Enter Album #13 from Bad Religion, the so good I didn’t realize how good it was at the time it came out The Empire Strikes First.  With the horror of the Bush years as fodder, the band makes the most rock and roll album of their career, and it’s brutally good.  Continue reading “Bad Religion: The Empire Strikes First (2004)”

bad religion - the process of belief

Bad Religion: The Process of Belief (2002)

You might consider the years 1996-2000 the lean ones for Bad Religion.  After the rousing success of Stranger Than Fiction for Atlantic the band, now without Brett Gurewitz, had to rely on Greg Graffin for the vast majority of the songwriting.  And so The Grey Race, No Substance, and The New America merged together into a slightly unfocused, softer and more radio accessible (though they got practically no radio play) period for the band.  Strange to say it, but the key to the band’s invigoration was easy: go back to the way things were.  And so Brett Gurewitz returned, the band went back to Epitaph, and The Process of Belief came to blow everyone’s doors down.  Continue reading “Bad Religion: The Process of Belief (2002)”

bad religion - all ages

Bad Religion: All Ages (1995)

So even though Bad Religion left for the exotic lands of major labels, Epitaph still had the rights to the early album and thus All Ages was born.  If you needed any proof as to the power of a band to righteously rock you with pulverizing riffs and sweet, sweet harmonized choruses, you need look no further.  From the very beginning Bad religion could seamlessly blend melody, power, and an erudite lyrical bent that was progressive and wise and clever and I might as well overuse righteous because, was all that and more. Continue reading “Bad Religion: All Ages (1995)”

bad religion - stranger than fiction

Bad Religion: Stranger Than Fiction (1994)

I don’t mean to be so brief with a band that’s had such a profound impact on me, but that’s life, and to be fair you don’t need me to tell you how great Bad Religion is.  But where we might differ is in how great Stranger Than Fiction is, considering it’s their first album for a major label (Atlantic) after moving off of Epitaph.  It was also coincidentally their last album with Brett Gurewitz, who happens to be the founder of Epitaph. All this drama wonderfully comes together in one of the band’s most cohesive and catchy that still manages to be everything you’d want from a Bad Religion album.  Continue reading “Bad Religion: Stranger Than Fiction (1994)”

bad religion - recipe for hate

Bad Religion: Recipe for Hate (1993)

Bad Religion was a college revelation for me, and Recipe For Hate was the ground zero for that revelation.  The combination of air-tight riffing, incredible vocal hooks and harmonies have not ben equalled in the punk world to this day, and as we’ll see over the next few albums (it’s gonna be Bad Religion all week here), even when the album overall isn’t a classic there are still enough classics to make it worthwhile. Continue reading “Bad Religion: Recipe for Hate (1993)”

angry samoans - the unboxed set

Angry Samoans: The Unboxed Set (1995)

Back in 1993 I got this amazing hardcore punk compilation called Faster & Louder.  It was my first introduction to a larger world than I knew from the Dead Kennedys and Minor Threat.  Bands like The Dicks, SSD, Mission of Burma and D.O.A. blew my mind, but it was the 52 second blast of “Lights Out” from the Angry Samoans that really struck my young brain’s fancy.  For years that was all I knew of the band, but that changed with The Unboxed Set, which collects all of the band’s 12′ release onto one compact disc.  Continue reading “Angry Samoans: The Unboxed Set (1995)”