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Bad Religion



Out of all of the Southern California hardcore punk bands of the early '80s, Bad Religion stayed around the longest -- frontman Greg Graffin has remained the group's sole constant member. For nearly four decades, they have retained their underground credibility without turning out a series of indistinguishable records that all sound the same. Instead, the band refined its attack, adding inflections of psychedelia, heavy metal, and hard rock along the way, as well as a considerable dose of melody. Between their 1982 debut, their first major-label record, 1993's Recipe for Hate, and 2019's politically charged Age of Unreason, Bad Religion stayed vital in the hardcore community by tightening their musical execution and keeping their lyrics complex and righteously angry. Bad Religion formed in the northern suburbs of Los Angeles in 1980, comprising guitarist Brett Gurewitz, vocalist Greg Graffin, bassist Jay Bentley, and drummer Jay Ziskrout. Gurewitz established his own record company, Epitaph, to release the band's records. Between their self-titled EP and their first full-length record, Pete Finestone replaced Ziskrout as the group's drummer. How Could Hell Be Any Worse?, their debut album, was released in 1982 and gained them some attention on the national U.S. hardcore scene. After its release, the group's lineup changed, as bassist Paul Dedona and drummer Davy Goldman joined the group. This lineup produced 1983's Into the Unknown, an album that revealed the group's interest in progressive rock and featured extensive keyboard work; the album and the band's new direction proved highly controversial among Bad Religion's core fans. In the meantime, the band's lineup was undergoing some more shakeups. Gurewitz had to take 1984 off to recover from various substance abuse problems, leaving Graffin as the band's only original member. In addition to Graffin, the 1984 incarnation of the band featured former Circle Jerks guitarist Greg Hetson, bassist Tim Gallegos, and returning drummer Pete Finestone. Bad Religion's next release, the harder, punkier Back to the Known EP, restored faith among the group's devoted fans. After its release, the group went on hiatus for three years. When Bad Religion returned in 1987, the band featured Gurewitz, Graffin, Ziskrout, Hetson, and Finestone. They released Suffer the following year, a record that reestablished the group as prominent players in the U.S. underground punk/hardcore scene. They followed with No Control (1989) and Against the Grain (1990). By the time of their 1993 album, Recipe for Hate, alternative rock had achieved greater visibility in the rock mainstream; in addition, the band's following became one of the largest in American punk. These two factors contributed to Bad Religion signing a major-label contract with Atlantic Records. Recipe for Hate was originally released on Epitaph, but it was soon re-released with the support of Atlantic. The group's first proper major-label album was 1994's Stranger Than Fiction; it was also Gurewitz's last album with the group. Before the release of Stranger Than Fiction, Epitaph had an unexpected hit with the Offspring's Smash, causing Gurewitz to spend more time at the label; reports also indicated that he was displeased with Bad Religion's major-label contract. The group replaced Gurewitz with hardcore veteran Brian Baker (formerly of Minor Threat) for their supporting tour, which proved to be one of their most successful. Bad Religion released their second major-label album, The Gray Race, in early 1996, but it didn't achieve the same results as its predecessors. No Substance followed in 1998, and two years later the band returned with New America, which was produced by Todd Rundgren. Although it featured Bad Religion's best work in years, Atlantic dropped the band, and they returned to Epitaph. In the summer of 2001, Gurewitz rejoined the lineup after a six-year absence, and the group began work on The Process of Belief. The album appeared in February of the following year, and was widely hailed for its recalibration of the Graffin/Gurewitz axis. Bad Religion's next project was the remastering and issuing of their early catalog. The discs began appearing in April 2004 with the release of Generator and How Could Hell Be Any Worse? The former included relevant 7" material from the era, while Hell took the place of 80-85, which had previously accounted for the band's earliest output. Both were fully remastered, as were subsequent reissues of Suffer, No Control, and Against the Grain. Bad Religion then returned in June of that year with The Empire Strikes First, a typically acerbic LP that reflected the surge of anger and defiance in the punk and indie music communities toward the policies of the Bush administration. The powerful New Maps of Hell, released in 2007, continued on the path of discontent and railed at what the band saw as rampant apathy in the face of global crisis. Coinciding with Bad Religion's 30th anniversary in 2009, the bandmembers announced they would be going into the studio to record their 15th studio album. Titled The Dissent of Man, the album was released the following year on Epitaph. Rumors circulated that the group might be disbanding, but Graffin denied that there were any such plans, and in 2013, Bad Religion released True North, as well as a Christmas album, the aptly titled Christmas Songs. February 2016 saw the release of 30 Years Live, a vinyl-only album that featured a cross-section of songs from throughout Bad Religion's career, recorded during their 30th anniversary tour in 2010. In June 2018, the band released their first single in five years, the searing "The Kids Are Alt-Right," and the following year they issued a new studio album, Age of Unreason. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Top Tracks

  1.   Track
  2.   21st Century (Digital Boy)
  3.   Infected
  4.   American Jesus
  5.   Sorrow
  6.   Stranger Than Fiction
  7.   Los Angeles Is Burning
  8.   Let Them Eat War
  9.   A Walk
  10.   I Want to Conquer the World
  11.   Little Drummer Boy
  12.   White Christmas
  13.   No Control
  14.   Fuck Armageddon...This Is Hell
  15.   Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
  16.   Generator
  17.   The Profane Rights of Man
  18.   Portrait of Authority
  19.   Recipe For Hate
  20.   Flat Earth Society
  21.   1000 More Fools
  22.   No Direction
  23.   O Come, O Come Emmanuel
  24.   My Sanity
  25.   New Dark Ages
  26.   Forbidden Beat
  27.   Progress
  28.   Anesthesia
  29.   Heroes and Martyrs
  30.   Do The Paranoid Style
  31.   Incomplete
  32.   Leave Mine to Me
  33.   Chaos From Within
  34.   Do What You Want
  35.   What Can You Do?
  36.   Father Christmas
  37.   God Song
  38.   Atomic Garden
  39.   Suffer
  40.   Modern Man
  41.   Walk Away
  42.   Fuck You
  43.   The Devil in Stitches
  44.   Watch It Die
  45.   Against the Grain
  46.   You Are (The Government)
  47.   Wrong Way Kids
  48.   Honest Goodbye (Album Version)
  49.   Skyscraper
  50.   Punk Rock Song
  51.   The Resist Stance
  52.   Best for You
  53.   Struck a Nerve
  54.   All Fantastic Images
  55.   You
  56.   Hooray for Me...
  57.   Honest Goodbye (Vocal Up)
  58.   Supersonic
  59.   We're Only Gonna Die
  60.   Better Off Dead
  61.   Progess
  62.   Bad Religion
  63.   A Streetkid Named Desire
  64.   Individual
  65.   Operation Rescue
  66.   Faces of Grief
  67.   The Approach
  68.   Angels We Have Heard on High
  69.   Someone to Believe
  70.   I Won't Say Anything
  71.   Queen of the 21st Century
  72.   52 Seconds
  73.   Lost Pilgrim
  74.   Waiting for the Fire
  75.   The Universal Cynic
  76.   Sinister Rouge
  77.   Overture
  78.   Bored and Extremely Dangerous
  79.   Broken
  80.   Oligarchy
  81.   Along the Way
  82.   Leaders and Followers
  83.   Markovian Process
  84.   Automatic Man
  85.   The Biggest Killer in American History
  86.   Ten in 2010
  87.   Them and Us
  88.   The Handshake
  89.   Beyond Electric Dreams
  90.   Unacceptable
  91.   White Trash (Second Generation)
  92.   Atheist Peace
  93.   A World Without Melody
  94.   Before You Die
  95.   Tiny Voices
  96.   What Tomorrow Brings
  97.   Downfall
  98.   Big Black Dog
  99.   Candidate
  100.   End of History
  101.   My Head Is Full of Ghosts
  102.   Popular Consensus
  103.   Vanity
  104.   Hello Cruel World
  105.   It's All Over Now, Baby Blue
  106.   Where the Fun Is
  107.   Turn Your Back on Me
  108.   The Day That the Earth Stalled
  109.   Only Rain
  110.   Meeting of the Minds
  111.   Cyanide
  112.   Avalon
  113.   The Fast Life
  114.   Adam's Atoms
  115.   Germs of Perfection
  116.   Fields of Mars
  117.   The Grand Delusion
  118.   News from the Front
  119.   God's Love
  120.   All There Is
  121.   Live Again (The Fall of Man)
  122.   Boot Stamping on a Human Face Forever
  123.   The Empire Strikes First
  124.   Fertile Crescent
  125.   Who We Are
  126.   You Don't Belong
  127.   The Defense
  128.   Evangeline
  129.   Epiphany
  130.   Materialist
  131.   Destined for Nothing
  132.   Only Entertainment
  133.   Chimaera
  134.   Heaven Is Falling
  135.   Too Much to Ask
  136.   Stealth