Posts Tagged ‘Bad Religion’
Thursday, October 14th, 2010
No one has made the lasting impression on the face of punk, hardcore or the “counterculture” itself as Bad Religion. Some 15 albums and 30 years later, they’ve seen four presidential administrations, the internet, the war in the Middle East, another war in the Middle East, cell phones, Netflix, you name it. They’ve also made their best record since 2002’s The Process of Belief, the record where founding guitarist Brett Gurewitz rejoined the fold after a five year hiatus when Bad Religion flirted with the mainstream on Atlantic Records
The Dissent of Man — a play on Darwin’s Descent of Man no doubt courtesy of erudite frontman Greg Graffin – comes out blazing with “The Day The Earth Stalled”. It’s a classic BR opener full of the fire and songwriting flash of guitarist Brett Gurewitz who more than makes up for his non-touring status with his songwriting punch. Brett sets it up and his songwriting foil Graffin carries the ball while guitars buzz and tempos move with locomotive trundle through “Only Rain” — BR’s most anti-Christian screed since, well, “American Jesus” from 1994’s Recipe for Hate.
“The Devil In Stitches” is this year’s model for a KROQ hit. It’s catchy where it needs to be but still remains brainy ‘nuff to be pure Bad Religion. And therein lies the secret of these punk rock heroes’ longevity. They have no problem graffiti-ing their logo on the face of modern music but they aren’t about to lay down and trash their own legacy preferring instead to riff n’ drift just outside mainstream acceptance. Leave that for Good Charlotte, OK? 30 years of doing this have only made them more resolute – maybe mellowing a hair but still relevant to at least a couple generations of BR fans.
Not every song here will make the 30 plus song live set. There are plenty of winners to contend with. “Cyanide”, another mid-tempo “single” clobbers with a magnificent chorus that is pure Gurewitz. Professor Graffin puts the lab-coat back on fo “Ad Hominem” plunges right back into the A-for-Anger-Files while recalling old school classic “Anesthesia”.
I don’t believe that every Bad Religion song has already been written (that’s calling them Motorhead for intellectuals) and everything they have to say has already been said. With most of its members pushing 50 (or thereabouts): Bad Religion 2010 and The Dissent of Man make an excellent case for trusting people over 30. (Epitaph)
Tuesday, August 24th, 2010
APOCALYPTICA streams entire new album.
7th Symphony, the new album from the Finnish rock cello quartet APOCALYPTICA, is available for streaming in its entirety at AOL Music. The CD is scheduled for release on August 24. The majority of the album was produced by Joe Barresi (TOOL, QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, BAD RELIGION), with two other songs produced by Howard Benson (MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE, MOTÖRHEAD, PAPA ROACH).
Just like on their previous album, Worlds Collide, APOCALYPTICA has employed guest vocalists for several tracks on the record. APOCALYPTICA member Eicca Toppinen told The Pulse of Radio that it’s always a challenge to fit the band’s music around each individual singer’s style. “You know, there’s certain challenges, but we also, we always want to see how the vocals fit in that, “he said. “(But) after that, we work on the arrangements and see what else with the cellos we can create around the vocals. But I think with everybody — we’ve been so lucky to work with some great people, so it’s always pretty easy.”
APOCALYPTICA traveled to Los Angeles in early June to shoot a music video for “End Of Me”, the first single from 7th Symphony. The song features BUSH singer Gavin Rossdale on vocals, with Rossdale also making an appearance in the video.
Other guest artists on 7th Symphony include SHINEDOWN frontman Brent Smith, FLYLEAF singer Lacey Mosley, vocalist Joseph Duplantier of French metal act GOJIRA and drummer Dave Lombardo from SLAYER.
7th Symphony track listing:
01. At the Gates of Manala
02. End of Me
03. Not Strong Enough
06. Broken Pieces
07. On the Rooftop With Quasimodo
08. Bring Them To Light
10. Rage of Poseidon
Tuesday, May 11th, 2010
- Black Flag- “Damaged”- Between being Black Flag’s first full length and the addition of Henry Rollins, this is definitely one of the greatest hardcore/ punk albums of all time. Rollins brought the band to a completely different place and was the big push to finally get shit done. Since then ‘Rise Above’ and ‘Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie’ have gotten popular and been covered by numerous artists, but ‘TV Party’ is still my favorite song by these pioneers. “We’re gonna have a TV party tonight, we’re gonna have a TV party alright!”
- Donnybrook!- “Lions in this Game”- This band has been one of my favorites for quite some time now. ‘Down For The Core’ is thee hardcore anthem of my generation. Between an awesome album and even better live shows, Donnybrook! is definitely worth getting in to. They’re one of those bands that you can see their heart is beating for the heavy, which is always awesome to see. “Peel back the flesh and expose my veins. My blood runs thick and that won’t ever change. Love for my family’s strong and here to stay. Down for the core ‘til in my grave I lay.”
- Icepick- “Violent Epiphany”- Jamey Jasta (Hatebreed) and Danny Diablo (Skarhead, Crown of Thornz) have nailed it, you will never see Icepick live considering they’re just a studio project, but it doesn’t matter… they’re as hard as they come. Not to mention ICE T makes an appearance on ’Real Recognizes Real’. LEGIT. Icepick is the epitome of mean, obscene, angry, tough guy hardcore. There will be a new album in 2011 and I cannot wait. “Icepick mother fucker. It’s going down faggots. Run and grab your mother fucking momma’s skirt. This is real. This is Ice T, Body Count bitch. This is as real as your life is gonna get.”
- Reign Supreme- “American Violence EP”- When I saw these guys at Sound and Fury in 2008, I was instantly hooked. I still rock their obnoxiously bright purple and teal shirt that I bought there. They’re definitely more on the punk side then the rest of my favorites, but this band is diverse and talented; their first full-length album, “Testing The Limits Of Infinite” really shows that. However, “American Violence” is where it’s at in terms of the heart of Reign Supreme. “ISCARIOOOOOT”
- E-Town Concrete- “Made for War”- So I rarely like hardcore/ rap fusions because most come out looking like a bunch of tools, but these New Jersey boys are a really great exception. E-Town has the perfect balance of hardcore riffs, nod-your-head hip hop, and lyrics that reflect shit that matters. True to hardcore form, “If you’re not with us you’re against us”.
- Remembering Never- “God Save Us”- First off let me say, Mean Pete Kowalsky can do no wrong for me… xBishopx, Until The End, AND Remembering Never, he fucking rules. Remembering Never is a very political band, but whether or not you share their views, their music is definitely something to get hooked on. Their song ‘Slaughterhouse Blues’ is what turned me to veganism for 3 years because their lyrics made me believe that what they were saying was true and right, the passion is definitely there. “All the work and prayers burn, a waste of sweat and breath. God turns his deaf ear to me, like I’m the one that doesn’t exist.”
- Deez Nuts- “Stay True” – Well, they’re a bunch of raunchy, honest, Australians; hard to get much better than that. It’s such a bummer… every single time I’ve tried to see them they can’t get their fucking work visas for the US, that’s some bullshit. Anyway, these guys talk about the rockstar lifestyle and staying true to yourself. Inexplicably easy, unapologetically obscene, and undeniably hard, this shit is awesome. “You’re nobody. We don’t need you. You were never shit. Your fucking mother should’ve swallowed you.”
- Death Before Dishonor- “Count Me In”- Boston hardcore at its finest. This album is heavier and harder than their other ones, and there are definitely enough powerful gang vocals to go around. DBD is a really good mix of hardcore and punk, they never fail to put me in a ‘fuck you ’mood. “I came to fight. I came to win. Count me in.”
- Terror- “One with the Underdogs”- Terror has become synonymous with hardcore, these guys stay true to their roots and have a lot of fun doing it. The lyrics are straightforward, the music is powerful, and their live shows are insane. They never back down to their ideals or change their style too much. This is straight up, hardcore. “Fuck everything and everybody, hypocrites and all the fakes, leeches and the followers, best to stay out of my way. Out of my face, out of my way.”
- Cockpunch!- “Attack”- So, Cockpunch! may not be the most popular or technical band, but I love them. Straight edge, hilarious, and surprisingly good riffs, these guys are winners in my book. “You! I don’t know you, but I fucking hate you. You just come here to get fucked, I hope you get a disease.”
Honorable Mentions! Cro-Mags, Minor Threat, Suicidal Tendencies, Hatebreed, Throwdown, Earth Crisis, Youth Brigade, Bad Brains, Trapped Under Ice, H2O, Gorilla Biscuits, Bad Religion, 7 Seconds, Sick Of It All, Agnostic Front, Blood For Blood, For The Fallen Dreams, Emmure, Stick to your Guns, The Acacia Strain, Madball, Alpha & Omega, Misery Signals, Touche Amore, and Vanna
Tuesday, May 11th, 2010
- Bad Brains –“The ROIR Cassette” – Zeppelin fused into the Projects in Chocolate City (Washington DC). The Brains were about as “outsider” as you could get. Typical scenario: White America plundering Black Soul. The Brains are responsible for everything that came afterwards. Everything. First time I saw them they blew my world to pieces. MY Led Zeppelin.
- SS Decontrol –’Get It Away”- Guitarist Al “Lethal” Barile & Co. lived two towns over from where I grew up on Boston’s North Shore. Aside from being known as the most powerful band in the land, the mythos that sprung around these Puritanical Bostonians was incredible. The tale was they were so Straight Edge they would walk around their own shows with flashlights and slap beers out of people’s hands. Straight Edge of the most evil proportions. I hated all the jocks and beer-guzzlers in my High School. So did they. And they were willing to dole out punishment.
- Black Flag “’82 Demos” – This one’s a relatively easy bootleg to find of the mighty Flag 5-piece lineup demoing three albums of post-Damaged material. The reason I go with this rather than a full “proper” Flag album is simple: Black Flag was the band that bended and broke the hardcore template early on. Yes, the classic songs were sung by Keith Morris, Ron Reyes and Dez Cadena, but c’mon, Henry was the piece of the puzzle that brought it a whole step up. Catch them here with Hammerin’ Hank, Dez Cadena on 2nd guitar and Chuck Dukowski on bass. This was the band’s best line-up. These very live demo versions simply crush any studio takes you already know. “My War” never sounded so good.
- Minor Threat-“Salad Days” 7”- “The baby has grown ugly, it’s no longer cute,” sang Ian MacKaye. It felt like a whole chapter closing on all of our lives. “Do you remember when? Yeah, so do I…” Minor Threat had already broken up when this was released. It was time to leave it all to someone else.
- Dag Nasty-“Can I Say”-This felt like a rebirth of the hardcore spirit in 1985. When former Minor Threater Brian Baker’s guitar comes charging in “Values Here” and Dave Smalley (ex-DYS) starts yelling, it sounds like hardcore matters again.
- Corrosion of Conformity-“Animosity”-Pepper Keenan had yet to sauté these North Caolinians with his New Orleans special sauce. This is a whole different C.O.C.. Packaged in a colorful Pushead sleeve, C.O.C. anno 1985 was a blindingly powerful trio that started to push hardcore into metallic turf. Mike Dean howled, Reed Mullin bashed and Woody Weatherman made it sound like Tony Iommi was playing at triple speed.
- Cro-Mags –“Age of Quarrel” – Hare Krishnas trippin’ on Motorhead and Bad Brains. This might be the record where hardcore’s paradigm shifted towards metal. “Age of Quarrel” remains as fresh now as it did in 1986. Fronted by one John Joseph and backed by the just as visible bassist Harley Flanangan (who have spent a couple decades now hatin’ on each other), the ‘Mags were truly a band to be afraid of both musically and personally.
- Discharge-“Fight Back” 7” – “Fight the system/Fight Back!” It doesn’t get more straightforward than this. The first word in hardcore compressed into 1:20. You should wake up every day and put this on before pouring milk into your Count Chocula.
- Siege-“Drop Dead” demo-Thankfully, this has been bootlegged, mastered and remastered a zillion times. If ever there was an outcast bunch, Siege were it. Scorned by the Boston hardcore crew, their 7 song demo endures pretty much better than every record from 1983-1984. Yeah, they may have played eight shows but their short lived legacy casts a long shadow. Modern metal, crust and grind are all in Siege’s debt. Legend is that as this tape got passed around the underground by the time it got into the hands of the Napalm Death members-to-be, it sounded so fucked it gave rise to the sound of grind. It still makes me want to kill.
- Samhain-“November Coming Fire” – Glenn Danzig’s last stop before pairing up with Rick Rubin. It may not be as poppy or enduring as the Misfits but it just feels more muscular, sexier and more evil. I still go bananas when I hear “Let The Day Begin”.
Honorable Mentions: Gism-Detestation, Die Kreuzen-Die Kreuzen, Negative Approach-Tied Down, Jerry’s Kids-Is This My World?, Gorilla Biscuits-Start Today, Adolescents-Adolescents, Earth Crisis-Gommorah’s Season Ends, Leeway-Born To Expire, Disfear-Face The Storm, Rites of Spring-Rites of Spring, Rollins Band-Lifetime, 7Seconds-Committed for Life EP, Snapcase-Progression Through Unlearning, Articles of Faith-Give Thanks, Bad Religion-Generator, GBH-City Baby Attacked By Rats, Sick of It All-Blood, Sweat and No Tears.
Friday, April 16th, 2010
SICK OF IT ALL
Based On A True Story (Century Media)
Heralded New York hardcore veterans SICK OF IT ALL return with Based On A True Story. This is a band that helped bridge the gap between hardcore legends like BLACK FLAG, MINOR THREAT, and dare I say the DANZIG led MISFITS (check out Earth A.D.), and modern day stalwarts like HATEBREED. Perhaps SICK OF IT ALL were the catalyst that took that classic hardcore sound, and injected it with additional amounts of RAMONES/BAD RELIGION/MISFITS (there’s that band again) like choruses that is standard in today’s hardcore scene.
There are very few certainties in life, none the less in music. But one thing that hardcore bands are known for is being proud of who they are and what they do. As a result you can almost guarantee that a SICK OF IT ALL album is going to be full of adrenaline charged songs, that either get your head banging, fists pumping, and or your body flying into that pit.
The new album does not disappoint, it starts out with the track “Death Or Jail”, whose opening riff is like a bugle signaling the beginning of the attack. The end of the track consists of a break down that includes the chanting of the album title over and over again. A track that will no doubt fit into their live repertoire with ease. “The Divine” continues the journey, asking us to think, and break through the divine, before moving forward with “Dominated”. This track is reminiscent of early HELMET like riffing, with plenty of chanting, and floor tom. If Will Ferrell did a hardcore skit would he say I need more floor tom instead of cowbell? “A Month Of Sundays” starts out with some chanting right off the bat, this song is easily single material. “Braveheart” is a quick forty six second instrumental, almost a primer for “Bent Outta Shape”, which is pretty straight forward track, and incidentally the shortest song with vocals. “Lowest Common Denominator” or LCD as they chant towards the end of the track has a classic SICK OF IT ALL feel. “Good Cop” is next on deck, this song is also single material, the track could easily find its way into rotation at WSOU or any station similar. Lou Koller’s singing approach on “Lifeline” is very reminiscent of “Step Down” off of Scratch The Surface. It also contains breakdowns similar to HELMET. I’m sure one could argue that it’s the other way around as well, as they’ve been known to dabble in a little hardcore as well. “Waiting For The Day”, and “Long As She’s Standing” follow the radio stylings of some of the other tracks discussed above. The latter does have a “sing along” section that is atypical to the rest of the album. “Watch It Burn”, and “Nobody Rules” are the only track that really do nothing for me, they’re decent tracks, they just doesn’t have anything that stands out. ”Dirty Money” closes the album up, it is the longest track on the album coming in just shy of three minutes. One last shot of adrenaline before wrapping things up.
In no way is SICK OF IT ALL reinventing the wheel here. I’m sure there are people that will say Death Or Jail is more of the same, for a long time fan you aren’t going to hear anything you haven’t before, nor are you expecting to do so. For a new fan of the band this could be a good starting point before going back and delving into their catalogue. Rest assured Based On A True Story has equal amounts of chants, riffage, floor tom, angst, spit and rebellion!
Album Rating: B
VICTOR M. RUIZ