Category: Bad Religion

Bad Religion – Into the Unknown

ARTIST: Bad Religion   220px-Brintotheunknown

TITLE:  Into the Unknown




OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Probably none, since they repudiated it almost after release.

LINEUP: Greg Graffin, Brett Gurewitz, Paul Dedona, Davy Goldman

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: What happens when a hardfastrules punk rock band tries to become ELP? This album.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Legendary and conspicuous only by its absence, this nugget from the history of Bad Religion stands out like a bad cliché.

It’s noble, and wise, and just to try to keep one’s sound moving forward. But to go from 0 to a Yes album in 6 months? That’s…that’s a bit abrupt. OK, it’s not a full blown prog album, but to their punk rock fans, it may as well have been. Just the thought of a keyboard on a Bad Religion song made them do the worst thing possible – not go to the shows.

As for the album – I think it’s undercooked. The synth parts overwhelm some of the songs, and while the ambition is there, the songs are not. Neither is the real commitment to this idea and vision. It’s a curio and should be heard as just that.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: As you may know, this never was released on CD and was basically impossible to find after 1984 or so. It was released as part of a huge Bad Religion set, but not as a standalone, and it’s not streaming, either. I found it on YouTube, as a scratchy recording from vinyl. That’s probably the right sound for this.


GRADE: C: It’s not horrible, just misguided.


Bad Religion – How Can Hell Be Any Worse? (80-85)

ARTIST: Bad Religion 220px-Bad_Religion_'80-'85
TITLE: 80-85
YEAR RELEASED: Compilation
SINGLES: None, really. It’s their first LP, two EPs and three compilation tracks.
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Well, if you’re into Bad Religion you got this. 220px-BadReligionHowCouldHellBeAnyWorse
LINEUP: Greg Graffin, Bret Gurewitz, Greg Hetson, Jay Bentley, Pete Finestone, Jay Ziskrout, Tim Gallegos
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The first releases from the seminal LA punk rock band which set the bedrock for all American punk rock from 1980 to the present day. It conveniently forgets their 1983 album.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Ok, this record is now part of their album How Could Hell Be Any Worse as a big deluxe version of that album. HOWEVER, it was first released as 80-85 and by lumping it into that 1982 release the other EPs (1981’s Bad Religion and 1985’s Back to the Known) don’t get a fair shake.

That being said, early Bad Religion (again, forgetting the 1983 album ever existed) was definitely loudfastrules punk rock. Yet, you can hear the first inklings of the melodies that Bad Religion would bring to the genre and some of the complex changes in structure and time that other punk bands couldn’t grip. No harmonies until the 1985 EP. Bad_Religion_-_Bad_Religion_(EP)

Musically, Gurewitz is a power chord monster, and Bentley’s bass carries a lot of the changes with his loping bass work. Graffin adds some piano flourishes that you can pick out if you’re listening carefully. The only negative for punk rockers is that by combining those releases and their appearance in the Public Service compilation, you get three versions of “Bad Religion” and two each for “Slaves” and “Drastic Actions”.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: During the recording of How Could Hell Be Any Worse, drummer Jay Ziskrout walked out, and the roadie Pete Finestone took over and finished the album. Also, Gallegos was the bass player for the Back to the Known sessions, as Bentley left the band when Graffin and Gurewitz changed directions for 18 months or so. 220px-Back_to_the_Known_cover


GRADE: B+: It’s an essential document of LA punk but the duplication of tracks can be an issue for some.