Review: Bad Religion – “The Kids are Alt-Right”

It’s been 5 long years since the last Bad Religion studio album and when you are a rabid fan such as I, that’s quite a wait.

So, this is the taster for the new record – and hey, guess what, there’s a bit of a message not only in the lyrics but in the eloquently crafted video animation – every line of this song and every second of this video is astonishingly smart and true.

Some wank wombat on the youtube channel uttered these words: “I don’t need to know a band’s political views”… So why are you even watching a Bad Religion video? Duh. Their social & political opinions have been obvious throughout their entire history and are integral part of their music and philosophy. Missing the point here seems to be the order of the day for both casual punk fans and Trump voters: – this song ain’t for you – it’s ABOUT you! And if you’re here to defend the so-called “Alt-Right”, and/or to criticize the “Left”, well, then, you never really understood this band at all.

As always BR are intellectual, sarcastic, ironic and satirical – the cheesy pop-ishness of the song is intentional, as is the play on words & melody in the chorus and the bridge section – upbeat, like an anthem, but mocking.

The sound and message of this fit very well alongside other such protest songs like Come Join Us or American Jesus. Musically the band has altered their sonics since the True North album; Brook’s intricate drum barrage has been replaced with something more heavy hitting and weighty, whilst the guitars snarl and slash like Cap’n Crunch. Jay Bentley’s wonderful Entwistle-like bass run at 2.09 is an ebullient addition to the melee.

I want a new album… I want it quick.

by Richard Mackman

Gig Review: @BadReligion at Hammersmith Apollo @EventimApollo June 22nd 2016 – words by @GuitarTutorRich

I’m currently sporting bruises upon bruises from the front of stage pit; my 14th Bad Religion gig was as it should be – carnage.

I’ve been watching these guys for a quarter of a century now, right back as far as their second ever UK Show at Tufnell Park Dome on July 3rd 1991.

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Over the years the line ups have changed and the music has become more sophisticated and multi-faceted, but the essential melodic punk backbone has remained very intact.

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Adhering to a murderous pace, BR smashed out 18 songs in short order with little time for either band, or moshpitters to draw breath. As is the norm, we are presented with a set replete with unexpected ingredients – 7 tracks from the magnificent “Suffer” album, including the bombastic “Delirium of Disorder” and the pertinent “You are the Government” as well as neck breaking versions of “Atomic Garden” and “Modern Man”.

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‘The Serb’ (on 2nd guitar) seemed fuelled by Amphetamine flavoured chewing gum as he slashed and burned his way through riff after riff – the wiry cool looking dude is also a marathon runner, and it shows!

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New boy Jamie Miller on traps lacks the articulate precision finesse of Brooks Wackerman, but offers us a bludgeoning presence more in the vein of Peter Finestone, BR’s original drummer.

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Bad Religion’s following and fanbase has always been of the most loyal and obsessive kind – lyrics are important from such a band, and this crowd knew every goddam word, ranting them hoarsely back at the stage. Jay Bentley is a giant of a man, standing at least 6 ‘5” he dominates stage left and summons up a bass sound to disembowel bison with.

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Hammy Odeon is a nice big old London auditorium – I imagine singer Greg Graffin will feel he can sleep comfortably tonight now that his band have played the legendary Hammersmith venue.

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There are feverish rumours of a new record in 2017, and with it a fervent prayer that Bad Religion will stick around for a 40th anniversary tour from this much beloved band.

Words by Richard Mackman

Photos by Fi Stimpson

Why I Love Bad Religion by @guitartutorrich #BadReligion #MusicIsEverything

It was March 1991, and I was already bored with hair metal, thrash and even grunge. I was really looking for something new. A good friend of mine who I had known for years, and who was something of a connoisseur of all things punk gave me a C90 tape of this American band who I had never heard of before. They were called Bad Religion.

Bad Religion 1991

The first track up was “Modern Man” (the album was “Against the Grain”) and on first listen it sounded to me like a bunch of lab scientists playing at melodic hardcore. The whole idea that a band could play that fast whilst adding in harmony vocals that sounded like The New Seekers, and with lyrics that had a profound angle on the human condition, was an epiphany.

These guys sounded like a folk band on amphetamine. Dr Greg Graffin’s words of wisdom and Jay Bentley’s grinding yet melodic Fender precision barrage tapestried with chord progressions straight from the song book of Richard Thompson offered me a new favourite band. Twenty five years later, they are still THE favourite band.

Bad Religion 2001

Very few of my mates at the time got them. It was only with the advent of the more vanilla bands of the melodic punk genre three or four years later that anyone else really caught on.

Having experienced the band live on nearly every occasion they have played in the UK since 1991, if anything over the years they have got better, diversified the song writing, reinvented their sound and explored new intricacies and sophistications. The addition of the mighty Brooks Wackerman on drums and Brian Baker on guitar in the late 90s and 2001’s monumental “The Process of Belief” album which heralded the return of Graffin’s songwriting henchman, Mr Brett, set Bad Religion off into a new golden age.

I think being able to relate to lyrics on a very personal level is imperative, and the fact the songs have such a degree of melody and aggression with Bad Religion also being a ferocious live band sealed the deal for me.

Suggested listening:

“Turn on the Light” from “Against the Grain”

“All Good Soldiers” from “Recipe for Hate”

“Stranger than Fiction” from “Stranger from Fiction”

“When” from “Suffer”

“Cease” from “The Gray Race”

“The Defense” from “The Process of Belief”

“Honest Goodbye” from “New Maps of Hell”