Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Bad Religion - 30 Years Live

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Artist Website: Bad Religion
Record Label Website: Epitaph Records

Track list:
1 - Fuck Armageddon, This Is Hell
2 - Dearly Beloved
3 - Suffer
4 - Man With A Mission
5 - New Dark Ages
6 - Germs Of Perfection
7 - Marked
8 - A Walk
9 - Flat Earth Society
10 - Resist Stance
11 - American Jesus
12 - Social Suicide
13 - Atheist Peace
14 - Tomorrow
15 - Won't Somebody
16 - Los Angeles Is Burning
17 - We're Only Gonna Die

Download links: [MP3]

I adore Bad Religion. After discovering them through their songs in the video games Crazy Taxi and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 I started grabbing all the music of theirs I could find. The fast-paced mosh pit-inciting guitar riffs, combined with intelligent lyrics covering a variety of social, political, and religious topics appealed to me in a way that, at that point in my life, no other music had. Needless to say, when I found out earlier this year that Bad Religion was releasing a live album in honor of their 30th anniversary as a band (for free!), I was incredibly excited. While the setlist isn't perfect in my opinion, the album is quite solid.

I think that choosing to open and close the album with songs from their debut LP How Could Hell Be Any Worse? was a great idea, especially with two of the more popular songs from the album, We're Only Gonna Die and Fuck Armageddon...This is Hell. Both songs represent the more raw, adrenaline-charged youth of the band, and while the original studio versions of the songs are classics, its nice to hear them redone by the band with 30 extra years of practice under their belts.

The album goes on to include several songs from their latest album, New Maps of Hell, including Dearly Beloved, an atheistic anthem, and Germs of Perfection, which showcases Bad Religion's trademark thesaurus-like lyrics. Also included are songs from Suffer, The Empire Strikes First, Recipe For Hate, and several others.

The sound is as good as you'd expect a live album to sound in today's industry. It's easy to tell that numerous studio touch-ups were made, especially in the "oozin-aahs" (backup vocals), but it doesn't detract from the overall listening experience. It was nice to hear some of their older songs performed with Brooks Wackerman, their newest (and in my opinion, most talented and energenic) drummer.

One of my only gripes with this album is the fact that, although it is supposedly a representation of their 30 years as a band, there are seven Bad Religion albums that don't have a single song represented, including The Process of Belief, my favorite album of theirs. I found this odd, because there are several songs from that album that have been staples of their live shows since its release in 2002. At the very least, the inclusion of either Supersonic or Sorrow would have been great.

This album is a must-have for fans of this group, and for people on the fence or who have never heard their material, this might be a good place to start, as there are quite a few of their hits on this album.

Just a quick note about the distribution of this album: 30 Years Live was originally released as a free digital download through Bad Religion's website. However, the album is no longer available through the band, and there is no hard copy available for purchase. As such, I've taken the liberty of uploading the album to Mediafire so people interested in listening can download it. If for some reason anyone from Epitaph Records happens to read this and wishes me to remove the download link, please send me an email letting me know, and I'll be happy to take it down.