Bad Religion – No Control
Admittedly my knowledge of Bad Religion is especially entry level. Like many people my age, a lot of my early music taste was shaped by the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series of skateboarding games, and eagle eared viewers will note that two tracks from No Control make onto two different installments of the series.
The tracks “You” and “Big Bang” are pretty much indicative of what this album sounds like pretty much all the way through: Fucking fast and fucking furious. Perfect then for a band that, to my ears, slot perfectly in-between 77 punk and more traditional West Coast American hardcore punk.
The influence of genre titans the Ramones is clear to see. Weighing in at 25 minutes long, No Control is pretty uncompromising in its delivery. Vocalist Greg Graffin’s voice is clear throughout, avoiding the cliché grunts and screams of most punk of the late 80’s era (though this is just speculation on my part, I’m sure somebody will point out my ignorance, and please do!), but still retains enough edge and bite so as to give the social and political lyrical themes enough conviction so as to be powerful. Graffin’s machine gun delivery maybe a little tricky to follow at times, but the words are carefully, wittily and intelligently written and their super sonic urgency only enhances the bands belief in their own left leaning message.
Graffin’s lyrics sit neatly upon a stormy deluge of guitars that begin with Johnny Ramone’s and certainly ascribe to that old punk three-chord tradition. The twin guitar spike of Greg Heston and Brett Gurewitz acts mainly as vehicle for Graffin’s hardcore truisms, but with some careful and tastefully placed solos, have enough character and the right smidgeon of memory as to avoid turning into one of this records that descends into a stale aural mush.
Acting as an even further propeller of super speed is drummer Pete Finestone’s AA-gun battery of percussion, ensuring the music never has any time to slowdown or really disseminate what’s being thrown at you. Production being standard, to hell with the bass and give me more guitars punk, the low end doesn’t particularly get a look in.
Ultimately then this is a remarkably pure punk rock outing, maintaining all the principles of the genre, staying true to it’s roots but leaving the band enough room to carve out their own brand of Cali-fried punk rock. Well worth a listen.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1PgiBpTtao Bad Religion – You