Against The Grain Review

artist: Bad Religion date: 03/19/2012 category: compact discs
Bad Religion: Against The Grain
Release Date: 1990
Label: Epitaph
Genres: Hardcore Punk, Punk Rock
Number Of Tracks: 17
The third in a flurry of releases that followed Bad Religion's 1988 reunion, "Against the Grain" found the band's edge honed sharper than it had been in years.
 Sound: 8.5
 Lyrics: 8.5
 Overall Impression: 9.5
 Overall rating:
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reviews (2) 10 comments vote for this album:
overall: 10
Against The Grain Reviewed by: Alex101, on october 27, 2006
3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Sound: Bad Religion's follow-up to their last two fan favorite works, 1988's "Suffer" and 1989's "No Control", "Against The Grain" is another one of my favorite albums by those guys. This was their first album released in the '90s, but it's unfortunately their final album to feature the "classic" line-up, Greg Graffin (vocals), Mr. Brett(guitar), Greg Hetson (guitar), Jay Bentley (bass) and Pete Finestone (drums), as their drummer left the band after the release of the album. Mr. Brett and Greg Hetson's guitar sounds on the album are brilliant. // 10

Lyrics: Greg Graffin and Mr. Brett's lyrics on "Against The Grain" are either fine or just brilliant. Bassist Jay Bentley did the lyrics to "The Positive Aspect of Negative Thinking" and "Unacceptable" with the other guitarist Greg Hetson. There are some hilarious lyrics that Greg and Brett wrote like "Hey, Blenderhead, you ask so many questions" (from "Blenderhead"), "my daddy's a lazy middle class intellectual" (from "21st Century Digital Boy"), "and did those feet in ancient times trod america's pastures of green?" (from "God Song"). // 10

Overall Impression: "Suffer", "No Control", "80-85" (an album with songs recorded before "Suffer") and this album are Bad Religion's most highly recommended albums released on Epitaph Records. My favorite songs on this album are "Turn on the Light", "Blenderhead", "Anesthesia", "Faith Alone", "Against The Grain", "Operation Rescue" and "21st Century Digital Boy". I'm sure you might be familiar with "Against The Grain" best known track "21st Century Digital Boy", which later appeared on "Stranger Than Fiction", the band's last album with Brett, and it became a hit on that album. If you don't have this album, you should check it out or "All Ages", it has some of the stuff off this album. If you don't buy any Bad Religion albums, you're not a fan of those guys. If I lose my own CD of this album, I will probably buy it again or just download the songs and burn them onto a blank disc. // 10

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overall: 7.7
Against The Grain Reviewed by: UG Team, on march 19, 2012
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: Bad Religion has always stood out amongst their peers, check this out - punk-rockers with higher education, no mohawks, no f*uck the system, no fancy DIY crap, no sex/drugs/rock'n'roll (almost). Live long, be wise! Maybe they're not punk at all? I'm afraid they are. And, most of the time, even more punk than some of the "obvious" and "iconic" bands. "Against The Grain" (1990) was BR's 5th LP and essentially a part of the "Holy Three" as coined by the fans - together with "Suffer" (1988) and "No Control" (1989). Not much to tell about the recording process - as before, the tracks were laid at Brett Gurewitz's Westbeach Recorders studio in Hollywood, CA and produced by the band themselves. But the outcome happened to be one of California's finest punk records - 17 tracks clocking in just under 35 minutes, utterly real, like life itself. From the first blast of the snare drum to the last chord, it's incredibly fascinating and easy record to listen. Greg Graffin and Mr. Brett have reached new heights on "Against The Grain" - hardcore songs are still dominant, but the album's main strength is in slower, mid-tempo cuts like "Faith Alone", "21st Century (Digital Boy)", "Against The Grain", "Anesthesia". // 7

Lyrics: Bad Religion's Greg Graffin and Brett Gurewitz creative duo resembles a "healthy songwriting competition", as stated by bass player Jay Bentley. 99% of the songs are written either by Greg or Brett with little or none collaboration. As with Clash, Graffin's compositions are generally more hardcore, straightforward punk with those "intelligent stuff" in lyrics, while Mr. Brett's songs contain way more metaphors and simply... Poppier, I guess. The themes on the album range, as usual, from the ecological problems and mankind's extinction ("Modern Man", "Flat Earth Society", "Entropy", "Unacceptable") to the questions of religion and personal reflections ("Faith Alone", "God Song", "Walk Away", "Anesthesia"). The band's vocal trademark - oozin aahhs (or three-part harmonies, as known in music) are fully present on the record, emphasizing the songs' choruses. // 7

Overall Impression: Compared to the rest of BR's albums, it's easily the best one. And it was commercially successful too - 100,000 units sold with no singles produced, no airplay received and no videos made. As for the rest of punk industry, "Against The Grain" is not as diverse and listener-friendly as some other major releases, but mind this: the year is 1990 and punk-rock music is not in the charts yet (not even grunge) and Epitaph is still a fledging label. Despite this, I consider Against The Grain a gem of 1990s punk and a truly remarkable record in terms of lyrics, music and attitude. Best songs again came from Brett's mind - "Anesthesia", "21st Century (Digital Boy)", "Walk Away". Greg Graffin's "Modern Man", "God Song" and "Faith Alone" can be named as highlights as well. Overall, this is the last "classic" punk record of hardcore era before alternative music exploded and I would be extremely disappointed not to see it in any 100 essential records of the 90s list. // 9

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