Bad Religion -- Bad Religion (EP)
Epitaph Records, 1981
Bad Religion's self-titled debut EP is pretty much exactly what a fan of the band would expect (unlike, say, 1983's Into the Unknown): tightly-played melodic punk rock, intelligent (if, occasionally gratuitously abstruse) lyrics, and multi-vocal harmonies delivering sociopolitical critiques. Bad Religion is also exactly what you'd expect from a group of precocious fifteen- and sixteen-year-olds playing in a hardcore band in the early 1980s: a bunch of barely distinguishable tracks played at blazing speed and a lot of anger that seems just a little bit forced, as if they're trying to compete with older, cooler kids.
While certainly not as good as their later, more mature recordings, Bad Religion is considerably better than most of the hardcore records coming out of Southern California at the time. You can definitely hear intimations of the deep melodies and astoundingly thoughtful lyrical content of albums like Suffer and The Process of Belief on Bad Religion. It just sounds like we're listening outside the band's practice space as they're attempting to find their sound. Give 'em a few years and they'll be legendary...
Sobriquet Grade: 82 (B-)