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Suffer had already wound the meter on Bad Religion’s Cali hardcore even tighter — No Control simply and forcefully continued the shift, delivering a pummel of melodic songwriting made sharp by Greg Graffin’s populist cynicism and the stinging barbs of a twin-guitar strike. The remastering for the 2004 version greatly amplified the album’s volume. It might also strip away some reverb from the instrumentation, but the latter observation is mostly theoretical, as the later No Control really just sounds louder. This is welcome, as it makes the band sound that much more direct on principal cuts like “I Want to Conquer the World,” “Automatic Man,” the aggressive title track, and “Progress”.
In 1996, Bad Religion released The Gray Race, their first album without founding member Brett Gurewitz, who had left the band the year before due to the growing popularity of his own record label Epitaph. He would be replaced by Brian Baker, who at that point was best known for his work in Washington DC’s punk scene. There are noticeable differences between, which had already existed on their previous release Stanger than Fiction, this and the band’s Epitaph days.
After a series of arid, interchangeable albums, current events and contempt for recent U.S. policy lights a fire in the belly of pop/punk pioneers Bad Religion, resulting in their most inspired record in years.
This album can stand its ground next to most of their newer albums. It shows the origins of their sound, and how they developed it, not to mention the humorous lyrics which are now a staple part of NOFX’s songs.
A good buy, but not the the classic NOFX sound of the 90’s, it is surprisingly influenced by metal, and there are few great songs. However, it’s essential for any NOFX fan looking to see how they developed as a band.
This was NOFX’s 2nd album, released in 1989, (Liberal Animation was originally released before this, but then re-released in 1991 on Epitaph). It is 12 tracks long, although one of them is a cover of a Fleetwood Mac song, and the album is under 34 minutes long.