Bad Religion came barreling out of the California hardcore scene in 1979, setting fire to listeners with a lyrical bag full of syllables and philosophical grit. Led by singer Greg Graffin, guitarist Brett Gurewitz and bassist Jay Bentley, the band wanted you to think about your world as much as they wanted you to slam into someone in the pit. No other punk band would ever pack as many graduate-student-level words into a two-minute song, nor would another one wield such intelligent aggression. How Could Hell Be Any Worse? (1982) remains one of the best debut albums in Bad Religion's genre, and the band's run of late-'80s albums are still staples. A detour into the major-label woods darkened Bad Religion's flame for the better part of a decade before they returned to home base Epitaph in 2002. New album The Dissent of Man is one of their strongest since 1994's Stranger Than Fiction.
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