Bad Religion - The Gray Race [Germany reissue] (Cover Artwork)

Bad Religion

The Gray Race [Germany reissue] (2007)

Sony BMG / Dra

In a time where music is more downloaded than sold, major labels try to steal those few bucks to fan by reissuing older albums, or even recent ones. I am quite pissed when I see record labels reissuing a CD after six months it came out, with a couple of shitty sounding demos and so called "rare" songs, or a bonus DVD filled with empty content.

Now, Sony BMG is doing a similar thing in Germany, reissuing an 11-year-old album. I must say, this is something I can understand: Bad Religion are so hyped, they had a brand new disc come out, and by reissuing this CD, I am quite sure Sony BMG is trying to make some extra cash by changing the cover artwork to an old CD. It's okay; I am a fan and bought this. It was also sold at a fair price and I am a serious Bad Religion nerd, even tough not the kind that spends 100 dollars on eBay to get the first press of Into the Unknown on vinyl.

Now, to the serious things. The Gray Race was a real great melodic punk album, and even tough Brett Gurewitz said this is what he considers the worst Bad Religion album, I think this is still a solid release. It was first released in 1996, when Bad Religion were huge in Europe and toured with the Sex Pistols. Gurewitz was out of the band to take care of the cash that entered thanks to the Offspring, Rancid and NOFX, and Bad Religion was on the dirty European roads supporting this album. MTV, especially in Germany but also in Italy, France and Spain, gave great space to the videos of "Punk Rock Song" and "A Walk," and I even remember when Greg Graffin and Jay Bentley sat down for an interview with an MTV VJ during a summer festival. It was a nice time for punk rock.

The album has some ups and downs, but only on a first listen, becase you get the hella catchy choruses of "Punk Rock Song,", "Drunk Sincerity" and "Pity the Dead" and think this is a pop disc and the rest is garbage. But it has some great anthems like "Them and Us," "Parallel" and "Cease," which might be unknown Bad Religion songs, but still so good.

I am not suggesting to pick this album up; on the contrary, if you do own the first press do not waste money on this like I did (it has the same songs aside from a German language "Punk Rock Song," no bonus tracks, and not even remastered stuff), but if you were born in the late `80s or early `90s, and want to feel the spirit of punk music in those years, this is a great release to know what was going on.