In a time where music is more downloaded than sold, major labels try to squeeze those few bucks from fans by reissuing albums. I get quite pissed when I see record labels reissuing a CD six months after it came out with the addition of only a couple of shitty sounding demos and so called "rare" songs or a bonus DVD filled with empty content.
Sony BMG is currently doing a similar thing in Germany by reissuing a 14 year old album. I must say, this is something I can understand: Bad Religion are hip at the moment and they have a brand new disc coming out. It's ok, I am a fan and bought this. It was also sold at a fair price and I am a serious Bad Religion nerd, although 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 though Brett Gurewitz said he considers this the "worst" Bad Religion album ever, I think this is still a solid release. It was first released in 1996 when Bad Religion was huge in Europe and toured with the Sex Pistols. MTV (especially in Germany, but also in Italy, France and Spain) gave great space to the videos of "Punk Rock Songs" and "A Walk", and I even remember when Greg Graffin and Jay Bentely 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 on a first listen. Initially you enjoy the hella catchy choruses of "Punk Rock Songs", "Drunk Sincerity" and "Pity The Dead" and think this is a pop disc and the rest is garbage. However, further listens uncover that it has some great anthems like "Them And Us", "Parallel" and "Cease". These songs might be unknown Bad Religion songs, but they are still so good. The album truly never disappointed me, and I confess this contains some of my favorite Bad Religion songs ever: "A Walk" is just awesome, with it's riff chords progression, "Come Join Us" is a catchy yet sad song about religions, and such tunes as "Empty Causes" and "Nobody Listens" are fillers in the right place, between the first part of the record, which is faster, and the second one.
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 since it has the same songs, no bonus tracks, and not even remastered stuff. But if you were born in the late 80's or first 90's and want to feel the spirit of punk music in those years, this is a great release to know what was going on.
1. The Gray Race
2. Them And Us
3. A Walk
5. Punk Rock Song
6. Empty Causes
7. Nobody Listens
8. Pity The Dead
9. Spirit Shrine
10. The Streets Of America
11. Ten In 2010
13. Drunk Sincerity
14. Come Join Us
16. Punk Rock Song - German Language Version
Funny how worst Bad Religion album ever when compared to all other musical standards still translates into freaking awesome. IMO, No Substance was pretty much crap, and so was a lot of the Gaffin era shit.