by Zac Lomas, edited by Erik van Rheenen
During my more formative years, I picked up a copy of Recipe for Hate from my local record store’s used CD bin, and if you had told that kid how one day he would review a Bad Religion Christmas album, I probably would have given you the finger and told you to “Fuck off!” Yet, here I am, reviewing Bad Religion’s Christmas Songs. However, I unabashedly love punk covers of Christmas songs and the irony that Bad Religion brings to the table with their pointed stance on the effects of religion make this album all the more poignant.
If the aforementioned irony wasn’t apparent enough, the band is donating 20 percent of the proceeds from the album to SNAP, which stands for Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, making it pretty clear where they stand on the issue of organized religion.
The nearly twenty minute album opens up with a chorus of Greg Graffin singing “Hark the herald angels sing, glory to the newborn king” before a guitar slide announces that this is not just an a cappella record. The song’s soaring riffs and revamped tempo instantly transform this religious standard into a punk jam with a fury like no other.
Brooks Wackerman blasts into “O Come All Ye Faithful” with a set of drum fills rife with flams, rolls, and general percussive virtuoso. The song, just like its preceding track, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” thumps right along while Brett Gurewitz layers sizzling guitar leads over the top of Jay Bentley’s supple basslines.