Tested Live Live
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27 track live album recorded on tour in Europe in 1996. Since 1980, Bad Religion have been stunning the music world by mixing melody, thought, attitude, speed and ability. Bad Religion have sold over 5 million albums since their 1980 debut becoming punk legends in the process. Bad Religion has always seen music as a force for social change. On their last CD The Empire Strikes First, punk's most important active band takes its weightiest stance yet on the dual themes of religion and politics. Clearly condemning the Bush administration's doctrine of preemptive war, and questioning religion's increasing and ever-frightening role in American politics, Bad Religion's message proves to be more salient today than ever before and it's conveyed with the fierce musical attack that has helped define the band, and the genre, for two decades. Includes the hits 'Punk Rock Song' and 'A Walk', plus three previously unreleased tracks, 'Dream Of Unity', 'It's Reciprocal' and 'Tested'. Sony.
Top Customer Reviews
I'll review each of the three previously unheard tracks:
Dream of Unity: This song is famazing. That's all there is to it. It's a slow dirgey song about unity (duh.) It's just an incredible put-up-your-lighter song. They should put this on a mainstream release sometime. 7/5.
It's Reciprocal: Not bad at all, a lot better than some of the filler on Gray Race. I really like it. Good lyrics too. 4/5.
Tested: I just didn't get into this one. I'm not into it at all. 2/5.
Overall rating of the three new songs: 4/5.
Overall rating of the CD: 4/5.
Overall recommendation: Buy this, just for Dream of Unity and It's Reciprocal, not to mention some really great live versions.
Yes, I'd have liked to see some other songs like Anesthesia, Only Entertainment, Entropy, Walk Away, 21st Century Digital Boy, Inner Logic, Infected, and Handshake, but such is life.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
For some bands however, they drop straight into a groove and stick with it. Bands like AC/DC, Motorhead, Manowar and Deicide are not far removed from their original sound, even two or three decades into their careers. Bad Religion is another which could be added to that list.
One of the inadvertent architects of the current pop punk sound which emanates from Southern California, Bad Religion found their musical feet early in their careers, and have done very nicely with it ever since. Unlike many of the pretenders to the SoCal punk throne however, Bad Religion are better live than in the studio. 'Tested' is testament to this fact.
"Live" energy is often difficult to transfer to an album, but Bad Religion manages it here. Lots of crowd noise does not equate to live energy, and Bad Religion didn't even bother to record crowd noise. Any crowd noise you hear on the album comes through the bands' mikes. The liner notes go into depth about how the album was recorded. To summarise it all, Bad Religion recorded everything live, cheaply but effectively, and then reassembled it into what equates to a live "Best Of..." album.
The results show a lot of thought and preparation was put into recording. The guitars have a rougher edge than in the studio, and vocalist Greg Graffin's vocals are raspier. The melodies in the vocals, backing vox and guitar lines and counter-lines are near perfect, and there are even nuances apparent which are missing from the studio albums.
There are mistakes and adlibs all over the place, one of the best being when Greg Graffin starts the crowd in Dortmund on the wrong key for the opening verse of "Generator". Elsewhere, the odd guitar solo is slightly off key, and the backing vocals are sometimes a little out of tune or drowned out. For fans of live albums, it's a pure delight to hear.
As for highlights, well, this is Bad Religion. There aren't any. That's to say, the entire album is incredibly consistent, and is an accurate record of the band's back catalogue up until 1996. Nothing sounds out of place, and everything sounds like it could be from any of the band's album. While this lack of musical development may annoy the hell out of self-important, pseudo-intellectual critics, it's exactly what the band want to play, and what their fans want to hear. It may be predictable, it may have been done before, but so what? 'Tested' ROCKS!
I have all BR's studio albums still in print, so I'm obviously a fan. But honestly, each album offers between 4-6 real standout tracks along with a bunch of mildly appealing soundalikes. "Tested" acts as both a testament to BR's skill as a band -- they're not just a studio creation -- and as a sort of "greatest hits" package. Culled from well over 1,000 song performances during a 1996 world tour, there isn't a dud in the bunch. The fact that the 'cut and paste' approach to compiling these tracks tends to negate any of the real concert feel is a minor complaint.
Another relief was the rather bulky Greg Graffin-penned booklet included with the disc. Expecting plenty of the sometimes tiresome political rants that are the beef of Graffin's lyrics, I instead got a detailed run-down of the recording process itself, which you may or may not find interesting. If nothing else, it does demonstrate an emphasis on the music itself, rather than on politics. For me, this is welcome.
In short, this immediately became my favorite BR album, and for no deeper reason than it sounds great and collects nothing but memorable tracks. Why it's not a U.S. release I'll never understand, but spend the few extra bucks and get it now.
This band found their style very early in their carreer and they have not changed it at all, even with all of the MTV pre-made poo that we are subjected to on a daily basis. Bad Religion still have the ability to write their own lyrics, and sound exactly the same as they did 10 years ago.
This album is living proof that this band sounds just as good live, if not better, than they do straight out of the studio.
I love hearing a song that I know and love in a different manner. It's especially good if you are drunk and want to sing along, but feel bad that you can never sound as good as they do.
If you are looking for a greatest hits album, get All Ages, if you wanna hear some of your favorite BR songs LIVE, get this one. Hell, get them both. I think that anyone who has anything to say about how the world is today needs to listen to a good BR album. Long live BR!!!! Come play in WV dammit!!!!
Frankly I find they way this album is presented to the listener is a greatly needed change to the typical live album. Rather than try to make the listener feel like they are at the show (which many live albums try to do, unsuccessfully I might add) this one just delivers the music. And its the music that counts, especially with BR, the greatest of all bands. The purest of any music as it was intended to be heard.
And just to let you know, you can still buy this album in the US directly from Bad Religion and its cheaper too.
Long live BAD RELIGION
The album would have received 5 stars had it been better edited to include more of the concert recording between tracks--each song fades out rather quickly. The album is only 65:49 long, leaving at least 10 minutes for additional concert intros and maybe some direct progression between songs (instead of cross fading). This is purely an editorial choice, and I must admit that sometimes little anecdotes and lead-ins on some live albums become a bit too much--an example would be Bruce Springstein's live recording of The River. While the story that precedes it is great the first few times, ultimately, one skips it on subsequent plays. Still, this is a fine effort.
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