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How Could Hell Be Any Worse? Original recording remastered

4.5 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording remastered, April 6, 2004
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Editorial Reviews

This digitally re-mastered version of "How Could Hell Be Any Worse?" is taking place of the "80-85" album which is now out ...see site for more info.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. We're Only Gonna Die
  2. Latch Key Kids
  3. Part III
  4. Faith in God
  5. Fuck Armageddon, This is Hell
  6. Pity
  7. In the Night
  8. Damned to be Free
  9. White Trash (2nd Generation)
  10. American Dream
  11. Eat Your Dog
  12. Voice of God is Government
  13. Oligarchy
  14. Doing Time
  15. Bad Religion
  16. Politics
  17. Sensory Overload
  18. Slaves
  19. Drastic Actions
  20. World War III


Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 6, 2004)
  • Reis Rmst ed. edition
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Epitaph / Ada
  • ASIN: B0001JXP7U
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #92,631 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By D. K. Malone on July 7, 2004
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I've owned vinyl copies of How Could Hell and the debut EP since the early 80s. To this day, the debut EP is still my favorite Bad Religion record. Back when I was discovering the joy of replacing my old worn out vinyl with CD re-releases, they released "80-85" which contained How Could Hell, the first EP, the Back To The Known EP, and some compilation tracks. When I listened to that CD for the first time, I was sorely disappointed to discover that the original EP sounded very different from my own recollection. It sounded like they may have started out as the same tracks I remembered, but had then been edited and altered with alternate takes, overdubs, a remix, and other such shenanigans. I found out about this new release, which is more or less a re-master of the 80-85 CD. I hoped that now finally I'd have the original versions of the first EP tracks on CD, but to no avail... this is the same stuff from the 80-85 CD. Damn it. Why not use the originals? I hate to say it, but I'm betting the old original master tapes have been lost forever.

[EDIT 1/11/13: After all these years, I finally found out what the deal is: the debut EP was originally released as a 7 inch, then about two or three years later it was remixed and re-released as a 12 inch. Thinking back, I remember listening to and looking at the jacket of the 7 inch... but it wasn't mine, it belonged to a friend. I probably listened to his copy and loved it and then bought the 12 inch. Back then, I guess I never noticed a difference in sound, being a little adolescent twerp. Obviously they chose to put the original 7 inch version on the CD. Hard to blame them, I suppose. However- I may be biased, but it's only logical that the remix was an improvement over the original... otherwise what's the point?
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Format: Audio CD
People know Bad Religion primarily for their melodic (and borderline commercial) brand of hardcore and their jaw-dropping vocabulary and intellect. I've heard the term 'thesaurus punk' bandied about often in reference to Bad Religion. These guys, along with 7 Seconds from Reno and Husker Du from Minneapolis, helped to pioneer the melodic hardcore sound in the early 80's, eventually giving birth to thousands of mediocre-to-awful copycats (and a few great ones) less than a decade later. Bad Religion originally formed in 1979, released an EP (tracks #15-20), an LP (tracks #1-14), another LP (which is not on this disc; they are still embarrassed of it and refuse to re-release it), another EP (tracks #21-25), and a few compilation tracks (#26-28) before briefly splitting up, re-uniting, and releasing their influential comeback album Suffer.

The band you hear on this compilation are a rough and somewhat sloppy and unpolished version of their future selves, their feet planted firmly in the burgeoning LA hardcore scene happening around them. They were still in high school when they released these records (save for "Back to the Known") on Brett's then-nascent label Epitaph. The melodicism, harmonies, and expansive vocabulary that made the band famous are all here, albeit to a much lesser degree. Greg Graffin, 15-19 years old at the time, is far more blunt and less metaphorical. In contrast to their later output, the anger, desperation, and alienation come through very clearly, which is a good thing for people like me who are less enamored with Greg's more placid singing style present on their post-1985 albums. However, his lyrics are still highly literate, and obviously influenced by Darby Crash/the Germs.

The rawness of the production is another standout.
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Format: Audio CD
First off: While "How Can Hell" has never been out of print (see "80-85") it is great to have it back with its original title & cover. This is one of my favorite US hardcore LPs. NOW- why can't we see a CD re release of their second LP "Into the Unknown"? Sure, at the time, fans hated it and dismissed it as a "sell out" (which was typical of punk bands in the early 80s- look at the Red Rockers and TSOL). And, yes, this heavy new wave arena rock (for want of a better discription) sounds nothing like the rest of the BR catalog before or since. But, that-was-then-this-is-now: why not let the current generation of BR fans hear it and make up their own minds. As an owner of one of the original vinyl pressings I can say "Unknown" has gotten better with age and features some of their best stuff: "Billy Gnosis", "million days", "wild goose" and "it's only over when you give up".
As of this writing there's a guy on Ebay letting his "Unknown" LP go for $165 starting bid! I've seen it on Ebay for as much as $300! (Not to mention several bootleg CD-Rs of this album.) Not to deminish the greatness of "Suffer" or "Generator" but Gregg & Co. should be convinced to let their current audience decide- at least with a "limmited edition" CD of "Into the Unknown". (At the time of "Unknown's" 1983 release BR contributed two great "unplugged" tracks to the "Sound of Hollywood" comp: "waiting for the fire" and "everyday". Those would make great bonus tracks.) 21 years later it's time for Bad Religion to STOP apologising for this record- not to mention, STOP the self-censorship!
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