Top 10 Albums on Epitaph Records

After a $1,000 loan from his father, a teenager named Brett Gurewitz started a record label in 1981 solely for the purpose of releasing his band Bad Religion’s self-titled EP. Taking its name from the least punk of all bands song, King Crimson, Epitaph Records was born.

Over the past four decades, the label has gone through one of the most incredible transformations in the history of the music industry. From those DIY hardcore beginnings, it became the go-to punk rock label when the genre was thrust into the mainstream in the mid-90s. Since then, it has moved away from punk and established itself as one of the most diverse labels in alternative culture, releasing albums from some of the biggest names in hardcore, alternative rock, emo, metalcore and beyond.

Looking at their list, it would be impossible to pick out their top 10 albums. However, with an obvious metal bias, it’s something we managed to do in the end. Just.


Bad Religion – Suffer (1988)

After only a few years, Bad Religion broke up in 1984 after the progressive misfire of Into the unknown album. Internal tensions were also heightened by Gurewitz’s addiction to heroin.

Shortly after, they temporarily banded together with Circle Jerks guitarist Greg Hetson as a replacement, and recorded the Back to the known EP the following year. Then they separated again.

In 1986, the band reunited and released their third album, Suffer, the next year. It’s an incredible sliding-door moment in American hardcore, as the idea that this record doesn’t exist would cast doubt on Epitaph’s longevity and the careers of many successful punk bands of the past 30 years.

Suffer is one of the most influential releases in punk rock history. With 15 titles over 26 minutes, Bad Religion is running at full speed. To listen How much is enough, don’t give you nothing and the iconic creaking riff of the opener You are (the government); every song is brimming with righteous indignation, punchy power and Greg Graffin’s instantly recognizable vocal style.

A historic release.

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The Offspring – Smash (1994)

Almost 30 years after its release, smash remains the best-selling independent album of all time, and it’s likely to remain so forever.

The Offspring’s third album is certainly the most important record in Epitaph’s life story. Who would have imagined that a band that backed Pennywise in 1993 would hit the studio later that year and emerge with a set of songs that would turn them into multi-platinum megastars?

Even now, The Offspring’s fusion of skate punk and alternative rock continues to sizzle Self love and Go out and play (Keep them separate)which remain as anthemic as the day they were released.

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NOFX – Punk in Drublic (1994)

NOFX was the most antagonistic skate punk crew of the 90s. And as punk entered the mainstream, the four California musicians were so completely disinterested in playing the game that they actually told MTV and major labels to explicitly ignore them both in the liner notes of this album and on the first single. Leave alone.

You could say it’s a shame that the band’s frontman, Fat Mike, is so keen on keeping NOFX as an underground proposition, because Punk in Drublic boasts perfectly scripted, loud outbursts of melodic punk. But really, it’s snotty sarcasm and disdain that informs this version – check out The beers, don’t call me white, Linoleum and To dig – which made it an essential album and which cemented NOFX’s reputation as a truly great punk band.

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Rancid – …And the Wolves Come Out (1995)

Rancid’s third album remains one of the most wonderfully anthemic sets of songs in punk rock history.

Injecting the pop-punk boom with a touch of Oi! and classic street punk vibes, …and out come the wolves has the chemistry between working class, underground music, Himalayan-sized hooks and romantic lyrics about the nature of brotherhood and perfectly realized friendships. It also sparkles with more energy than a child’s birthday party.

just listen Roots Radical, Maxwell Murder, Ruby Soho, Junkie Man and Time bomb. The full track list reads like a compilation of the greatest 90s punk rock hits.

In short, a perfect album.

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Converge – Ax to Fall (2009

The latest installment in the perfect four-album series from Boston’s hardcore legends, Ax to fall marked the final evolution of Converge from at Jane Doe scabrous and acid noise in 2001, through the equally brilliant but increasingly experimental, elongated and ethereal influences that marked the two years of 2004 you fail me and 2006 no heroes, to art-hardcore in their own right, noise terrorists.

From the bubbling intensity of Black Horse, it’s clear that Converge is starting the way they want to continue. But as the album’s seven-plus-minute dreamscape draws closer miserable world, via the death metal of Cutter, the torturous psychedelic trampling of The worms will feed/the rats will feast and Steve Von Till and Aimee Argote as a duo on the bar piano step of Cruel flowering, it’s hard to imagine any other directions Converge as a collective might have taken here.

If someone tells you that heavy music is one-dimensional, this is the album to shut them up.

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let live. – The most beautiful black (2013)

The post-hardcore scene of the late 90s and early 2000s was led by Refused, Glassjaw and At The Drive-In. And for a decade, fans of the genre longed for another band that could deliver similar thrills. So let live. came and channeled these tapes all at once. Their third album really should have made them the greatest rock band, because The blackest beautiful is a 10/10 classic, taking the manic post-hardcore model, and allowing frontman Jason Aalon Butler to live out his finest HR, Ol’ Dirty Bastard and Sam Cooke fantasies throughout.

The production of the album, despite being oddly divisive among some fans, actually works by turning the bass up as high as possible as if it were a gangster rap album from 1993. Whatever be your feelings, this combination makes it unique, and nothing in any genre related to The blackest beautiful has brushed past her majesty ever since.

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Parkway Drive – Ire (2015)

There were more than a few raised eyebrows when Angeris the first single Vice has been freed. Why would Australia’s usually reliable metalcore crew lean so heavily on classic heavy metal? If it ain’t broke, why fix it?

These days, that opinion seems extremely naive. Parkway Drive are now an arena band and this album, alongside their jaw-dropping gigs, is what propelled them to where they are today.

On Anger, the Australian band have really pushed the boundaries of metalcore. There were two guitar tracks and huge dollops of melody on the opener. Destructivewhile they used a huge Rage Against The Machine groove on Crushed. They even drew influence from the gothic melodrama of Nick Cave and Tom Waits on Writings on the wall.

All the craziest lifts of Parkway Drive’s career are here, and more impressively, they all work. But if we had to pick a moment that really binds Anger place in this list, it surely breaks our necks Bottom feeder.

Proof that risks sometimes pay off.

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Architects – All Our Gods Have Forsaken Us (2016)

The Architects’ seventh album was to be their last release before the band’s iconic songwriter and visionary, Tom Searle, died at the tragic age of 28.

His final statement is also his most essential, because All our gods have forsaken us shows how great metalcore can be when the shackles of the genre are truly cast aside. Wildly angry, yet sad, vocalist Sam Carter’s incredible vocal range is the perfect foil for Searle’s lyrics exploring the selfishness, ignorance and apathy of modern society. It also features more than a few nods to its own mortality — not that we understood at the time — but that heartbreaking depth adds an extra layer to the album that’s been gaining strength over the years.

songs like Nihilist, Fall and carried away by the wind are now established as some of the best songs in the Architects canon, but it’s Memento Mori which makes it a classic. At around eight minutes in length, this closer album is full of twists and never-before-seen forays into sonic experimentation, and remains their greatest song.

Tom Searle, 1987 – 2016

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Touché Amoré – Fourth Stage (2016)

Step 4 It may not be the highest-profile record on this list, but it’s an album of such heartbreaking, poignant, unfiltered honesty that it’s earned its place here.

Touché Amoré’s first Epitaph release was also their highlight, largely thanks to frontman Jeremy Bolm who used the record to detail the events following his mother’s death.

While the band deserves immense credit for the wonderful music that rises, fades and fizzles throughout, this is Bolm’s album. His performance is everything here; the pain, grief and struggle of his situation are present on every syllable. When his late mother’s last voicemail is played at the end of the elegant final track Skyscraper, it is impossible not to be deeply moved.

Music as catharsis has rarely been so well done.

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Every Time I Die – Low Teens (2016)

After 18 years, eight outstanding full albums and a touring itinerary to put most bands to shame, you’d have thought Every Time I Die would have started to slow down and eventually run out of creativity.

But when weak teenagers came out in 2016, it was quite the opposite, with many fans and music publications praising the release as their career best.

It’s the kind of album Every Time I Die fans have come to expect: mathematical metal hardcore, hints of southern rock and angular noise, all topped off by Keith Buckley wildly delivering his loquacious, world-weary lyrics. . But weak teenagers – informed by the leader’s harrowing experience of nearly losing his then wife and unborn child – is on a level beyond the reach of many groups.

Listen to the country twang of The Dillinger Escape Plan Failure, Where The piece has its say, who feels like Mastodon covering Minor Threat. Then there’s the climax of the album Card change who manage to be the best Kurt Cobain pop song ever written, powered by a riff worthy of Lamb of God.

The band has never sounded so good.

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