Punk veterans Bad Religion don't rely on bankrupt laurels, nostalgia, or a facade of long-expired cool. LP after LP, they just set vicious hooks, a blitzkrieg attack, and potent lyrics to soaring singer Greg Graffin's piledriving passion. It's easy to take them for granted, to view Recipe as just another red-hot LP (ho hum) by the last and best band to survive the '80s L.A. punk explosion. And on first listen, it's tarnished by their previous mild malaise: everything sounds alike, and some exit the boat here too quickly. But then the beautiful sonic smack starts to sink in, and the luxurious melodies introduce erudite parables. Their hometown's riots inspired the gut responses of "Recipe for Hate" and "Don't Pray On Me" ("everybody's equal, just don't measure it"), but they think too clearly to grandstand. Rather, from the epic, anti-military sneer of "All Good Soldiers" to the introspective nausea of "Struck a Nerve" and "Looking In" ("our evolution is our demise"), Bad Religion issue more warnings about our unquestioned ways than Rachel Carson or Michael Crichton could shake a stick at. Warning who? Die-hard punks remain their core audience, but with the co-optation of that carcass into mainstream nirvana, this band is ambushing the slackers. Accordingly, they ripened out of the rapid-fire detonations of 1988's Suffer, 1989's No Control, and 1990's Against the Grain into 1992's more methodical Generator. Recipe's saner speeds and better variety should further inveigle any upstanding gormandizer of killer tunes and dive-bomb chord changes. And in any real taste test, Bad Religion is the alternative to alternative. Smug, silly, ironic '70s retro bands feign danger and detachment, but this band's urgency, lyrical contentiousness, and wicked crunch crush that au courant crap flat.
AllMusic Review by Jack Rabid