Release Date: Jan 22, 2013
Record label: Epitaph
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
There's a fine line between honing a very specific sound that can define a band, and creating redundant and stale music. For more than 30 years, Bad Religion have proven that age is merely a number, and relentlessly churned out legendary records. The band's latest offering True North serves as a culmination and retrospective of their storied history.The title track starts the record with an instant melody that could never be mistaken for anyone but Bad Religion.
Review Summary: Bad Religion recharged.Bad Religion are one truly remarkable band. After 33 years, these guys are still recording strong punk rock records with the same power and passion at such ease, that, by comparison, many of the younger bands in the genre feel flawed and amateurish.Their previous record, The Dissent Of Man, was more a mid-tempo affair, expanding the band's musical ideas a bit into the alternative rock sphere in the same vein long time predecessors Generator and Recipe For Hate had done. The songs often stretched past the 3 minute mark and some had a more contemplative tone, sometimes giving the thought they'd pursue a slightly different route for their next effort.
With what he intended as a joke, in 2011 Greg Graffin suggested the possibility of what to many is a terrible scenario: that his band Bad Religion might cease to be after the release of their 16th album True North. “We’re going to try one more album,” Graffin said at a show in Massachusetts, “and then all join the navy, do honest work. ” Although in retrospect the comment seems clearly to have been a flippant one, the rumours and concerns on the part of fans were understandable.
Bad Religion do two things very well. First, they can play at a relentlessly fast pace while still sounding cogent, coherent, and accessible. Second, they layer their songs with an array of harmonies, call-and-response vocals, and generally give the impression they spend as much time rehearsing a cappella as rocking out. They can also, when they put their mind to it, write extraordinarily good songs.
Another year, another Bad Religion record. Actually it's been three years since the band's last blast of melodic punk, 2010's middling The Dissent of Man. The California crew have slowed down a tad and we get a new album every three years now, instead of every two. But the band have yet to start phoning it in, a fact that gets ignored when critics inevitably dismiss whatever their latest is as "just another album." While the hardcore-tinge was long ago replaced by alt-rock chug, and True North (their 16th LP) lacks the visceral power and focused sense of purpose their trio of post-Epitaph return albums had, the band nevertheless sound unwilling to go gently into that good night.
On paper, the notion of Bad Religion staying true to their DIY punk ideal seems risible. After all, guitarist Brett Gurewitz owns California’s highly respected Epitaph imprint and, in recent years, frontman Greg Graffin has taught at major American universities such as UCLA and Cornell. Yet, for all the superficial respectability, the band’s militant heart still beats beneath the surface.
A new Bad Religion album is like a bowl of tomato soup. It's not the most complex or flashy offering, but you more or less know what you're getting, and it can be comforting when you need it most. The pioneering Los Angeles punk group's 16th studio album was recorded in eight days, with lyrics inspired by frontman Greg Graffin's relationship with his son.
As a veteran group, it would be easy to go through the motions at this point, but for their 16th album, True North, Bad Religion are still fully inspired and delivering sturdy, memorable, and solidly crafted material. Released on guitarist Brett Gurewitz's Epitaph Records, after more than 250 songs, the founding member clearly knows what works for the band, and he sticks to the formula of uptempo, muscular anthems with chunky guitar parts and contemplative lyrics. Vocalist Greg Graffin continues to question the government, Christianity, and American society at large, sounding expressive, with a little less grit than usual, but tireless.
There was a time when it seemed that Socratic punks Bad Religion had lost their way. But just when fans thought the L.A. band was buried under a string of muddled and depleted major label efforts, the band retreated back to its scorched-Earth style of thinking man’s pop-punk. Now 11 years into their artistic resurgence, Bad Religion sound younger than they did a decade ago.
LA punk rock veterans return with an overpowering 16th studio album. Ian Winwood 2013 True North features a song titled Robin Hood in Reverse, a frenetically paced number packed with chorus-sized verses that will be familiar to anyone who, over the years, has found pleasure in the music made by Bad Religion. The track takes as its subject matter the US Supreme Court’s recent ruling that multi-national corporations can, in the eyes of the law, be counted as people, as individuals.
Well, the most articulate punk band of them all, Bad Religion, finally went and did it: There’s a song simply called “[Expletive] You” on “True North.” But don’t consider that any sign of burnout or laziness; rather, that simple celebration of going for the most blunt of verbal weapons is part of the big picture on “True North,” in which Bad Religion shaves its anti-establishment messages down to bare essentials and sounds practically feral. Barbed but melodic guitar riffs and circle-pit-igniting drums drive these tirades against greed, vanity, and cruelty. Though with Dr.
When it comes to the punk rock old guard, bands don’t really come any more revered, or established, than Bad Religion. True North, their sixteenth studio effort, arrives at the dawn of the band’s thirty-third year, with the original lineup, despite all manner of reshuffles down the decades, three-quarters intact, with their only consistent member, frontman Greg Graffin, continuing to lead the charge. Graffin is surely the most overqualified man in punk – he has a PhD in Zoology and combines band duties with a position as a Professor of Life Sciences at Cornell University – and you expect lyrical intelligence to stem from such an overtly academic background; indeed, his sharp, world-weary songwriting style has long been a key component of the Bad Religion arsenal.
By their sixteenth album, it’s fair to say that SoCal melodic hardcore elder statesmen Bad Religion’s style and themes are pretty well established. That said, after more than thirty years together (barring a couple of extended breaks), ‘True North’ makes a strong attempt to breathe new life into the songwriting partnership of Greg Graffin and Brett Gurewitz by utilising the tried and tested method of getting back to their roots - in fact, Pennywise guitarist Fletcher Dragge revealed that ‘True North’ was intended to act as a sequel of sorts to 1989 album ‘No Control’. While ‘True North’ doesn’t often hit the heights of that, or even predecessor ‘Suffer’, there’s plenty here to keep fans of the band very happy indeed.