Bad Religion True North Review
Bad Religion released its newest album, True North, yesterday both online and in stores under Epitaph Records. Since releasing their first album How Could Hell Be Any Worse? in 1982, Bad Religion has been putting out album after album of what is considered by many (this writer included) to be among the most influential punk music in existence. True North marks the 16th studio album by the band, and includes three members of the original Bad Religion lineup (Greg Graffin – vocals, Brett Gurewitz – lead guitar, and Jay Bentley – bass guitar). The remaining band personnel includes longtime drummer Brooks Wackerman and guitarists Greg Hetson and Brian Baker. Let’s jump into the review!
True North is 100% Bad Religion. One of the most unique things about Bad Religion is that throughout their entire 30+ years of releasing music, they have always managed to find a unique sound and play on it as a kind of theme for their albums. For instance, their 1988 album Suffer is mostly short but more intense ballads usually with only one chorus and very little repetition. The Process of Belief from 2002 is clearly a more studio polished record, with much more of the harmonizing “oohs” and “ahhs” that Bad Religion is especially known for, plus much more focus on choruses and guitar lines. Listening to Bad Religion discography in chronological order is a treat, because you can actually listen to their progression of style throughout the years.
What pleases me the most about True North is that it seems to be a compilation of their many styles. I hear touches of their early 80s roots in tracks like “Vanity” (track 8) and “The Land of Endless Greed” (track 4), I hear an influence of albums such as New Maps of Hell, released in 2007, and the aforementioned The Process of Belief in songs such as “Crisis Time” (track 10) and “The Changing Tide” (track 16). It creates a pleasant blend of absolutely everything that has made Bad Religion one of the most masterfully lasting bands of all time.
What will certainly become the more popular songs from True North include the two singles, “True North” and “Fuck You.” Both are addicting to the ears and satisfying in their lyricism. After all, I think we can all agree that “Sometimes, the easiest thing to do, is say fuck you.”
Overall, True North delivers as a welcome addition to the Bad Religion discography. After so many years, the band still clearly has a passion for putting meticulous effort into their performances. The blend of styles in each track doesn’t mean that the album sounds dated or tired, rather True North manages to act as both a homage to earlier years while still standing alone as a completely new creation. 4/5 stars.