Bad Religion – True North LP


When I heard that Bad Religion was releasing a new album so quick after their last one, The Dissent Of Man, I was a little worried. Yeah, I was part of the minority that did enjoy that album, but since their records are generally a bit more spaced out these days I thought that True North sound a bit rushed. After reading an interview with founding member Brett Gurewitz a few months prior to True North‘s release my hopes soared sky high.  When fellow California punk band Pennywise submitted their latest album to his label, Epitaph, he said he was instantly inspired. Their straight forward and uncomplicated punk record made him want to write a BR record similar to No Control.

Now it’s no secret I’m a BR fanatic, I love everything they do. Yeah they may have gone through lesser periods of their career but they still consistently put out good records. Regardless of some minor stylistic changes they are still all pretty awesome through and through, and let’s face it, it’d be impossible for them to release 15 versions of Suffer and still exist 32 years after their formation.

When I dropped the needle on this record I was completely stunned. Having been recorded to tape it already had a similar vibe to some of the holy trinity records – Suffer, No Control, and Against The Grain. But the thing that stunned me most was that the formula of a Bad Religion song, which is now tattooed onto my brain, had changed. For the past ten years I could play an air guitar solo along to any Bad Religion song the first time I heard it. It’s not that they are mundane or repetitive, no not at all. It’s just that I can tell who wrote which song and where they’d put what element. Does that make sense? They completely threw the formula out on this one here because it is way shorter and more unexpected.

They are back to writing fast punk songs, they still have a few ballads, and there is even a Daredevil-esque Brett fronted track! I love this record, and apparently so do the fans. True North is their first record to peak Billboard’s top 20 in their entire career. I hope the continue down this path for the next one but maybe give themselves some space to let this one sink in a bit more. Still gotta get the dictionary out and put in time…

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