Bad Religion - True North

Gimme that old-time Religion

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.
Cramming 16 compellingly
urgent refusenik anthems into
an impressively nippy 35
minutes, True North, their
16th studio set, adopts a
(largely) convincing anti-corporate
stance and – at its
plutocrat-baiting best on
Robin Hood In Reverse and
the self-explanatory Fuck
You – it even laces their
pugnacious punk-pop with a
sprinkling of the raw, old-skool
hardcore malice they first
doled out on their seething
1982 debut How Could Hell
Be Any Worse?.

It stops short of ravaging
the commercial hand that
feeds, however, ensuring that
brief, scorched earth blasts
such as Vertigo are balanced
out by the glossier, radio-friendly
sheen of Nothing To
Dismay and the angsty slow
burn of Hello Cruel World.
There’s nothing intrinsically
wrong with the Lemonheads-style
chug of the remainder,
though it plants its flag firmly
in the same sonic terrain they
occupied during 2010’s The
Dissent Of Man.

3 stars 3 stars 3 stars

Epitaph | EPIT 7228-2 A (CD / LP)

Reviewed by Tim Peacock
<< Back to Issue 411

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