Friday, January 18, 2013

Bad Religion: "True North" (album review)

It doesn't matter what the genre, you'll be hard-pressed to find a band as articulate and passionate (and who will make you reach for a thesaurus as frequently) as punk legends Bad Religion.

The band are set to do it all one more time as they release their latest studio album, True North, on January 22nd.

The title track sees the band in good form, performing a track that wouldn't sound out of place on Suffer.  The guitar shredding at the outset of "Fuck You" is some of the best of the band's catalogue, and it leads into a catchy high octane ass-kicker.  "Nothing To Dismay" is sure to be a defiant fist-pumping live favorite.

There are some new twists on the record.  Some work well, like the gritty greasy psychobilly rumble on "Dharma & the Bomb".  Others don't work quite so well.  A prime example being "The Past Is Dead" which features some unfortunate near-crooning from Greg Graffin before it explodes.  "Hello Cruel World" is the kind of mid tempo throwaway that littered the band's late-90s work.

Politics, as always, is crucial to the band's success.  Songs like "Robin Hood In Reverse", "Popular Consensus", and "Dept. of False Hope" state their agenda forcefully, even if I rarely agree with what they believe.

After stumbling for a patch in the '90s it's clear that Bad Religion have righted the ship and are in a groove that's unshakable.  While they may not be at their creative apex, the band has made a string of consitently good records.  True North only adds to the already impressive body of work.

Bad Religion play the Kool Haus in Toronto on March 31st.

Best tracks: "Fuck You", "Nothing To Dismay"

Track listing for True North:
  • True North
  • The Past Is Dead
  • Robin Hood In Reverse
  • Land of Endless Greed
  • Fuck You
  • Dharma and the Bomb
  • Hello Cruel World
  • Vanity
  • In Their Hearts Is Right
  • Crisis Time
  • Dept. of False Hope
  • Nothing To Dismay
  • Popular Consensus
  • My Head Is Full of Ghosts
  • The Island
  • Changing Tide

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