Despite frontman Greg Graffin’s tongue-in-cheek assertion that after this album they would “all join the navy, do honest work”, Bad Religion are showing no sign of slowing down despite most of the band members now being in their 50s.
True North, the band’s 16th album, has peaked at number 19 on the US Billboard charts, the band’s highest ever ranking, as well as hitting number 1 on the iTunes rock chart. For some bands this would signal a compromise to the mainstream, but when it comes to Bad Religion it simply means that the fans they have gathered over the last 34 years are now legion, despite belonging to straight-up punk fraternity.
Graffin’s lyrics are layered, angry and challenging, delivered in his distinctive voice just as powerful as it ever was. Frenzied guitar work and whiplash-fast drums underline the politically-charged material which is all written by either Graffin or guitarist ‘Mr. Brett’ Gurewitz. There’s some excellent stuff here – Robin Hood In Reverse, Past Is Dead, Popular Consensus and singles True North and Fuck You are all great tracks, and listening to the album in one sitting leaves you somewhat exhausted and a little knocked up, like being punched in the face. It’s a lesson in punk from the true masters.
BY JOSH FERGEUS
Best Track: Robin Hood In Reverse
If You Like These, You’ll Like This: NOFX, Sham 69, Rancid
In A Word: Energising