Against the Grain is the fifth album (and seventh release overall) by punk rock band Bad Religion released on November 23, 1990. This was the last album recorded with drummer Pete Finestone who left in 1991 to concentrate with his new project The Fishermen. Following his departure, the band's music would take a different direction on their next album, 1992's Generator. Against the Grain was also the first Bad Religion album not to feature a lineup change from after two consecutive studio albums.
Like Bad Religion's previous two albums, Suffer and No Control, and subsequent album, Generator, Against the Grain is considered by many to be the band's greatest album, and it contains many songs that are constantly cited as the band's best, including "Faith Alone", "21st Century (Digital Boy)", "Anesthesia", "Against the Grain", "God Song" and "Modern Man". Other favorites are "Get Off", "Flat Earth Society", and "Walk Away", but are rarely played live. "Walk Away" has never been played live once, despite being one of their greatest songs. Despite no promotion by radio and television, Against The Grain managed to sell over 100,000 copies. A tiny part of the album's title track is played in a segment of the same name on The Dan Patrick Show.
Against the Grain was released shortly after the conclusion of the No Control tour which had lasted until the middle of 1990. The album was highly anticipated by both music critics and fans as a result of the band's success with their 1988 post-reunion album Suffer and its 1989 follow-up No Control. While Against the Grain still failed to break Bad Religion into mainstream audiences, it was the first 100,000 seller, and showed how quickly they were growing. By 1992, the album had sold approximately 90,000 copies.
The album has received generally favorable reviews in the years since its initial release. Allmusic's Johnny Loftus said that Against the Grain "found the band's edge honed sharper than it had been in years", and claimed that "Bad Religion had always warned against the excesses of the future and the assimilation of individuality. But the gospel cut deeper with Against the Grain. Songs began in an instant, with the single crack of a snare drum signaling the beginning of another screed."
The album cover of Against the Grain depicts rows of corn that, with the exception of one, bear right-facing, missile-tipped stalks. The lone ear of corn faces left. Against the Grain is Bad Religion's third album (after Into the Unknown and No Control) not to display their classic font on the cover. It is also their first album cover not to display the band's name or the title of the album (the second being The Empire Strikes First).
The tray card features an image of an arrow behind a corn in purple background. The back cover has the same image, but the background is white and the corn is yellow. The lyrics and the credits can be seen in the booklet as well as images of the band members.