True North (album)

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True North
Bad Religion - True North.jpg
Studio album by Bad Religion
Released January 22, 2013
Recorded July–August 2012
Genre Melodic hardcore, punk rock, hardcore punk
Length 36:17
Label Epitaph
Producer Brett Gurewitz and Joe Barresi
Bad Religion chronology
The Dissent of Man
True North
Christmas Songs
Singles from True North
  1. "Fuck You"
    Released: November 6, 2012
  2. "True North"
    Released: December 18, 2012

True North is the sixteenth studio album by the California punk rock band Bad Religion, which was released on January 22, 2013. After touring in support of their previous album The Dissent of Man (2010), Bad Religion began writing new material for an album that was planned for release in 2012. During their 2011 tour, frontman Greg Graffin stated that Bad Religion would make "one more album and then all join the navy, do honest work", which led to speculation that they were breaking up, although this turned out not to be the case.[1] The recording sessions took place in July and August 2012 at Joe's House of Compression, a studio owned by Joe Barresi, who produced the album.

True North was met with positive reviews upon release, and peaked at number 19 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, becoming Bad Religion's first album to crack the top 20 and their highest ever peak on that chart in their career.[2] This would be the last album to feature both Hetson and Wackerman following their departures from the band in April 2013 and October 2015 respectively.


In an April 2011 interview with The Washington Examiner, guitarist Brian Baker was asked if Bad Religion was going to make a follow-up to The Dissent of Man, and responded, "It's all very punk [attitude] just like it's always been. We will record when we have enough songs. For us, it just kind of happens."[3] During their show in Boston, Massachusetts on April 29, 2011, frontman Greg Graffin said "after this year you probably won't be seeing much more of us. We're going to try one more album and then all join the navy, do honest work";[4][5] this led to rumors that True North was going to be Bad Religion's final album or that the band was going to break up, which were retracted by Graffin.[1] In an interview at the KROQ Weenie Roast on June 4, 2011, Graffin stated that Bad Religion was planning to record and release their sixteenth studio album in 2012, while bassist Jay Bentley mentioned an early 2012 timeframe for going back into the studio in an interview at Live 105's BFD festival, which took place on the day after the Weenie Roast.[6]


On June 4, 2012, Bentley confirmed in a post on the message board of the band's fan site The Bad Religion Page that they were expected to begin recording their new album in July and August.[7] A week later, he revealed that guitarist Brett Gurewitz and Joe Barresi were going to produce it.[8] On July 23, the band uploaded a picture to Bad Religion's Facebook page of all the members (except Greg Hetson, who took the picture) in the studio with the caption, "here we go again," indicating that work on their sixteenth studio album had begun. On August 22, Gurewitz tweeted that they were mixing the album, and a month later, he tweeted that the band was finishing it.[9] During Bad Religion's performance at the En Vivo festival in Spain in September 2012, Graffin stated that True North was supposed to be released by Christmas, although this turned out not to be the case.[10]


On January 15, 2013, the band started streaming the album on their YouTube page. Singles to promote True North were "Fuck You" and the title track. The latter was released to radio on January 29, 2013.[11]


Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 75/100 [12]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[13]
Alternative Press 4/5 stars [14]
The A.V. Club B+ [15]
BBC Music 9/10 stars [16]
Consequence of Sound 3.5/5 stars[17]
Loudwire 4.5/5 stars [18]
Metal Ireland 3.9/5 stars [19]
Mojo 3/5 stars [14]
PopMatters 8/10 stars [20]

Critical response[edit]

True North has received positive reviews. AllMusic writer Jason Lymangrover gave the album three stars out of five, and states that "for their 16th album, True North, Bad Religion are still fully inspired and delivering sturdy, memorable, and solidly crafted material." For the music and lyrics, he states that guitarist Brett Gurewitz "clearly knows what works for the band, and he sticks to the formula of uptempo, muscular anthems with chunky guitar parts and contemplative lyrics" and adds that vocalist Greg Graffin "continues to question the government, Christianity, and American society at large, sounding expressive, with a little less grit than usual, but tireless." Lymangrover also claims that True North "shows flashes of their earlier work, and is a step up from their last album, 2010's The Dissent of Man, in terms of aggression" and describes the album as "the best material they've written since adding a third guitarist."[13]

Sam Gnerre, staff writer of Los Angeles Daily News, claims that the album "still finds room for the band's knack for intelligent wordplay amid the maelstrom, working in a Sham 69 reference on 'Robin Hood in Reverse' and warned that 'popular consensus doesn't make it right' on 'Popular Consensus.'" He also describes "My Head Is Full of Ghosts" and "In Their Hearts Is Right" as a "clever song structure vocal interplay" while he claims that "Nothing to Dismay" has its "most fist-shaking sing-along chorus".[21]

Metal Ireland stated "When writing True North, the band imposed a rule on themselves: no songs longer than three minutes. This has worked well, as it's their best album since 'Against the Grain'."[19]

Commercial performance[edit]

True North managed to sell 18,295 copies in the United States in its first week, and by the end of January 2013, it had reached number 19 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, marking Bad Religion's first ever top-20 album and highest ever peak on that chart in their entire 34 year career.[22]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "True North"   Graffin 1:56
2. "Past Is Dead"   Graffin 2:39
3. "Robin Hood in Reverse"   Gurewitz 2:53
4. "Land of Endless Greed"   Graffin 1:53
5. "Fuck You"   Graffin 2:14
6. "Dharma and the Bomb"   Gurewitz 2:00
7. "Hello Cruel World"   Gurewitz 3:50
8. "Vanity"   Gurewitz 1:01
9. "In Their Hearts is Right"   Graffin 1:59
10. "Crisis Time"   Graffin 2:39
11. "Dept. of False Hope"   Gurewitz 2:40
12. "Nothing to Dismay"   Graffin 2:07
13. "Popular Consensus"   Graffin 1:53
14. "My Head Is Full of Ghosts"   Gurewitz 1:46
15. "The Island"   Graffin 1:28
16. "Changing Tide"   Graffin 2:18
Total length:



  1. ^ a b "Bad Religion's 'True North' Q&A: 'We're Still Creating Our Legacy'". Billboard. January 14, 2013. Retrieved 2013-01-15. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Bad Religion on a recruiting tour". The Washington Examiner. April 24, 2011. Retrieved 2012-11-05. 
  4. ^ "Guitar Center interview with Greg and Brett". The Bad Religion Page. May 6, 2011. Retrieved 2012-11-05. 
  5. ^ "Bad Religion Next Album Will Be Their Last". May 16, 2011. Retrieved 2012-11-05. 
  6. ^ "A couple of interviews and early news about a new album". The Bad Religion Page. June 7, 2011. Retrieved 2012-11-05. 
  7. ^ "Ask Jay - 25¢ per question". The Bad Religion Page. June 4, 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-05. 
  8. ^ "Ask Jay - 25¢ per question". The Bad Religion Page. June 4, 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-05. 
  9. ^ "2012 Album Diary". The Bad Religion Page. August 22, 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-05. 
  10. ^ "Some details about the upcoming record". 2012 Album Diary. October 11, 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-05. 
  11. ^ " Alternative eWeekly". AllAccess. January 22, 2013. Retrieved July 3, 2016. 
  12. ^ "True North by Bad Religion". Retrieved 3 October 2016. 
  13. ^ a b "AllMusic review". 
  14. ^ a b "True North by Bad Religion". Retrieved 3 October 2016. 
  15. ^ "Bad Religion: True North". 22 January 2013. Retrieved 3 October 2016. 
  16. ^ Winwood, Ian. "BBC - Music - Review of Bad Religion - True North". Retrieved 3 October 2016. 
  17. ^ "Album Review: Bad Religion – True North". 25 January 2013. Retrieved 3 October 2016. 
  18. ^ "Bad Religion, 'True North' – Album Review". Retrieved 3 October 2016. 
  19. ^ a b " - » Bad Religion - 'True North'". Retrieved 3 October 2016. 
  20. ^ "Bad Religion: True North". Retrieved 3 October 2016. 
  21. ^ "CD Review: Bad Religion, 'True North'". LA Daily News. January 19, 2013. Retrieved 2013-01-20. 
  22. ^ "Bad Religion Chart Career High". Drew Beringer. January 30, 2013. Retrieved January 31, 2013. 

External links[edit]