- Released: October 1, 2004
- Label: Epitaph / Ada
Q - p.1063 stars out of 5
- "Bad Religion know how to thrill and THE EMPIRE STRIKES FIRST is a thrill from first to last."
Magnet - p.83
"[P]otent and timely....The pedigree of the songs on THE EMPIRE STRIKES FIRST is outstanding."
CMJ - p.4
"[T]he politially charged songs have an added weight - another lesson worth paying attention to."
CMJ - p.31
"[Graffin] attacks American jingoism and 'nation building' with a passion and verve absent in his voice for too long."
- 2.Sinister Rogue
- 3.Social Suicide
- 4.Atheist Peace
- 5.All There Is
- 6.Los Angeles Is Burning
- 7.Let Them Eat War
- 8.God's Love
- 9.To Another Abyss
- 10.The Quickening
- 11.The Empire Strikes First
- 12.Beyond Electric Dreams
- 13.Boot Stamping on a Human Face Forever
- 14.Live Again (The Fall of Man)
Bad Religion: Greg Graffin (vocals); Greg Hetson, Brett Gurewitz (guitar, background vocals); Brian Baker (guitar); Jay Bentley (bass, background vocals); Brooks Wackerman (drums).
Bad Religion: Greg Graffin (vocals); Brett Gurewitz, Brian Baker (guitar, background vocals); Greg Hetson (guitar); Jay Bentley (bass instrument, background vocals); Brooks Wackerman (drums, percussion).
A sense of justice and moral outrage is frequently part of punk's ethos, and Bad Religion has willfully flown this flag since the early 1980s. The title of the band's 2004 release, THE EMPIRE STRIKES FIRST, and the songs "Let Them Eat War" and "Sinister Rouge" indicate that Bad Religion has a thing or two to say about United States foreign policy and the George W. Bush administration, among other things. Driving guitars, thundering bass, and jackhammer drums create a sonic assault that reinforces the group's ideological fervor and underscores the pitch of its rage.
Though Bad Religion borrows from the legacy of punk, its music does not fall strictly under that rubric. The pop melodicism of the band's song structures and sing-along choruses, along with heavy-metal time changes and blistering guitar solos, help broaden its appeal, as does the range of social and political issues addressed in the group's lyrics. THE EMPIRE STRIKES FIRST shows Bad Religion at the top of its game, mining the musical and topical principles that made its previous releases popular, while losing none of the fire or urgency that keeps its approach vital.