Year 5, Day 40: The Empire Strikes (First)

Year 5, Day 40: Bad Religion – The Empire Strikes First

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Track List

  1. Overture
  2. Sinister Rouge
  3. Social Suicide
  4. Atheist Peace
  5. All There Is
  6. Los Angels 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)

About the Album

The Empire Strikes First is the thirteenth studio album from punk band, Bad Religion. The Album was recorded from November 2003 to February 2004 and was released on June 8th 2004 through Epitaph Records. The album peaked at numbet forty on the Billboard 200 and single Los Angeles is Burning peaked at number forty on Top Modern Rock Tracks.

Thoughts on the album

So here we are, the final album of year five. We certainly had a blast and we are certainly going out with one. Bad Religion is one of my favorite bands. They create socially (and politically) progressive music, without getting into cliches or “selling out” or without losing their aggressiveness or their edge. Their mix of hardcore and melodic is a prefect match, especially with today’s album, The Empire Strikes First. If this album was made by any other, they would be accused of sloganneering. But Bad Religion, has been around so long and honed their skill at their craft and their insight, that this album is one of most literate statements ever.

It would seem that even the most political of songs on The Empire Strikes Firstwere written with longevity in mind. Case in point, the title track, The Empire Strikes First, is a sarcastic glance/look at “preemptive strike” policy…

We strike first

And we’re unrehearsed

Here we go again to stage the greatest show on heaven and earth

Come on, get your money’s worth

One of the excellent features of this album, and of Bad Religion in general is the songwriting duo of Graffin/Gurewitz. This duo has been known for creating melodic punk tracks that are huge and memorable. Lead single Los Angeles is Burning, features such a melodic and soaring chorus, that it’s the type of chorus that you’ll find yourself singing along to without even noticing you are.

All There Is, is one of more memorable and accomplished arrangements on the album. It has a pleasing (and wonderful) harmony and pauses that are perfect before the band explodes into the chorus. Sinister Rouge is a rager. The drums power the song, so much so that they try out double bass drumming and it works to perfection. Social Suicide may be my favorite track from his album. A very short song that shows off the aggressive riffs and Greg Graffin‘s voice excellently.

Conclusion

Well that is all folks. The Empire Strikes First is an amazing album. While it is nothing like albums, The Dissent of Man or Suffer, it is still an excellent album. While it stylistically didn’t return to Suffer era, it showed that the band was moving forward with their guns (and guitar riffs) ablaze. The Empire Strikes First is every bit as exciting, rocking, and relevant, even 13 years later.

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