Customer Reviews: The Empire Strikes First
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on December 21, 2004
After the bad "No Substance" and the just okay "New America" Bad Religion finally delievered an awesome album with "The Process Of Belief". And now "Empire Strikes First" shows that "Process" wasn't a fluke. Bad Religion is back writing great songs again.

While Bad Religion retains their trademark sounds, there is a bit of a different feel this time around. Released pre-election, there is a newfound sense of urgency. Also continuing from Process of Belief, the underlying theme of religion is present throughout, questioning faith, and wondering why people so blindly follow it.

For those familiar with Bad Religion, if you like most of their stuff, you'll like this CD as well. For newer fans, you may want to check this out before getting into their older stuff like "No Control" or "Against The Grain"

For those who want to check out songs before buying, check out the best of the best:

"Atheist Peace"

"All There Is"

"Los Angeles Is Burning"

"Let Them Eat War"

"Live Again (The Fall of Man)"
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on June 26, 2006
I really don't understand how someone could NOT like this CD. I'd put "The Empire Strikes First" among my top 10 favorite CDs of all time. Although I may not agree with the message that Bad Religion is trying to send, I certainly love their music. One of the reasons why this band is so great is because almost none of their songs are similar to each other. These guys have been coming up with new material for almost two decades, and it's always interesting and fun to listen to. It's going to be very difficult, but I will try and select my favorites of this album below :

6. Los Angeles is Burning - Definitely the most relaxing track of the CD. The backing vocals help make this chorus one of the best parts of this CD.

7. Let Them Eat War - I like the message that this song sends. Its tempo helps support it, too, although the tempo does change a lot.

8. God's Love - The structure of this track is different from the others on this CD. Once again, the backing vocals in this song shine brightly.

11. The Empire Strikes First - Groovy, groovy, groovy. The title track will be stuck in your head forever, as it still is in mine. Very catchy track

Once you buy this CD, you will be listening to it all the way through all through the next year, or maybe even beyond that if you're like me. It may be considered as punk, but I just call it quality music. Thank you for your time.
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on June 17, 2004
After the Atlantic phase, most of which was without Brett Gurewitz and with outside producers, it seemed Bad Religion was done. I still remember listening to No Substance and The New America thinking that the glory days of BR were over. However, The Process of Belief reassured me. As they once did with the blistering Suffer, BR made another strong comeback years later, but would it last? There were enough new ideas on Process to keep things interesting, and it surely seemed like their last record. When I heard that a new one was coming, I got a little worried since I didn't think they could keep up the high level of quality.
However, after hearing this album, I realize how wrong I was. This band had shown considerable growth from Suffer through Recipe For Hate, adding a new dimension to their sound with each album. However, since Starnger Than Fiction, that had ended. I'[m more than ecstatic to say that they have returned to this formula, pushing the boundaries of their sound. The best tracks are the experimental ones and the hard rockers sound just a invigorated as on Process. In particular, 'Boot Stamping on a Human Face Forever' sounds like nothing else they've ever done and is instantly the most memorable track on the album. The Recipe for Hate direction that was taken to the next level on Process is pushed further here on the exceptional 'To Another Abyss' and 'Live Again', both of which sound like tracks from Recipe and Generator, just like 'Sorrow' did.
So far, I prefer the second part of the album, as more experimentation is done, but the first side rocks hard. You cannot go wrong with this one, it cements BR as one of the all-time greatest punk bands and keeps things interesting throughout. If you haven't listened to BR in a while, Process and this record are musts! You will understand once you hear them...
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on December 18, 2004
Another amazing release from one of the greatest punk, dare I say greatest bands on the planet? I've been a fan of Bad Religion for awhile now, I own every album, Generator being one of my favorites. It amazes me that this band is still making music after 25 years. This release is one of their best.

1) Overture - Intro

2) Sinister Rouge - The audible equivalent of being punched in the face. Great vocals. (5/5)

3) Social Suicide - Another fast song, not quite as fast as the first but just as lethal. (5/5)

4) Athiest Peace - Very good that Graffin has Docterate and knows what he's talking about. (5/5)

5) All There Is - "Once again, like a bullet as a friend, tell me; is that all there is?" Brillaint. (5/5)

6) Los Angeles is Burning - Very catchy, and it is, I live close enough to feel the heat. (5/5)

7) Let Them Eat War - Another catchy song, a little radio-friendly, but if it came on the radio, I'd listen to it. (5/5)

8) God's Love - It seems that something was lost, good backup vox, but it just doesnt hit. (4/5)

9) To Another Abyss - Slower, very good lyrics, proof that the band doesn't need blistering speed to rock. (4/5)

10) The Quickening - Another fast song, amazing chorus. (5/5)

11) The Empire Strikes First - Title track, great song to pump your fist to. (4.5/5)

12) Beyond Electric Dreams - Not quite as fast, but probably one of the best Bad Religion songs to date, great lyrics. (5/5)

13) Boot Stamping... - A different direction for Bad Religion, worst song on the album, but still very enjoyable, slower. (4/5)

14) Live Again... - Great ending song, another Bad Religion classic, reminds me of Process of Belief. (5/5)

All for all, Bad Religion have produced another amazing album, surely one of the best punk albums in the last 10 years. Cheers.
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on July 24, 2005
bad religion had a mid to late nineties downfall where they realesed a bunch of mediocore albums, but this one is back on the genius style BR had on there earlier albums.

Overture-musical intro

Sinister Rouge-10/10-excellent song, heavy guitar, and as always great lyrics.

Social Suicide-9.5/10-great song, i love the note that greg hits when he sing suicide.

Athiest Peace-9/10-Awsome song, completly openly atheistic, and really badreligions style.

All there is-10/10-Amazing. My second favorite song on the album. The chorus is amazing and the melody on the last line of the verse sound great.

Los Angeles is Burning-9/10-This one is so great, but a little to poppy. still really fun song.

Let them eat war-10/10-awsome guitar, my third favorite song, the rap verse is really great.

Gods Love-10/10-Favorite song on the album. Fast through the whole song until the middle where it gets kinda slow, and then makes a dramatic break into the speedy chorus. Excellent lyrics and this one is a BR classic.

To another Abyss-9.5/10-this one is slower but i really like the chorus.

THe Quickening-8.5/10-Not to memorible but still a very good song.

THe Empire strikes first-9.5/10-I really like this song, the chorus where they spell the E-M-P-I-R-E is really cool.

Beyon electric dreams-9/10-Weirdest lyrics on the album, but awsome nontheless.

the one with the long name-5/10-I can never remember this ones name, it like boot stamping or somthing like that (???). Worst song on the album but the guitars alright. THis ones actually kinda annoying.

Live Again(The fall of man)-9.5/10-great ending song, lots of fun, and very happy.

Thats it, a great BR album, so go get it, youll love it.
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on December 13, 2004
Bad Religion is one of the greatest bands in rock and roll history. That is not an opinion, it is a fact. They have influenced many bands and inspired many people. I am one of those people. The first CD I ever bought with my mom's lunch money was "All Ages". When I first heard the opening song, "I Wanna Conquer the World", I had tears in my eyes. Before listening to Bad Religion, I was a total hair/grunge/metal fan. I would never look back after this album. Every time I had enough money for a CD and a ride to the local record store, I bought a Bad Religion album. "Generator", "Against the Grain", "No Control", and "Suffer" were my next, followed by "Stranger Than Fiction", "The Grey Race", and "Recipe for Hate". I could name countless songs from each CD that makes me all gooey and happy inside. "Skyscraper", "Man on a Mission", "Too Much to Ask", "1000 More Fools", "Only Entertainment", "Anasthesia", "Parallel", "Better Off Dead", and "Do What You Want" are just a few.

Every album was just as good, if not better than the last. Each album unique, but still having the same sound. I finally bought the rest of them, "No Substance", "The New America", "80-85", "Process of Belief", "How Could Hell Be Any Worse", and "The Empire Strikes First".

"The Process of Belief" blew me away. It was their first release in like 4 years and I was kind of nervous. I was not disappointed and I think it's probably one of their best albums ever.

When I first heard "TESF", I thought "What the hell did you do, Bad Religion?" The same feeling I got with "Recipe" and "New America". But just like the latter albums, I realized I was ignorant and needed to listen to it a few times and grasp the musical genious behind it. "TESF" is by far my favorite album by Bad Religion. I know you may think I'm a complete idiot with other albums out there like "Generator" and "No Control". Greg Graffin's lyrics in this album are the best to date. More intelligent than ever before (not that they were even unintelligent), and the music has more rifts, solos, and melody than any other album. They went for something slightly different, actually totally different, and they hit the f*cking jack pot with it. I commend Bad Religion on their efforts and just want to say PICK UP THIS ALBUM NOW!

And this is long and pointless, but I'm bored.
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on July 7, 2005
I have read far too many reviews from so-called "punk purists" that unfairly dismiss this album as sounding "too commercial" and "unimpressive", when stacked against the large back-catalogue of Bad Religion's music. The force and overall impact that this album had on myself may cause others to develop an opinion of the contrary.

First of all, what about this record is NOT "punk rock" in all of its glory and bravado? This album is chock full of fist-pumping anthems that when delivered live, brought tears to my eyes. Fans of early Bad Religion's social and political lyrical content should love this album; Not just because of the strength of Greg Graffin's political views (The war economy is making new jobs/ But the people who benefit most /

Are breaking bread with their benevolent hosts) and personal convictions (In my rectory of doubt/

I kneel to pray like one devout/as time the great gray dreamless sleep/of a useless modern God), but he is also overall a better singer on this album than ever! The fact that he annunciates so clearly, and makes it so easy to absorb every word, makes each message that much stronger. Not to mention, for any die-hard fan of Bad Religion's trademark 3-part vocal harmonies, they just totally out-did themselves in that department. Just amazing beyond words.

I am a longtime Bad Religion fan, and this album contains many traits that I felt Bad Religion had lacked in their other albums: writing great songs. My definition of great (which of course, is my own opinion) are melodies that will stand the test of time and penetrate the memory of our current ADD-ridden generation (myself included), a strong musical composition that maintains a steady level of momentum, and most importantly, completely wrenched in human emotion. The Bush Administration, for all their undeniable flaws and crimes to humanity, have influenced some amazing art. The Empire Strikes First is a prime example of that raw emotion you can feel when you hear Graffin's voice shaking with fervor.

You can't fault Bad Religion for getting better with age. The album opens with an eerie, almost psychedelic instrumental intro, and then bursts out of nowhere into "Sinister Rouge"; which hits you like a ton of bricks with that infectious 3-part harmony delicately laid on top of a break-neck, double-bass drum speed punk riff. Moments like that should reaffirm that it is OK to be a punk band with great musicians.

Songs such as "Sinister", can be grouped along with "Let Them Eat War", "God's Love", "Los Angeles Is Burning", and "Live Again" as pure, heartfelt, mosh-pit sing-a-longs. All of them contain choruses that are strong in lyrical content, melodic hooks, and the ability to provoke further thought. This is another testament to why Bad Religion has gotten better with age, as it is now almost effortless for them to execute such magic.

The whole reason I was drawn to punk rock in the first place was not only am I a fan of lyrics that draw attention to questioning authority and defying social expectations, but I am also a lover of great songs. Bands like The Clash, The Sex Pistols, The Ramones, The Misfits... they all wrote essentially pop songs. They all wrote songs that had oodles of timeless melodies, and thusly, have lasted the test of time. People should appreciate when a band like Bad Religion can hone the same art as their founding punk rock forefathers, but with the advantage of new studio technology that enables us to hear everything so clearly, and therefore be able to truly soak in their entire sonic experience. This is simply nothing more than a record that has been a milestone in my life at 23 years of age. It's meaning will remain engraved in my hear forever, and that's what I believe is the reason we have music on our planet.
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on July 11, 2004
I absolutely love Bad Religion. I own every single one of their CDs (except Into The Unknown) and I love every single one of them. Even No Substance and The New America. So when I found out that there was a new Bad Religion album coming out a few months back, I absolutely could not wait. I heard the mp3 for "Sinister Rouge" and although it didn't get me hooked right away I ended up liking it the more I listened to it. So I waited until the new CD came out and I popped it in my CD player and this is what I thought about it
1)Overture- As far as intros go, this one is awesome, if it was an actual song I would love it so I'll give it a 3/5
2)Sinister Rouge- Wow! Talk about a transition between songs that really smacks you in the face. Classic Bad Religion. Awesome song 5/5
3)Social Suicide- Another great punk song 5/5
4)Atheist Peace- When I first heard this CD this was probably my favorite song on it, my only complaint is that it is way too short. They should have gone into another chorus to make it longer but still a great song 5/5
5)All There Is- Now this is my favorite song on the record. It's kind of a different sound for Bad Religion but still good 5/5
6)Los Angeles Is Burning- Didn't like this too much when I first heard it, but it has one of the catchiest choruses I've heard in a long time 5/5
7)Let Them Eat War- I didn't like this one that much either, but now it's starting to grow on me a bit 4/5
8)God's Love- Definatly seems kind of like a filler song, there isn't really much to it 3/5
9)To Another Abyss- A slower song on the CD it reminds me of something off of Recipe For Hate. But that's fine by me because it's my favorite Bad Religion CD 5/5
10)The Quickening- Kind of the same thing as God's Love except it has a rocking solo in the middle of the song 4/5
11)The Empire Strikes First- Reminds me a lot of "21st Century Digital Boy" but the two songs are about two completely different things and the lyrics aren't as good but I never really cared that much about lyrics anyway 4/5
12)Beyond Electric Dreams- This song has a really great title, only the song doesn't live up to it. It doesn't have a very good riff to start the song with and it doesn't get much better. While I will say this song is interesting, I don't think it's good 2/5
13)Boot Stamping On A Human Face Forever- Now thats a title. This is another one that reminds me of Recipe For Hate sounds kind of like "Struck A Nerve". At first I didn't like the chorus to this song because I thought it didn't fit the rest of the song but now its one of my favorite songs on the CD 5/5
14)Live Again (The Fall of Man)- Great song to end the CD with, one of my favorite Bad Religion songs of all time now. 5/5
Like I said this isn't the best Bad Religion CD but it is still a good one. I'm already looking forward to a new CD!!!!
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on June 8, 2004
Bad Religion has been synonymous with punk rock ever since they hit the scene with "how could hell be any worse" back in 1981. True, some might say that Bad Religion hit a sort of slump in their Atlantic Records days when Brett left the band, but those days are long gone. Bad Religion's status as the most prominent punk rock band was rekindled with the release of "The Process of Belief" in 2002, and I'm happy to say that they kept the fire burning with their next release, "The Empire Strikes First".
This cd, in my opinion, is BETTER than The Process of Belief simply because of it's diversity and incredible harmony. The second track, "Sinister Rouge", is brilliant, with catchy background vocals and a strong message. The fast paced rhythms continue throught the first half of the CD, until they hit their first single, the ever so catchy "Los Angeles is Burning". Some slower tracks, like "To Another Abyss" and "Boot Stamping..." aren't the typical fast paced songs you might expect from the early BR days, but they are still great tracks nonetheless. And as expected, they end on a fantastic harmonic epilogue with "live again".
Every Bad Religion fan should own this record - it's one hell of a strong release. My favorite songs would have to be "sinister rouge", "all there is", "LA is burning" and "boot stamping...".
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VINE VOICEon June 8, 2004
Following on the heels of THE PROCESS OF BELIEF, this album is highly political, openly atheistic, and totally rocking! The sound is very reminiscent of PROCESS, but with some more experimentation in form and style. There are fewer short-burst punk anthems, which is a good thing, IMO; BR is obviously evolving as a band, and letting the lyrics take center stage instead of the punk aesthetic. Not that the music is bad; it's great!
Released in an election year, it should come as no surprise that there's a lot of relevant songs here. SINISTER ROUGE, ATHEIST PEACE, LOS ANGELES IS BURNING, GOD'S LOVE, THE EMPIRE STRIKES FIRST ... practically the whole album seems to be speaking about the current world situation. Fans of the status quo, beware!
My favorite BR albums are GENERATOR and BELIEF. Well, those two, and now THE EMPIRE STRIKES FIRST.
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