The following review was written by me for The Metal Garage [...]
Bad Religion have done the same thing as the likes of AC/DC, Motorhead, Cannibal Corpse, by finding out what they're good at, and sticking to it for their entire career, and for Bad Religion that thing is punk rock. So with this, their fifteenth studio album, we should all know what to expect.
'The Empire Strikes First' begins with a slightly gothic intro, before kicking off to the speedy punk-fuelled 'Sinister Rouge', and 'Social Suicide'. Brett Gurewitz and Greg Graffin have always been praised for their song writing skill, and rightly so. There is a good variation of songs here, from the fast opening songs, the mid-tempo rock songs like 'To Another Abyss' and the slightly moving 'Boot Stamping On A Human Face', and the catchy sing along single 'Los Angles Is Burning', with it's sweet harmonies that are present on most Bad Religion songs. This variation is more than enough to keep the album interesting, with all the songs being of a decent quality.
Like many punk bands have been recently, Bad Religion have focussed their lyrics on the happenings of George Bush, but unlike most, Greg Graffin's lyrics are well thought out and intelligent. I've never been a fan of political lyrics but Greg Graffin at least knows what he's talking about. It's not all political though, with other topics being moral and social issues and about the world in general.
This is typical Bad Religion, and any fan of the band or punk rock in general will enjoy Empire Strikes First.