14 Songs, 39 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Released at the low ebb of the George W. Bush years, The Empire Strikes First is a deliciously satisfying but bittersweet entry in the Bad Religion catalog, marking the point when American politics caught up to the dystopian warnings that Bad Religion had been singing about for 20 years. The atrocities of the War on Terror fueled Bad Religion's creativity and helped the band produce some of its best material in years, including “Atheist Peace,” “Let Them Eat War," and “The Empire Strikes First,” a fight song for the utterly disgusted and dispossessed. “To Another Abyss” might contain the darkest lyrics of any Bad Religion song, but is also expresses vulnerability—you can hear that singer Greg Graffin is beyond the point of sloganeering and has been pushed to emotional pain by the corrosive decisions of his government. The album’s essential song is “Boot Stamping on a Human Face Forever,” which references a quote by writer George Orwell: "If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

Released at the low ebb of the George W. Bush years, The Empire Strikes First is a deliciously satisfying but bittersweet entry in the Bad Religion catalog, marking the point when American politics caught up to the dystopian warnings that Bad Religion had been singing about for 20 years. The atrocities of the War on Terror fueled Bad Religion's creativity and helped the band produce some of its best material in years, including “Atheist Peace,” “Let Them Eat War," and “The Empire Strikes First,” a fight song for the utterly disgusted and dispossessed. “To Another Abyss” might contain the darkest lyrics of any Bad Religion song, but is also expresses vulnerability—you can hear that singer Greg Graffin is beyond the point of sloganeering and has been pushed to emotional pain by the corrosive decisions of his government. The album’s essential song is “Boot Stamping on a Human Face Forever,” which references a quote by writer George Orwell: "If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.”

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