After 20 years of socially informing the world and challenging the politics and religion of society, you figure you might run out of things to say and/or ways to say them. Not with Bad Religion. It would almost seem that the older they get, the more vile they spit and if "The Empire Strikes First" is any indication, it could be another great 20 years.
Bad Religion is back in the fold with a new album that finds themselves mixing their aggression with a purposeful melodic side to get their message and music across. Throughout the fourteen songs that comprise "The Empire Strikes First," BR fire opinions left and right on the current world situations and where this world may be headed. And what keeps this idea fresh and interesting is that the music does a great job at matching the mood of the vocals. Many times bands just go all out and the aggression is misplaced, not here. Bad Religion has always had a knack for making a song more meaningful by creating a mood that musically, takes the vocals and lyrics to a different level.
And while where on the subject of lyrics, Greg Gaffin seems to get more insightful as the years go by. One of the best parts of listening to a Bad Religion song has always been the lyrical content. Greg Gaffin crafts some the deepest and more verbally challenging songs that punk rock has ever seen. It's easy to scream about change and issues, it's another thing to make sense of it and do it intelligently.
Bad Religion is an icon, not only in the punk rock world, but in the world of heavy music itself. This genre loses more icons to selling out and not knowing when to stop. It's good to see Bad Religion still carrying along with what always made them popular and made them a band that punks, hardcore kids and metal heads could identify with. Simply put, their legends and their legions of fans and great records speak for themselves. "The Empire Strikes First" delivers on every front and is another great record by a great band.
Pit grade: 10 out of 10