The Empire Strikes First

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The Empire Strikes First
Studio album by
ReleasedJune 8, 2004 (2004-06-08)
RecordedNovember 2003 - February 2004
StudioSound City in Los Angeles
GenrePunk rock
ProducerBrett Gurewitz, Greg Graffin
Bad Religion chronology
Punk Rock Songs
The Empire Strikes First
New Maps of Hell

The Empire Strikes First is the thirteenth studio album by Bad Religion, released on June 8, 2004. The album is heavily influenced by the then-current Iraq War (most notably in the songs "Atheist Peace", "Let Them Eat War" and the title track) and also has some nods to George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (the song title "Boot Stamping on a Human Face Forever" as well as the line "you deserve Two Minute Hate" in the title track are direct references to the book), the latter most likely inspired by the PATRIOT Act.


"Los Angeles Is Burning" was released to radio on April 27, 2004.[1] The Empire Strikes First was released on June 8, 2004. In October, the band went on a tour of the US with Rise Against.[2]


Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic3/5 stars[4]
IGN9/10 [5]
Pitchfork8.2/10 [9]
RTÉ4/5 stars[7]
Robert Christgau(choice cut)[6]
Rolling Stone3/5 stars[8]

It peaked at number 40 on the Billboard 200 album chart,[10] the highest position the band had attained at the time. The album scored a minor radio hit with, "Los Angeles Is Burning", which also reached No. 40 on the Billboard modern rock tracks chart.

Track listing[edit]

2."Sinister Rouge"Graffin1:53
3."Social Suicide"Graffin1:35
4."Atheist Peace"Graffin1:57
5."All There Is"Gurewitz2:57
6."Los Angeles Is Burning"Gurewitz3:23
7."Let Them Eat War"Gurewitz, Francis, Wackerman, Baker, Bentley2:57
8."God's Love"Graffin2:32
9."To Another Abyss"Graffin4:07
10."The Quickening"Gurewitz, Wackerman, Chris Wollard2:19
11."The Empire Strikes First"Gurewitz, Baker3:23
12."Beyond Electric Dreams"Gurewitz, Wackerman, Wollard4:02
13."Boot Stamping on a Human Face Forever"Gurewitz3:49
14."Live Again (The Fall of Man)"Graffin3:35


Bad Religion[edit]

Additional personnel[edit]


  • David Bragger – violin on "Atheist Peace"
  • Mike Campbell – guitar on "Los Angeles is Burning"
  • Sage Francis – guest vocals on "Let Them Eat War"
  • John Ginty – Hammond B-3 on "Los Angeles is Burning"
  • Leopold Ross – Sonic Alienator on "Beyond Electric Dreams"
  • Claude Sarne – goth choir soprano on "Sinister Rouge"


  • Atticus Ross – programming
  • Joe Barresi – engineer, mixing
  • Tom Baker – mastering
  • Pete Martinez – assistant engineer
  • June Murakawa – assistant engineer
  • Nick Pritchard – design
  • Sean Murphy – photography
  • Matt Rubin – photography
  • Hans Buscher - Guitar Tech

Release history[edit]

Country Release date
United Kingdom June 7, 2004 (2004-06-07)
United States June 8, 2004 (2004-06-08)


Album - Billboard (North America)

Year Chart Position
2004 The Billboard 200 40
Top independent albums 2
Top Internet albums 40

Singles - Billboard (North America)

Year Single Chart Position
2004 "Los Angeles Is Burning" Modern rock tracks 40


  1. ^ "FMQB Airplay Archive: Modern Rock". Friday Morning Quarterback Album Report, Incorporated. Archived from the original on March 22, 2013. Retrieved October 30, 2016.
  2. ^ UG Team (August 27, 2004). "In Brief: Marilyn Manson, Used, Slipknot, Bad Religion, Fu Manchu". Ultimate Guitar. Retrieved November 12, 2017.
  3. ^ "The Empire Strikes First by Bad Religion". Retrieved 3 October 2016.
  4. ^ AllMusic
  5. ^ JR (July 19, 2004). "The Empire Strikes First". IGN. Archived from the original on May 28, 2012. Retrieved July 19, 2017.
  6. ^ "Robert Christgau: CG: bad religion". Retrieved 3 October 2016.
  7. ^ "Bad Religion - The Empire Strikes First". RTÉ News. June 30, 2004.
  8. ^ Miller, Kirk (July 8, 2004). "The Empire Strikes First Review". Archived from the original on 11 March 2007. Retrieved 3 October 2016.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  9. ^
  10. ^ "The Empire Strikes First's entry at". Retrieved 2007-11-06.

External links[edit]