Epitaph - 2004 - 39 minutes

"But even 10 million souls marching in February couldn't stop the worst." Few can make righteous anger as hummable as punk icons Bad Religion and on 'The Empire Strikes First' there's plenty to sing along with.

If the track 'Sorrow' from their 2002 comeback 'The Process of Belief' offered post 11 September hope that there were better times ahead, then 'Empire...' is grounded in the no fooling of the here and now. Turning guitars on the Bush administration, 'Let Them Eat War' and the title track rank with the very best of Bad Religion's 24-year career - with the rest not far behind.

Singer Greg Graffin has said that the songs here are also general enough that, in ten years, Bad Religion won't be embarrassed they wrote them. You'd like to think that by then, he won't still have to sing about the same mistakes. But for these troubled times, they remain the men of the hour.

Harry Guerin

Tracklisting: Overture - Sinister Rouge - Social Suicide - Atheist Peace - All There Is - Los Angeles Is Burning - Let Them Eat War - God's Love - To Another Abyss - The Quickening - The Empire Strikes First - Beyond Electric Dreams - Boot Stamping on a Human Face Forever - Live Again - The Fall of Man