The music has the furious beat and driving buzz saw guitars of classic punk rock, but when a vocal chorus cuts in, it is surprisingly harmonious and emotionally evocative, reminiscent of The Beatles or The Everly Brothers. This is a sonic contradiction that works to stunning effect. It is also a sound that has come to define one of the world’s most original rock bands, BAD RELIGION.To call Bad Religion simply a punk band is akin to labeling the Who a mod band, or Pet Sounds-era Beach Boys surf music. True, these bands were each defined by a time and a place --and you can definitely hear echoes of the Los Angeles punk scene in Bad Religion's melodic and energetic music. But like the other bands, Bad Religion has both honored and yet completely transcended their roots. Their newest effort "The Empire Strikes First" is no mere hardcore revivalism; it is, in fact, the complete evolution of punk music, a record that redefines a genre the band helped to popularize. If you love punk rock, this disc will surely quench your thirst like no other, and if you’re simply looking for an incredibly vital and inspiring rock record, the same holds true.
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