Structured somewhat like a concept album, Empire begins with a quiet overture that leads into the first song. "Sinister Rouge" opens with a blast of guitar and drums surrounded by a choir of harmonized voices, adding a symphonic grandeur to the band's pure punk attack. What follows for the rest of the album's fourteen tracks is an alternating cadence between quick, hard-fast-rules hardcore tunes ("All There Is") and slower, more plaintive songs that come surprisingly close to balladry ("Boot Stamping on a Human Face Forever").
The mix between speeds and styles gives the album a good pace, making it more than just a collection of tracks, but two songs stand out as being far superior to the rest. The first single, "Los Angeles Is Burning," is a midtempo number that pulls together all of Bad Religion's best tricks -- beautiful harmonies, a catchy bridge and cutting guitars -- and fits all of the pieces together perfectly. The other standout is the title track, its anthemic chorus spelling out "E-M-P-I-R-E." It's so infectious even W. himself would have to sing along.
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