"How Could Hell Be Any Worse?" defined the summer of '84 for me. I wore the grooves down to nothin'. It was immediately obvious that BR were among the best songwriters in the LA hardcore scene. Then they broke up (or whatever) and came back with "Suffer", which I thought was okay - but I kinda lost interest after that. Well, now I'm an old man and, given the current political climate, a pissed off one at that. I saw "Empire Strikes First" at my local store and liked the title and thought I'd give BR another try. I'm glad I did. The raw power, energy, and anger of first half of the album makes me bounce off the walls and be ready and willing to smash this corrupt state to pieces again. Inspirational and I'm glad BR has dedicated fans to keep them going: Graffin has developed into a great, mature voice for the punk counterculture. "Sinister Rouge", "Social Suicide", "All There Is", and "Let Them Eat War" are standouts. If any old hardcore kids are reading this...buy this album, it'll make you remember why you got into punk in the first place.