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Omega Sessions - EP

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Album Review

Now that the Bad Brains' earliest demos, circa 1979, have been dutifully documented on the Black Dots collection, this EP bridges that rougher, rawer, still-developing period with the furious, ungodly might, thrust, attack, and onslaught of their 1980-1983 period, the hottest hardcore ever. What's found here is the pioneering band's first excursion into a proper 24-track studio. The sound quality is much clearer than the real document of the truly "bad" — as in super-rad — Bad Brains, the following year's 1981 ROIR Sessions cassette LP on the ROIR label. (A must-have album later reissued on CD, ROIR still boggles the brain in terms of speed, intensity, masterful playing, and tight precision. Get it. Now.) At only five songs, Omega Sessions is far too short to replace ROIR Sessions as the essential dynamite, and furthermore, ROIR is harder, tighter, meaner, and way more explosive. Compare the Omega and ROIR versions of "Attitude" and it's clear that as hot as the band was in 1980, one year later they were a total knockout. Like Ali, Ruth, Jordan, and Gretzky in their primes, these four young blacks were a fireball night after night, one that stunned and amazed all who came across their unmatched, primal fury-like genius. However, for the sound quality and the definitive versions of two later favorites (both of which are perhaps twice as good here, in their original forms), the more breakneck punk, less hard rock "I Against I" and a Ric Ocasek-freed "At the Movies," plus a tougher "Stay Close to Me" (for those who recall the politer version on the 1980 debut "Pay to Cum" 7" B-side), Omega is still a handsome addition to the Bad Brains canon, a historical piece of the foursome that founded thrash and blew away all their marginal imitators. Turn this sucker up when you play it, loud (!), and then tape it for anyone who's never heard hardcore as only these four people could play it.


Formed: 1979 in Washington D.C.

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

By melding punk with reggae, Bad Brains became one of the definitive American hardcore punk groups of the early '80s. Although the group released only a handful of records during its peak, including the legendary cassette-only debut, Bad Brains, they developed a dedicated following, many of whom would later form their own hardcore and alternative bands. As for Bad Brains themselves, they continued to record and tour in varying lineups led by guitarist Dr. Know into the late '90s yet never managed...
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Omega Sessions - EP, Bad Brains
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