13 Songs, 37 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Bad Brains came blazing out of Washington, D.C., as a rare commodity: a hardcore punk band with serious chops that could also rock a strong reggae dub. In a nearly 100% Caucasian genre, Bad Brains also brought a Rastafarian viewpoint. The group's career has been rocky, and tales of singer H.R.'s unpredictable behavior are now legendary. But when these veterans settle in and make music, watch out. Like most '80s hardcore bands, the Brains have slowed down a few steps. But the title track still has plenty of rage and chops, as do "Popcorn" and "Yes I," for starters. "Suck Sess" sounds as if it could've been pulled off an earlier release, while electronically enhanced reggae tunes like "Jah Love" and "Rub a Dub Love" add that special soulful dimension. The album closes with "MCA Dub," a tribute to The Beastie Boys' late Adam Yauch, an early fan who also produced their 2007 album Build a Nation. The band dedicated the album to Yauch as well.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Bad Brains came blazing out of Washington, D.C., as a rare commodity: a hardcore punk band with serious chops that could also rock a strong reggae dub. In a nearly 100% Caucasian genre, Bad Brains also brought a Rastafarian viewpoint. The group's career has been rocky, and tales of singer H.R.'s unpredictable behavior are now legendary. But when these veterans settle in and make music, watch out. Like most '80s hardcore bands, the Brains have slowed down a few steps. But the title track still has plenty of rage and chops, as do "Popcorn" and "Yes I," for starters. "Suck Sess" sounds as if it could've been pulled off an earlier release, while electronically enhanced reggae tunes like "Jah Love" and "Rub a Dub Love" add that special soulful dimension. The album closes with "MCA Dub," a tribute to The Beastie Boys' late Adam Yauch, an early fan who also produced their 2007 album Build a Nation. The band dedicated the album to Yauch as well.

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Customer Reviews

4 out of 5

38 Ratings

Still a fan...

slaytoven,

I'm a life long fan of this band, and I love them unconditionally. I buy anything they put out and never miss them on tour.
Here's my review after 2 listens to this album:

The music sounds great; it's got all of the elements that always made their music awesome and unique. Great riffs, cool breaks, quirky little changes, that signature bass growl, etc.

The vocals almost sound like an afterthought… they're honestly a bit distracting at times.
I kind of wish these guys would just make an awesome instrumental jazz metal album. It'd be so killer. The band's still got it for sure.

I love Bad Brains and I wish them success in whatever they do. I'll gladly pitch in my $10 to keep them on tour instead of working at a grocery store (Dr Know) or driving a truck (Earl). These guys should be playing music and nothing else… it's really too bad that HR sort of derailed that for them. They could have taken over the world...

Bad Brains = Hardcore GODS

Novembers Fire 75,

This band can do no wrong in my eyes. Bad Brains are one of the top most important bands in the hardcore punk genre. This album sounds similar to 2007's Build A Nation, but I think it is much better overall. I am thrilled with this release. Buy it now!

About Bad Brains

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 to break out of their cult status.

Dr. Know (born Gary Miller), a former jazz fusion guitarist, formed Bad Brains in 1979, inspired by both the amateurish rage of the Sex Pistols and the political reggae of Bob Marley. Realizing that the lines between punk and reggae were already blurred in the U.K., he set out to replicate that situation in the U.S., and he recruited several similarly minded musicians -- vocalist H.R. (born Paul D. Hudson), bassist Darryl Aaron Jenifer, and drummer Earl Hudson -- to prove his point. Bad Brains quickly became one of the most popular punk bands on the East Coast, particularly in their hometown of Washington, D.C. Their live performances were legendary, but their recordings were difficult to find. Their debut single, "Pay to Cum," was pressed in limited numbers, and their 1982 debut album was only issued in cassette form by ROIR. In addition to the Bad Brains tape, the group released a handful of other EPs in 1982, finally moving to PVC for 1983's full-length debut, Rock for Light, which was produced by Ric Ocasek.

The handful of indie recordings Bad Brains left behind, as well as their live shows, made the band legendary in American hardcore, yet few potential fans could actually hear the band due to poor distribution and erratic touring. The band took three years to deliver the follow-up to Rock for Light, finally releasing I Against I on SST in 1986. In those three years, the group developed more heavy metal leanings, and the resulting record received mixed reviews. More importantly, it divided the band, with Dr. Know and Jenifer wishing to continue to pursue heavy rock, and H.R. and Hudson wanting to devote themselves to reggae. Over the next three years, the latter pair frequently left the band to make reggae albums before finally departing in 1989. They were replaced by Israel Joseph-I (born Dexter Pinto) and Mackie Jayson, respectively.

In the wake of the alternative rock boom of the early '90s, Bad Brains were finally offered a major-label contract in 1993, releasing Rise on Epic later that year. The album bombed and the group was dropped. Maverick Records offered the group a contract in 1995, provided that the original lineup reunited. They did so and released God of Love that summer, to mixed reviews and poor sales. H.R. and Hudson left the band shortly after the album's release, and the band was dropped by Maverick. In 1998 the band again reunited and began touring under the name Soul Brains.

In 2002, Reggae Lounge compiled remixes of Bad Brains' '80s hits and released a full-length dub album titled I & I Survived. The following year Caroline released Banned in DC: Bad Brains' Greatest Riffs, a solid anthology compiling songs from their first album up to Quickness. For the next few years, the group members concentrated on solo endeavors, with a few scattered guest appearances on other bands' albums or live shows. In 2006, Bad Brains reunited for a few shows at CBGB's, which quickly sold out. With a resurging interest in the band, in early 2007, Megaforce announced that they had signed them to their roster. Under Beastie Boy Adam Yauch's studio supervision, the original band went back to the studio for the first time in over a decade and recorded Build a Nation, an inspired attempt at returning to the band's hardcore roots. In early 2011 the band began work on the next record. The record was initially titled "Let's Have Fun", but that title didn't stick and was changed to Into the Future, an album which saw release in November of 2012.

~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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