Bad Brains - Rock For Light (Cover Artwork)

Bad Brains

Bad Brains: Rock For LightRock For Light (1983)

Reviewer Rating: 3
User Rating:

Contributed by: Smooth_BMSmooth_BM
(others by this writer | submit your own)

I reviewed Bad Brains' s/t under a slightly different moniker and thought I'd review this album too. Anyways, Bad Brains' debut was a cassette only release on ROIR. Ric Ocasek of the Cars heard it and to decided to produce the band's follow-up, which is basically a remake of their first album. Rock.
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I reviewed Bad Brains' s/t under a slightly different moniker and thought I'd review this album too. Anyways, Bad Brains' debut was a cassette only release on ROIR. Ric Ocasek of the Cars heard it and to decided to produce the band's follow-up, which is basically a remake of their first album.

Rock For Light is one of the most annoying albums I've heard in my life. Mr. Ocasek must not be familiar with black people and music. It's all about the bass, listen to rap, funk, reggae, R&B. The bass is drowned way into the backround, to the point if you can hear the bass, it sounds like a palm-muted guitar. This makes the reggae numbers abysmal, I'd rather listen to No Doubt's ska or whatever the hell people call it than this garbage. I bet Lee Perry turned over in his grave when this was released, assuming he's dead, but I'm not sure. Bad Brains' reggae/ska was mediocre for the most part, on their debut it was actually really good, but this stuff...terrible.

The hardcore tunes from the first album are the basis for this album, and they're faster on this one. However, faster doesn't mean better. Especially with HR's voice on this one. He doesn't even bother to sing most of the time, it's all his speed rapping. Irritating, he sounds too whiney, like a little kid. I want to smack him and send him to his room without supper. He also ad-libs way too much, don't tell me he doesn't get on your nerves. Rock For Light doesn't have "Pay To Cum", why the hell not? That's their most known hardcore song. The fastest thrasher off the debut, "Don't Need It" (I guess not), isn't on here. As much as I like "The Regulator," they did the world a favor by not putting it on this album. The production would ruin that cool bass intro, driving me to throw the CD out the window instead of using it as a beer coaster. Don't get me wrong, "Rock For Light," At the Movies," "How Low Can a Punk Get?" are some examples of how much ass these guys can kick. Excluding the reggae, the songs are top notch, but the production and HR ruin everything.

But the sound is clearer people say. Yeah it is, but when you can't hear all the instruments, what does it matter? The drums are nice and crisp, not muffled like on the debut, but the bass, where's the bass? Like with the debut, there's two guitars layered in the mix. One plays rhythm, while the other handles solos(I'll just say lead for lack of a better word). They screwed up with that, too. The "lead" guitar isn't loud enough, and it seems to be separated into one speaker, while the rhythm is in both and louder. That was smart. Atleast on the debut, the guitar solos were louder than everything else. The guitar has a metallic tone on it, which makes me believe this was supposed to be a speed metal album or something.

There's not a bad hard rocking song on here, but jeez, Ocasek must be taking his anger out on the world by making other bands suffer because the Cars suck, or because he wasn't getting any from his supermodel wife. I can't believe people consider this the pinnacle of hardcore punk. It's faster, sure, but there's no energy on this album. The debut made me get up and kick ass, while listening to this makes me just sit there. The absense of the bass drains out those awesome ass-grabbingly good beats.

If you haven't heard anything of theirs yet, get this, otherwise you'll probably hate the band and Ric Ocasek(if you don't already).


People who liked this also liked:
Bad Brains - Bad BrainsDescendents - Milo Goes To CollegeThe Clash - London CallingBlack Flag - DamagedBad Brains - I Against IJawbreaker - 24 Hour Revenge TherapyOperation Ivy - Operation IvyThe Clash - The ClashMinor Threat - Complete DiscographyBad Religion - No Control

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
sean021122 (March 1, 2012)

Absolutely perfect record. Nothing left to say but buy it now!

devianter (December 6, 2010)

1 more time. Ppl reading this, DON'T EVER BUY a 90 remaster. IT SUCKS. It's DIFFERENT. Get the original one.

devianter (December 5, 2010)

Reviewer , you are fucking stupid. First of all, you got the remaster, which are known in 90% of cases to be shitty. Second, you said "The debut made me get up and kick ass, while listening to this makes me just sit there.". And i'm saying the first album made my ears bleed. This one IS the best. I'll repeat. You are fucking stupid. Don't ever write 1 more review.

idrum2 (July 28, 2010)

The vinyl uncorrected version is better. The "remastered" version on CD is slightly sped up. Makes HR's voice a little too high pitched. Other than that, a great album.

fletcher70 (October 19, 2006)

no,this is "bad brains" best album by far

Anonymous (March 23, 2006)

it's true though, this is one of bad brains worst albums; go for black dots/bad brains/ or i against i instead.

someone-yeah (February 13, 2006)

I got this album after loving the fuck out of i against i and was put off by HR's vocals on this one. I much prefer his vocal style on IAI much more than the squeeling thing he has going on for most of the songs here.

Anonymous (July 21, 2004)

you should never listen to the caroline version, for some reason they sped up the songs by about 10% and the result is a terrible mix with cookie monster vocals by HR..stick to the original 83 mix on PVC..get it on vinyl it will set your speakers on fire its so good

Anonymous (June 12, 2004)

actually, the pvc version was released on cd. i have it, as do several people i know. the caroline re-issue is damn annoying. incidentally, "rock for light" is easily the best hardcore album ever. you are very foolish for not knowing this.

Anonymous (January 16, 2004)

this album really got me hooked
sorry for being just 17

Anonymous (November 10, 2003)

"I bet Lee Perry turned over in his grave when this was released, assuming he's dead, but I'm not sure"

He's still quite alive, actually.


Smooth_BM (September 27, 2002)

You people are great. Seriously, I've laughed my ass off at the majority of the posts. Only a slim minority of you have actually given responses to the reasons I hate this album. Yeah, I got the CD reissue and have no intention of tracking down the vinyl because I don't have a needle for my record player. Maybe in a few years when records get big again, I'll pick it up on vinyl. Until then, I'll stick to listening to their debut, Black Dots, or the Omega Sessions EP if I want to hear these songs.

I'm just as shocked as you are to see that we disagree on eachother's opinions. I thought everyone was happy and in constant agreement. We'd all live so much more fulfilling lives if I posted 5 stars and said this album is a flawless present from Jah.

Anonymous (September 27, 2002)

I know Willie Nelson didnt start country music but what i'm saying is that he has been very important in making it what it is today. But there was another guy (still cant remember his name) who was black who was a big influence on Willie Nelson.

CallingLondon (September 26, 2002)

no doubt most certantly was a ska band back in the day. now, i don't know what the fuck they are. perhaps "shit" is the best description.

Anonymous (September 25, 2002)

Actually they did start up with the really religious thing all of a sudden. They weren't rastafarian when the band started in the 70's, and only later did they get deeply into it. It's when they started to suck they got all religious and then the band broke up(Only later to reform and break up again numerous times). And uh, Willie Nelson didn't start country music.

Anonymous (September 25, 2002)

To the guy who said they turned God loving all of a sudden. They were rastafarian (did i spell that correctly?). They didnt turn God loving all of a sudden, they were always that way. Secondly, one of the precursors to Willie Nelson (i cant remember his name at the time) was black and country music couldnt be what it is today without him. Bad Brains is second only to Refused as the greatest hardcore band of all time but i'm sure most of you guys would probably but Bad Brains as #1

Anonymous (September 24, 2002)

The reviewer is a dumbass. Bad Brains is not annoying;the singer from nfg is annoying. the African American culture practically invented all of the music we hear nowadays except country and polka. punk is a form of expression, and lets be honest it doesn't take an exceeded amount of talent to play punk.
African Americans would get together and express their anger against society through music(remember they didn't have any rights from the 1600s to about the 1960s, hence they had the right to feel angry)while the mostly white society was signing "OH Susanna" they started rock and r&b. while nfg and no doubt sing about stuff that are meaningless.

BROken fence

adam (September 24, 2002)

Woahhhh..... I didn't read this review until today. To the person who said this:

"Now listen, i love this website... its only done me wrong one other time, and thats when it got the getaway signed to epitaph (RIP)... Its nice to know that "PunkRock".org will rave about the new found glory album, but The Bad Brains will get a shitty review... What a bunch of TOOLS."

Any review that is not written by Aubin, Scott, Adam or Kip is not a staff review and in no way reflects the views of the administrators on the site. As long as the reviews submitted are decently readable, we post them. IF they're full of shit (and LOTS of them are full of shit) we trust that you guys will tear the reviewer a new asshole. Don't think that just because we posted this we agree with it... And for the record, I doubt any of the staff here digs New Found Glory.


carb (September 24, 2002)

I wouldn't necessarily say that the reviewer is dumb, but that it seems he dumbs things down so that the average punknews.org reader can follow ... the last 50 posts are a testament to that.

Anonymous (September 24, 2002)

No Doubt? Ska? Guitars not loud enough? Rock for Light sucks... ummm... sir, you are a dumbass. This site needs to screen the reviews better. Every single one of the reviews up right now look like they were written by a bunch of 13 year old morons, who spend too much time watching M2, shitting their pants when New Found Glory appears. The Cars suck? What a fucking idiot. And what record IS the "pinnacle of hardcore/punk"? Is it the new My Hero Died Last Wednesday Night record, or how about some other nu-hardcore/cookie cutter crap released by a bunch of dudes dressed like the Backstreet Boys, with fashionable tattoos and baggy pants? I'm sure the reviewer is a good man, but I feel dumber after reading his work. Yechh..

Anonymous (September 24, 2002)

> where were you in 82'?
- ten yard fight

boring chris

Anonymous (September 23, 2002)

Well that's the last time I ever give anyone the benefit of the typo doubt. It turns out that "slose" means "pretty far." Boy is my face red! I can tell that it's not a typo because "s" and "c" are slose on a keyboard, not close.

Anonymous (September 23, 2002)

she said it was slose,not close dyslexic fool. Therefor you have your answer.

Anonymous (September 23, 2002)

"Okay, maybe they have like 2 songs on a cd that are even slose to ska,but no way it's even close." First you say it's close, then you say it isn't. So is it close or not? You've got me completely confused.

Anonymous (September 23, 2002)

where were you in 82'?

Anonymous (September 23, 2002)

2 words for you regarding Bad Brains "freakin amazing"!!!!

Anonymous (September 23, 2002)

When the fuck was No Doubt ska? All they're cds have been funk/pop alternative. Okay, maybe they have like 2 songs on a cd that are even slose to ska,but no way it's even close.

And by the way who says that bass makes up everything. You forgot to mention how blacks practically invented Rock & Roll which is dominated by the guitar.

Sara(no h)

Anonymous (September 23, 2002)

RETARDS!!!! Unlike the non-offensive pop "punk" bands of today, bands like Dead Kennedys, Bad Brains, Black flag, and Minor Threat couldn't afford glossy high production- in other words, they didnt' kiss ass- their live show was what mattered and records were secondary but still great. Also, it isn't the producer's fault, it's just the old and very minimalist equipment due to budet restraints you fucking idiots. Even with this low budget it blows the shit out of all that high gloss fake music like new found glory.

Anonymous (September 23, 2002)

Incredible album, but come on, why must this guy bring some sort of black/white thing into this?


Anonymous (September 23, 2002)

I can't believe that someone could say there is no energy on that album. Back before punk rock became the soundtrack to "generation extreme sports" I used used to pop this cassette (yes, cassette) in my headphones and snowboard my ass off to it. When I heard that version of At the Movies, I felt that I couldn't possibly be riding fast enough. I don't think that it is fair to critique the production value of 80s punk because most of it was done on such a limited budget and it was long before the use of ProTools made all recordings sounding nice and pretty. In my opinion, this album has tons of feeling and charisma that is tough to find these days. Don't care what you may say, I've got that PMA.

Anonymous (September 23, 2002)

you sure are a fool. the reason why this record sounds so bad is because caroline fucked up and mastered it at the WRONG SPEED. which is why HR's voice is really high and the songs are too fast. stop being a poser and track down the original vinyl on PVC records from '83 and not this sad 90's reissue.

Anonymous (September 23, 2002)

You, below me, are a moron.

Anonymous (September 23, 2002)

ok, my two cents. this guy is an ass. and to the guy who was wondering why bad brains gets 3 stars and nfg gets 5, its b/c there are a bunch of faggots and retards like this guy here like smooth who don't have a clue what punk is.

Anonymous (September 22, 2002)

Cause Weezer isn't a hardcore band from 1982 when this was recorded. Ric Ocasek did ruin this record, but it's still great.

Anonymous (September 22, 2002)

shut the fuck up. this album is amazing and your a retard. of course you dont like it. its not NFG. i love nfg, but bad brains is one of the greatest, and its obvious nfg will not be known as one of the greatest. shut the hell up. oh yeah, is the producer sucks so much ass, why is weezer's blue album sound so amazing? moron

Anonymous (September 22, 2002)

Now listen, i love this website... its only done me wrong one other time, and thats when it got the getaway signed to epitaph (RIP)... But this review sounds like it was done by some Blink 182 loving faggot. Well, HEY FAGGOT! RFL is one of the best punk albums of all time. The Bad Brains dont sound like Blink 182, thats what makes them good. Your such a piece of shit. Its nice to know that "PunkRock".org will rave about the new found glory album, but The Bad Brains will get a shitty review... What a bunch of TOOLS.

Anonymous (September 22, 2002)

I like the raggae stuff- No Doubt??? What the fuck was this guy on when he reviewed it, they suck, but I wouldn't mind boning that girl.

Anonymous (September 22, 2002)

sweet jesus where do these reviewers pop up from....not their best album but sure as fuck better than this idiot reviewed it as =

Anonymous (September 21, 2002)

This is a perfect example of a man who does not know what the fuck he is talking about. Bad Brains are our masters, this album deserves to be review not by a gum smaking newbie who pogos to sum41, but by a hate filled punk who is hellbent on swinging elbows. Every single song on here is a smashing epic journey. I can say all of this because...well, for one reason and one reason only...I'M A MEMBER OF THE RIGHT BRIGAAAAADDDDEEEE!!!

Anonymous (September 21, 2002)

uhh, can i get fries and a strawberry shake with that?

Anonymous (September 21, 2002)

everyone eat a dick!

Anonymous (September 21, 2002)


I give them a perfect score for that

Hamish (September 20, 2002)

I don't know what the reviewer is talking about, I can hear the bass fine on this record. And I think the reggae songs on this one are A LOT better than the ones on s/t. I don't like the remakes as much as I liked the originals, but not by a large margin. And the new tracks shred. I think the rawer production on s/t suits the band a bit more than the cleaner production on this one, but I still think it sounds really good. And only 8 of the 20 songs on here (less than half) are remakes, so I wouldn't call this a "remake of the first album." This is a great listen start to finish. It's energizing like a shot of adrenaline. Along with s/t and I Against I, I think it's essential to anyone seriously interested in punk rock.

punky (September 20, 2002)

I always hated how they turned god loving all of the sudden.and yeah, kickass band.

Anonymous (September 20, 2002)

mother fucking idiot is for damn sure. you just can't fucking touch bad brains and this is a great fucking album by great fucking legends. fuck off bitch.

Anonymous (September 20, 2002)

this reviewer is a brain dead retard. this album is a classic. kids today.

Anonymous (September 20, 2002)

How THE HELL could someone give a NFG album a five and give this great album a 3- are u a fucking retard, DIE! DIE!! Bad Brains fucking rules, one of the best live bands ever, along with Black Flag and Rollins Band.

evildeadalive (September 20, 2002)

I liked this album... a lot. Haven't listened to it in a long time though, maybe I'll give it another listen and judge for myself if your trash talking is warranted. And, if I can remember correctly, I thought some of the reggae songs were pretty good...

Anonymous (September 20, 2002)

I'm 35 and i've been a BB fan for 15 years and RFL is a strong album. I can see why newbies might not like it though.

eyeball_kid (September 20, 2002)

Lee Perry is most definitely alive!

I've only ever heard the s/t album (it rules) but I have heard the Cars. Sounds like an unhappy marriage to me.

Anonymous (September 20, 2002)

Download is somewhere.

TheOneTrueBill (September 20, 2002)

i lost my copy of this... i dont wanna buy a new one, but i want it again... i'm in a hole

Anonymous (September 20, 2002)

Wack review. Great album. And yeah Rick Ocasek ruined it though from being better. S/t and I against I are the best.

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