Bad Brains - I Against I (Cover Artwork)

Bad Brains

Bad Brains: I Against II Against I (1986)
SST Records

Reviewer Rating: 5
User Rating:

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

After seeing how much everyone enjoyed my Rock For Light review, I thought it was only fair that I give you people what you desire. Another Bad Brains' review from myself. This time I thought I'd tackle the band's 1986 album, I Against I. It was three years since the release of Rock For Light, an.
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After seeing how much everyone enjoyed my Rock For Light review, I thought it was only fair that I give you people what you desire. Another Bad Brains' review from myself. This time I thought I'd tackle the band's 1986 album, I Against I.

It was three years since the release of Rock For Light, and a lot of things had changed. Most notably the band's music. Gone are the days of their hardcore punk. Instead, we are left with a handful of midtempo songs that give the band room to strut their stuff. It's slower yes, but the power they wielded in their debut is still there. It starts off with "Intro," just a little jam. After that comes the title track and "House Of Suffering," arguably the band's best two songs. As great of songs they are, they seem a bit dry, no reverb. This sucks some intensity out of them. Also, on "I Against I," HR pulls a Rock For Light and overdoes his "singing." After hearing the version on the Omega Sessions EP, I'm not very happy with the version on th om prison. Interesting if not enjoyable.

HR isn't the only thing going on here, the rest of the band is where most of my interest is. They're tearing up the place with tight and funky playing. Guitarist Dr Know is all over the place on his solos, and the rhythm section of Darryl Jenifer and Earl Hudson lock into a seamless, powerful groove. One could argue that this album is the precursor to funk metal. There isn't too much else you could call this stuff.

For once the production is damn near perfect, give thanks to Ric Ocasek not being present. The bass is loud and proud, as are the drums. Hell, everything is mixed in wonderfully. The only thing that bothers me is that the first two songs, not counting "Intro," are too dry.

This is Bad Brains' masterpiece. As much as their hardcore stuff kicked ass, this album shows them in full form. It's diverse, powerful, and damn good. The minor shortcomings on this album, mainly HR bad delivery on "I Against I," don't hurt the album overall. In retrospect, this dull review shouldn't lead you to believe this is a dull album, because it's not. It's the opposite, it's a classic and is easily in the ranks of other legendary rock albums, such as Back In Black and Are You Experienced?


People who liked this also liked:
Bad Brains - Bad BrainsDescendents - Milo Goes To CollegeNOFX - Punk In DrublicMinor Threat - Complete DiscographyThe Clash - London CallingOperation Ivy - Operation IvyBad Brains - Rock For LightFugazi - 13 SongsThe Clash - The ClashJawbreaker - 24 Hour Revenge Therapy

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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)

This is no masterpice. More like overproduced, poppy, glossy, mainstream, sellout idiots like it melodic "punk" with an "edge" to it for the baby boomers. Still better than the next 3 pieces of shit they put out known as Quickness,Rise, and Go of Hate. But probably on same level as "Building Nation". Worthy of purchase but nowehere near as good as their debut/omega sessions/rock for light/black dots.

rubiksdude16 (August 10, 2009)

I tried very hard to like this album. But its just god awful. I expected to love it and instead i hate

superskabro (May 10, 2007)

the poor production values on this album really date it. It is hard to take seriously. Just get "Black Dots".

johnnydanger (October 7, 2005)

how could you ever think the singing was overdone

Anonymous (September 17, 2004)

about the hardcore/metal thing... i just wanted to emphasize that the hardcore that the Bad Brains play is hardcore in tempo and energy, but the chords and the melodies are very uplifting. again, you can almost feel some sort of spiritual transcendence when listening to their speedy stuff. if you find yourself screaming along to these songs, there's probably a smile on your face. and the metal thing... well, Dr. Know used heavy metal guitars. by I Against I they had that trebley, somewhat chorusy sound to them. so guitar-tone-wise, they got progressively more "metal".

Anonymous (July 21, 2004)

Listen peeople. This is THE ALBUM. quite possibly the greatest release to come out of the "underground" 80s, I Against I is a breathtaking fusion of metal, hardcore tinged with reggae and produced perfectly to match a band with skills like the Brains...there is a spiritual vibe that translates into a unique and never-to-be copied sound. Add HR to the mix...and well, you get the idea: Thunder and Lightening!!

Anonymous (July 12, 2004)

I love this album. The self-titled/"Black Dots"/ROIR tape sessions (or whatever they're called) are good too, but this shit rocks.

Praise Jah!

Anonymous (June 1, 2004)

am i the only person in the world that doesnt like this album?

Anonymous (January 16, 2004)

this is great shit, go get it

IandI (April 7, 2003)

i love the bad brains album rise. no one seems to even know about it but it is very good untill about the end where it seems like mostly filler. but they really bring out theyre metal side on that album.

Anonymous (September 30, 2002)

If you know the band Living Colour, to me it sounds like they based their career off of this album.

If you like fast music, with more musical ability than most thrash/speed metal and hardcore bands, get Bad Brains.

Anonymous (September 30, 2002)

Well, guys......pretty much if you dont like hardcore or metal, you probably won't like the majority of Bad Brains songs, because, even the most reggae influenced still have a little metal tinged hardcore. Songs like "Banned in DC" and "I Against I" are straight up thrashing hardcore, while re-ignition and house of suffering are metal. Jah Calling is a raggae song with no hardcore, but there are very few others.

Anonymous (September 30, 2002)

me too. i want to know which record is their best. from what i hear, bad brains is all over the place, hardcore, punk, reggae.

krowdsurf (September 29, 2002)

I've been debating buying a Bad Brains album for awhile now. Some people say they're reggae/punk, others hardcore, some say speed metal and now this review says they're some kind of funk. I love reggae and reggae influenced punk is my absolute favorite type of music, but hardcore and metal (no offense to those who like it) really turns me off. So I'm scared. Can anyone give me a better description of this band so I'd know what I'd be buying?

Anonymous (September 28, 2002)

He's got a point. But Rock For Light still fucking rules, but this album and the S/T are better.

Smooth_BM (September 27, 2002)

"Yeah right, nice try douche bag. You'll never live down the review for Rock For Light."

You silly person. I'm not trying to live down my review of that album. If anything, it will be my greatest gift to this wonderful website(by wonderful I mean I like the fact readers can submit stuff). If I was trying to live it down, I wouldn't have mentioned Rock For Light in this review, and I also might have even created a new account to avoid incredibly hilarious and uncreative harassment by you and that one other person. I wouldn't think that a large number of people could come up with insults so similar to each other without living in the same box.

Oh well, it's obvious I'm a douche bag/dumbass for allegedly liking bands like Newfoundland glory and the Backstreet boys. I pride myself in not listening to generic garbage, which is why I reviewed Bad Brains. Everyone says they're so damn great(I agree), yet no other Bad Brains reviews are on this site, but all those nfg-type bands are.

Hmmm...I may be a douche bag, but I'm not lazy. Why don't you and your other buddies, who those made lame insults on my Rock For Light review, get out of the gutter and get an education?

Anonymous (September 27, 2002)

All you need from Bad Brains is ROIR sessions.

sickboi (September 25, 2002)

"Banned in DC" was their best song ever. I'll pass on the 'Soul Brains' however.

Anonymous (September 25, 2002)

Yeah right, nice try douche bag. You'll never live down the review for Rock For Light.

Anonymous (September 24, 2002)

During this period everything coming out of SST was pure gold. Their artists were growing musically and lyrically- just look at Black Flag's brilliant "In My head" and stuff from Husker Du.

Anonymous (September 24, 2002)

Pure music bliss. Not just punk rock bliss, but a completely awesome experiance. Songs like "Re- Ignition" and "I Against I" are pure classics. I think HR has an awesome voice- kind of haunting. These guys smoke live as well.

Hamish (September 24, 2002)

I Against I = one of the best songs EVER

Such a great album. Variety is the spice of life and this album has it in spades. Production is right on the money. I love the bass sound on this record. And the clean guitar sound really works. HR's vocals are amazing. I like his singing, and the fact that he sings most of the time makes the parts where he screams have a lot more impact. A must have.

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