Bad Brains - Bad Brains (Cover Artwork)

Bad Brains

Bad Brains (1982)


Black guys playing hardcore punk. Not something to be taken lightly. Of course along with every other black band to play "white" music, they broke down the barriers and rewrote the rules.

Bad Brains were 4 guys from the Washington DC area who formed a jazz-fusion band in 1976. Then they were introduced to bands like the Sex Pistols and the Clash and decided they'd give a shot at this amateurish form of music. They did, and in 1982 after about 3 years of playing live shows and kicking ass in the DC hardcore scene, they decided to let the rest of the world have a taste.

Their first album is the most bad ass, wicked hardcore album on the planet. The drummer flails his sticks like only Bruce Lee would be able to do. The bassist thumps along in such a way he could be mistaken for Dick Dale on bass. The way the guitarist thrashes puts all other hardcore and metal guitarists to shame. The singer raps along at lightning speed about positive mental attitude, getting kicked out of DC clubs, the problem with people judging each other to name a few.

This is the work of a handful of talented musicians who knew what they were doing from start to finish. The album leads off with the classic "Sailin' On" and continues the is bombarded with hardcore thrashers untill the ballad-like "Banned In DC" and the dub "Jah Calling." Then the pace picks up again and then is slowed down again by another reggae number only to be sped up again by a handful of tunes including one of the hardcore greats "Pay To Cum." The album ends with the "I Luv I Jah" one of the best reggae songs.

The only real downfall of the album is it's muddy and muffled bass/guitar mix. It's hardly noticeable most of the time. Even with that the music sounds great.

This is one of the most solid albums given to the public to buy. It flows like no other from hardcore or any other genre. You get bombarded with one song to another with no breaks in between untill the reggae steps in, which just makes the fast songs seem even faster, and even more importantly the reggae keeps the songs from becoming one big blur of speed.

This is not only the best hardcore album, it's one of the best rock albums money can buy.