Widely regarded as pioneers of the whole US hardcore movement, the four Rastafarians from Washington DC known as Bad Brains may well have been the most bad-ass group in this emerging scene but they were arguably the most culturally relevant band in America at the turn of the 80s.
Surprisingly – and refreshingly – reggae-free, I Against I (1986) is the sound of a band entirely at home with challenging norms. Slamming into devastating life with opening track Intro, Dr Know’s Eddie Van Halen-level fretboard fireworks are given the rhythmic framework in which to excel courtesy of Darryl Jenifer (bass) and Earl Hudson (drums) and the result is mesmerising.
If you want to be impressed by musicianship you’ve come to the right place. If you merely want to lose your fucking mind then you need look no further than second track I Against I, as HR comes screaming and snarling into the fray amid machine gun rhythms and classic punk chord progressions.
Traditional arrangements, however, are given short shrift as songs speed up and slow down with supernatural grace.
Bad Brains are their very own force of nature and nothing that they do needs explaining so don’t try to figure it out. This music is coming from somewhere else entirely.
HR (Human Rights)