Bad Brains - I Against I - Review
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critics' view

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?

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