far as hardcore punk goes, the band that set the mark
for me was Bad Brains. More specifically, their first
album. Originally only available on cassette from the
ROIR label, it was re-released on CD a while back and
I took the opportunity to pick up this landmark in punk
Bad Brains can be accredited for not only getting me
into punk, but influencing a shitload of bands and making
a lasting impression on the genre as one of the most
electrifying acts ever. These four black guys from DC
not only broke the racial barrier in punk music, but
also threw in some unorthodox techniques and styles,
had incredible talent and ability, and managed to play
the fastest music of any punk band to this day.
Brains starts off with one of the better tracks, "Sailin'
On". The CD keeps churning full throttle, with
other standout tracks like "Don't Need It",
"Attitude" and the landmark "Banned in
DC", which is mindblowingly fast and thrashy, then
switches to a slower verse at the end. Later on, listeners
are introduced to Bad Brains's reggae and dub leanings
with tracks like "Jah Calling" and "Leaving
Babylon". More raw power comes in the forms of
"Supertouch/Shitfit", "Fearless Vampire
Killers", and another classic, "Pay to Cum".
first, listeners might be slightly disturbed by the
incomprehensible yelps and yells emitted from the singer,
Paul (H.R.) Hudson, but they'll get used to it. Hell,
it just wouldn't be the Brains without him. The guitarist
Dr. Know plays consistently fast, displaying incredible
dexterity with his metal-tinged solos, but the other
band members never miss a beat. Earl Hudson is one of
the greatest punk drummers ever, hands down, and Darryl
Jennifer keeps the bass thumping.
Brains should not be missed by any punk enthusiast or
lover of fast music. This record is twenty years old,
and I still haven't found any band that plays as consistently
good and fast as the Brains did. I don't have a single
bad thing to say about this album, except that I definitely
prefer their punk tracks (which make up a majority of
the album) to their few reggae songs. If you're looking
for hardcore punk, this is it.