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Bad Brains - Build A Nation review


7 users:
Band: Bad Brains
Album: Build A Nation
Release date: June 2007

01. Give Thanks and Praises
02. Jah People Make the World Go Round
03. Pure Love
04. Natty Dreadlocks 'pon the Mountaintop
05. Build a Nation
06. Expand Your Soul
07. Jah Love
08. Let There Be Angels (Just Like You)
09. Universal Peace
10. Roll On
11. Until Kingdom Comes
12. In the Beginning
13. Send You No More Flowers
14. Peace Be Unto Thee

Bad Brains - does this band really need an introduction? Unfortunately - yes. Partly because we currently live in such a sad state of affairs that most metal and rock fans don't even remember this brilliant band and partly because, well, the Bad Brains have pretty much been hiding under a rock for the last 17 years. Let me clue you in then - the Bad Brains are perhaps one of the most important bands of the 80s. Besides helping invent hardcore punk, they also explored alt-metal areas such as mixing reggae and funk with metal, while at the same time being an incredibly adventurous and spontaneous band. Without the Bad Brains, hardcore would be much different nowadays, Mike Patton wouldn't have had a great template to base his own vocal experiments on, funk metal, rap metal, dub metal and nu metal might not have even existedů I think this is enough to get most of you at least a little interested in what the band's latest, reunion LP, Build A Nation is like.

Unfortunately, first impressions of Build A Nation are bound to be somewhat negative. In the past, H.R. would only use his 'jah' vocals on reggae songs, while offering a schizophrenic and charismatic mix of screams, rapped verses, operatic choruses and jazzy improvisation in the heavy songs. This is no longer true - as the band performs thunderously, H.R. seems to be singing from behind a substantial cloud of dope smoke. Needless to say, this sounds weird. The Bad Brains' brand of metallic hardcore is really powerful here, reminding me even of current heavyweights such as Converge and the reggae vocals just seem terribly out of place. On the other hand, this approach is also original and unique so in the end, it is up to the individual listener to decide if this approach is suitable or not. I did manage to accept this vocal approach and only then did I realize what a great little album Build A Nation is. Fast metallic hardcore played with jazzy finesse, interspersed with some bona fide reggae tracks - great stuff. "Jah People Make The World Go Round" and "Expand Your Soul" are some of the highlights, with the latter even recalling the awesome sound of I Against I. Meanwhile, "Universal Peace" shows that the band can speed along at breakneck pace with the best of them and even incorporates a reggae bass passage that morphs into a hardcore breakdown (something I have never heard before, and its performed masterfully here).

I suppose it is fitting that a band like Bad Brains would release and album that is pretty hard to get into. If you have the patience and are open minded you can definitely find some things on this album that will blow your mind; however, at the same time, this music is definitely not for everyone. Also, when all is said and done, the Brains have much better albums in their discography. Its a fun album but not as good as 24-7 Spyz' comeback album last year, for example. Buy at your own risk.


Written on 09.09.2007 by With Metal Storm since 2002, jupitreas has been subjecting the masses to his reviews for quite a while now. He lives in Warsaw, Poland, where he does his best to avoid prosecution for being so cool.


Comments: 4   Visited by: 64 users
10.09.2007 - 03:25
hmm, I didn't even know that they were releasing anything new. Since they're one of my favorite hardcore bands, I'll definitely check this out.
14.02.2009 - 12:17
Doc G.
Full Grown Hoser
Written by Dangerboner on 10.09.2007 at 03:25

hmm, I didn't even know that they were releasing anything new. Since they're one of my favorite hardcore bands, I'll definitely check this out.

Didn't know you were into Bad Brains, Pyro.

I got I Against I for Christmas and have only recently started to really enjoy it, so I'm starting to shop around for some more Bad Brains stuff. Took a listen to a few of these samples on youtube, HR's vocals definitely seem a little weaker now....probably end up getting it anyways, ignoring the vocals it seems like a pretty wild album.
"I got a lot of really good ideas, problem is, most of them suck."
- George Carlin
28.09.2009 - 03:47
One of the few hardcore bands i can stand, great frikkin band thou^^ listened to them for quite a while now, thou i prefer their older stuff this is a solid release, great review!
25.04.2011 - 18:08
Thrash del Sur
They are the fathers of the hardcore fast tempos and many other fusions. Max Cavalera and Randy Blythe loves them.

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