Saturday, July 21, 2007

BAD BRAINS - “Build A Nation” CD (Megaforce)

I read so many bad reviews for this album that I just had to hear it for myself. Each review was pretty much the same: The reunited Bad Brains, while still smokin’ instrumentally are brought down heavily by vocalist HR’s (uncharacteristically) tired vocals. While I agree 100% that HR doesn’t sing with the same intensity that he had back in the day, he still has a great voice and still manages to infuse some sweet melody lines into the bands heavy-punk wall. Only a few tracks (“Universal Peace” and title track “Build a Nation”) left me more than a little disappointed in the vocal department. But that’s okay… the album is saved by the music and that alone is reason enough for me to like this album. While HR may have mellowed with age, the rest of the Bad Brains are still on top of their game. The only way I could tell you not to buy this album is if you’re not a fan of the bands reggae outings in which case you definitely should avoid this album as nearly half the album delves into the ‘gae. I can honestly say that I’m not a fan of reggae unless it’s Bad Brains reggae. Oh yeah, someone needs to give Beastie Boy Adam Yauch a high-five for doing such a kick-ass job on the production of this album. It's just as raw as their earlier stuff yet cuts through the speakers with a nice metallic shine. If you've never heard the Bad Brains, start with their earlier stuff like "Rock for Light."

-Zac Chavez

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