Bad Brains
I Against I



by BlastFunk03 USER (8 Reviews)
October 16th, 2006 | 44 replies

Release Date: 1986 | Tracklist

Review Summary: I Against I is high energy progressive punk rock, with touches of funk, jazz, reggae and heavy metal.

The average punk band starts off playing punk music. From there they usually progress their sound to something along the lines of emo, heavy metal, ska, electronic or what have you. The progressing of sound, in itself is an interesting concept. It usually results from the preferences of the individual band members and outside influences. Bad Brains is one of the rare punk bands that didn’t start out playing punk, which has set them apart and given them an extremely definitive sound.

Bad Brains started out playing jazz fusion, with various members having roots in reggae. Around the late 70s they grew aware of the punk rock movement, and they would never be the same again.

What do you get when you roll jazz, funk, reggae, and punk stylings into one record and light it up with the fresh fire of heavy metal? You get “I Against I”, the fourth official release of Bad Brains.

The Intro starts with lone drum pops, corresponding ring outs and the start n’stop slow motion metal they were starting to experiment with. Following, theirs what sounds like distant, static news radio chatter. I can’t tell what it says but it might as well be discussing how the following songs are going to smash your cerebellum and temporal lobes together, causing your brain to implode in your skull.

I Against I, the title track holds up any pre expectations that anyone would have for title tracks. It starts with fast pounding drums that achieve a double bass pedal sound without the use of one. Theirs no real song structure, as it moves along in a metamorphosis of tempo changes, shredding chords, and the array of vocals that gives Bad Brains a special place in the hearts of hardcore fans.

House of Suffering is catchy and will most likely get stuck in your head. Daryl Jennifer plays bass with blinding quickness and the hoarse screaming honestly terrifies me more than any other modern day hxc band or any other kind of music that contains the letter x in it’s genre.

Re-Ignition is the perfect combination of every individual component of the song. The B, D, F#, A progression that slides and pinches, the cymbal heavy drum beat and that singing just ignites the song into the single heaviest Bad Brains track of all time and space. If the heartfelt lyrics don’t win over the lady it’s about, then Dr. Know’s six string intimacy will.

Secret 77 has an awesome intro that manages to make you think of espionage without anything sounding remotely similar to Mission Impossible or James Bond. The verses are pretty mellow and the chorus includes the most impressive drums I’ve heard in a Bad Brains song. The thump of the slap bass compliments Earl Hudson’s seemingly random percussion very effectively.

Let Me Help has an Iron Maiden like tone to it plus brute background yelling. The solo really shows off some sweet high end. The punk shifts to something a little more Rastafarian with She’s Calling You. It’s got a tight rhythm, steady palm mutes in the bridge and one of the catchiest hooks on “I Against I”.

Rumor has it that the vocals on Sacred Love were recorded over the phone while H.R. was in prison. They defiantly sound like it, giving them an alluring effect. Unfortunately the story behind it is cooler than the song, which kind of falls flat.

Hired Gun Demonstrates more of the jazz fusion influences. The lyrics are recited like poetry, with airy less distorted guitar that toughens up the track in an outlandishly awesome solo. It kind of reminds me of the movie “Sin City”, because of its telling the tale of a hit man in a classy style that evokes images of gray cityscapes and film noir story telling. Return to Heaven is one of the longer tracks. It starts with very melodious vocals that jump to funk punk where H.R gets pretty high pitched. The guitars chug under what could easily pass for classic hip hop rhymes.

Bad Brains proceeded to release more dub n’ reggae and a little more punk rock material.” I Against I” will always be a stand out album because it has the best balance of all of their diverse influences plus an underlying tinge of metal. They proved that you can blend rasta and punk without creating ska. You can combine jazz, funk and rock and not sound like the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Not an easy feat. There really aren’t any weak points on “I Against I”. Some songs aren’t as good as others, but each instrument is played to it’s strength and with total energy. The kinds of songs you’ll find on this album can be summarized into two types. What isn’t a hyperactive punk track is a mini progressive rock masterpiece, utilizing only the fundamental and primitive instruments of punk.

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Jared Floryan (5)
"In the quest for the test to fulfill an achievement; everybody's only in it all for themselves"...

Comments:Add a Comment 
October 16th 2006


Album Rating: 5.0

One of the best records of all time. It's barely even a hardcore record. I think it's like the London Calling of hardcore. She's Calling You has probably the best riff ever created.This Message Edited On 10.16.06

October 16th 2006


Nice review, much needed too. I really need to hear more from this. What I've heard has been great.

Two-Headed Boy
October 16th 2006


Bad Brains own hard. Sadly, I don't have this album but Rock for Light and the Youth are Getting Restless take fair amounts of cake.

The Jungler
October 16th 2006


This is one of those bands I know very little about, sound wise and history wise. I'm not sure if I should check into it, but I'm always down for some good punk, so maybe someday.

October 16th 2006


Album Rating: 5.0

do it now.

October 17th 2006


Album Rating: 2.5

i guess its just me who feels this album is sort of lacking... ionno. it just doesnt do it for me, i guess its too slow or too much metal influence. it doesnt compare to early Bad Brains

October 17th 2006


Re-ignition is not about a girl

October 17th 2006


I need some Bad Brains.

October 21st 2006


Great album, stupid review

October 22nd 2006


[quote=A-Life-Less-Plagued]I think it's like the London Calling of hardcore.[/quote]Man, that's an awesome way of putting it. That's really cool.

This album is awesome, but I really need to listen to it more.

December 21st 2006


This band is many types of awesome. Re-ignition remionds me of the music in the underground parts on mario games.

December 22nd 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

The Bad Brains are just awesome. Im getting this album on vinyl for Xmas

December 22nd 2006



January 17th 2007


Album Rating: 4.5

Found this at a store around here on vinyl, and I picked it up right when I saw it.

I liked ROIR ALOT. But after hearing this, this is the one that takes the cake.

May 11th 2007


Album Rating: 4.0

The only problem with this album is that it's too short. Only half an hour long. :/

May 25th 2008


Album Rating: 4.5

Amazingly awesomely great album. A notch below ROIR but as an album it's their best song-to-song.

August 19th 2008


I have a feeling I'll like this a tad more then their debut, so I'll check it out.

September 26th 2008


Album Rating: 5.0

this band mirrors the clash so much as far as band history goes, and this album is definitely a Londong Calling!

February 11th 2009


The earlier stuff is SO much more powerful than this. I don't think this has aged very well at all, either.

December 14th 2009


Album Rating: 5.0

This album is a classic. I like to get down to "Re-ignition" almost every day. Gotta love HR.

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