All of these years later, this album is still pretty astonishing. The heavy punk blends so well with the reggae-inspired jams. Perhaps the biggest band where Bad Brains influence is evident is Fishbone (especially their later metal songs). But you can hear t hem in Faith No More and many other mid 90′s bands as well.
The disc opens with a great off-beat instrumental (“Intro”) which leads into the amazing yell-along “I Against I.” “House of Suffering” follows with some more speedy hardcore. Then it all slows down with “Re-Ignition,” the first indication that this is an album unafraid to take risks. Although the thumpy riff and heavy beats are still there, the vocals are more of a reggae style (especially towards the end). “Secret 77″ follows with a kind of funk experiment (but those drums are still loud and stark–Earl is a maniac!).
Darryl’s bass work is tremendous throughout the disc, and Dr. Know’s guitar is amazing–speeding fast soloing, heavy punk riffs and delicate intricate reggae sections intermingle with ease. And, of course, we can’t forget about H.R.’s vocals. He has several different delivery styles from the speedy punk to the reggae deliveries and the all over the place (including high-pitched shrieks on “Return to Heaven”).
The second half of the disc experiments with more diversity, and it is somewhat less punk sounding (although not by much).
Historically, it’s hard (for me) to place exactly how influential they were. Listening to the disc today (which doesn’t sound dated in any way) it sounds utterly contemporary in stylistic choices. Did they come up with the mosh break? They certainly are the first punk band the embrace Jah (that’s a trend that never really took off though, eh?), but their funk metal sound predates the popular Faith No More style by over a decade.
[READ: November 21, 2010] “The Kids Are Far-Right”
I know I subscribed to Harper’s when this article was published (I distinctly remember the jelly bean portraits of Reagan), but I’m pretty sure I didn’t read it then because the whole idea of it sounded depressing (the subtitle: “Hippie hunting, bunny bashing, and the new conservatism”) was just too much for me in 2006 (and was almost too much for me in 2010).
And so our correspondent (not long after his trip through the Bush/Cheney volunteer minefield) heads out to the twenty-eighth National Conservative Student Conference. He meets exactly what you would expect: right-wing campus types (several from ultra-religious schools) who are there to learn to hate liberals even more than they already do (and boy do they).
Wells’ article is full of details about all of the speeches and programs, as well as biographical information about some of the attendees. Most of them just want to get rid of liberals on campus, but some want to go into politics themselves someday (they are viewed with suspicion here). Many also hate George W. Bush because he raised taxes. In hindsight what we have here is the origins of the tea party.
The only comforting news to come from the article is that only 400 people attended (but they were willing to spend a few hundred dollars and give up a week of their summer vacation, so it’s still a pretty high number). (more…)