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I Against I

4.4 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (21 Mar. 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Proper W/S
  • ASIN: B000000M0V
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 113,963 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

I Against I was for Bad Brains what London Calling was for the Clash -- the band's first fully mature work, one which successfully brought together all of its diverse influences while at the same time showcasing a singular vision. Also like London Calling, it was to be the band's masterpiece, in the original sense of that term -- a creative pinnacle which they would not reach again. The album opens with the title track, a blistering and musically exhilarating deploration of violence, and then moves directly into "House of Suffering," easily the most complex and yet viscerally compelling song the band ever produced. Singer H.R. digs deep into his bag of voices and pulls them all out, one by one: the frightening nasal falsetto that was his signature in the band's hardcore days, an almost bel canto baritone, and a declamatory speed-rap chatter that spews lyrics with the mechanical precision of a machine gun. He positively croons on the surprisingly melodic "Secret 77" and "Let Me Help." But his voice isn't even the best thing happening here. It's the incredibly tight, funky, and tonally rich interplay between guitarist Dr. Know, bassist Darryl Jenifer, and drummer Earl Hudson that gives this album its deeply satisfying texture. The stop/start rhythms of "Secret 77" and "Sacred Love," the gorgeous guitar hook on "She's Calling You," Dr. Know's completely counterintuitive ability to meld the raw directness of hardcore punk with an almost supernatural virtuosity without sacrificing the power of either approach -- this is music-making of an order not usually seen in rock & roll.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I've heard quite a few post-punk records in my time but none better than I Against I. Originally released in 1986, it was Bad Brains' bid to draw a line under hell-for-leather punk and go wherever their inclinations took them. The record proves beyond any doubt that their ability more than matched their ambition: if Stevie Wonder, Bob Marley, The Sex Pistols and Jimi Hendrix had got together in the studio, the results would have sounded like I Against I - it's that good.
Using conventional instrumentation, I Against I is slower paced than the Brains' earlier output, leaving room for funky basslines that recall Gang of Four and Fugazi. The guitars yelp their way up and down the scale as though they are almost human, while HR sings in a frequently pained voice that complements the theme of the lyrics: dignity in adversity. The octave range is wide throughout, so we are treated to real tunes that put most of today's 'emo' to shame. The record possesses two idiosyncrasies: HR sang the lyrics to Sacred Love down a phone line from prison (a drugs-related offence, apparently), while Intro is 20 or 30 seconds of music that grows into a full song on the Brains' next album, Quickness. I Against I also contains House of Suffering, a fantastic, abrasive, impassioned and melodic song that ranks as Bad Brains' best tune ever. Rather than rail aimlessly at the world, Bad Brains took up Rastafarianism. This endows I Against I with a righteousness unusual in this type of music. None of the tracks overstays its welcome and the whole thing sounds as if it was all in a day's work for the band.
Everyone from Kurt Cobain to The Beastie Boys name-checked Bad Brains, and I Against I anticipated the 'dance rock' of Faith No More and Jane's Addiction, but neither of those bands sound as soulful and effortless as Bad Brains sound here.
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Format: Audio CD
This a rerelease of the 1986 album I against I. Production values are far better than the 1982 S/T release on ROIR, but perhaps losing a little of the raw live Brains energy. There is a good mix of hardcore (i against i, re-ingnition), and bad brains style funky reggae hardcore (secret 77, she's calling you, return to heaven). HR's vocals are as ever excellent and Gary Millers guitar work is able to shine through a little more clearly with the better production. If you want to hear the real Bad Brains then you need to get a live album, re-ignition and secret 77 often feature in live performances. The studio versions are a bit more soulful but still manage to capture the Bad Brains energy and show off the amazing skill of the musicians, a must buy hardcore album, and a good introduction to the Bad Brains.
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Format: MP3 Download
If at first you're thinking, what the hell are a bunch of dreads doing playing punk rock, then let your curiosity take you deeper into this cast iron classic of the era.

I Against I is a pulsating crunching rock album showing the fury and lightness of touch that made Bad Brains such a wonderful band. They don't dip into their reggae side here, but no matter, you'll find some brilliant tracks here.

If you like your rock hard, driven and with a message thrown in for free, then this is very much for you.

Brilliant
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
if you like rock/punk/metal then this is a classic. it's very short but every track is brilliant better short with good tracks than long with loads of filler.bad brains are not very well known but if you're feel you want to check them out then this is a great place to start.rasta punk rock, an awesome album!
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