Bad Brains ‘Into the Future’ goes back to the past

Graham C Wheat, Reporter

The newest album from punk rock legends Bad Brains, “Into The Future,” resonates with the signature riffs and frenetic sound the hardcore superstars are known for while continuing to create interesting reggae that fans have grown accustomed to.

Though the group has been a staple for punk rock listeners since the early ’80s, the newest album somehow manages to remain original and at the same time capture the eclectic nature of the group.

While the release of “Build A Nation” in 2007 also tried to achieve those same goals, a return to the Bad Brains signature sound, it seems that this album is the closest the group has come to achieving their former pace and sound since the debut of their single “Pay To Cum” in the early ’80s.

“Into The Future” may be a great recapturing of that time 30 years ago in their career, yet it doesn’t have the same impact or elicit quite the same feelings of those early albums. I won’t try to pontificate on why exactly that impact isn’t achieved in the newest album, it just isn’t.

Yet, the album still manages to capture the listener and at least evoke some feeling.

The title song of the album and the following track “Popcorn” brought me back to the first time I listened to Bad Brains.

H.R.’s unique vocals and Dr. Know’s heavy guitar and solos set the tone perfectly for the album. It highlights what is best about the record, which is Bad Brains ability to meld punk, funk and reggae into a cohesive unit, and yet have each element stand on its own legs.

The album continues to deliver a classic Bad Brains vibe on tracks like “Suck Sess” with chugging guitars and blasting drums supporting H.R.’s eccentric vocals and lyrics.

Also, the group continues to deftly tackle reggae on their latest release.  The last two tracks on the album, “Maybe a Joyful Noise” and “MCA Dub,” prove that Bad Brains are still ever the juxtaposition; they make hardcore punk and reggae on the same album seem to fit.

“Into the Future” is Bad Brains best album in the last decade and fans will be pleased with it. They may not have the same energy or quite the same punch, but with this album Bad Brains continue to solidify their place in punk-rock history.