BAD BRAINS
"Live at CBGB 1982"

(MVD)

For more information, click here.

RATING: 8/10

Everyone that thinks they understand the term "hardcore" needs to view this DVD. Watching Rastacore trailblazers BAD BRAINS destroy CBGB during a series of 1982 performances from a three-day hardcore festival at the legendary venue is downright inspiring. Alternating between frenetic hardcore and mesmerizing reggae beats, vocalist H.R., guitarist Dr. Know, bassist Darryl Aaron Jenifer, and drummer Earl Hudson combined to form one of the most unique units in the East Coast hardcore scene, inspiring, entertaining, and destroying everyone exposed to them.

As one would expect, the sound quality on the disc is not top notch, but it is not horrible either. In fact, the clarity is sufficient and the rawness is in many ways appropriate to the untamed energy of the band and venue. In other words, you'll spend so much time in awe over the wild performances that the sound becomes secondary. The picture quality is quite good and the camera work is more than adequate to give one a feel for what it might have been like to soak in the group's powerful aura and take part in a truly close-knit community during a special time in American hardcore history.

And in case you haven't gotten the gist already, it is worth reemphasizing that the quartet's on-stage intensity is beyond belief, fed in part by the rapidly appreciative audience members and an enthusiastic willingness to join the band on stage at every possible opportunity. H.R. does not perform as much as he appears to be in a near state of epileptic seizure, while Dr. Know shreds as only he can, firing off speeding riffs and busting out some of the wildest and toughest solos this side of Gregg Ginn.

All the classic songs are here as well, "Big Take Over", "Attitude", "I", "Pay to Cum", "The Right Brigade", "Banned in D.C." to name just a handful of the unit's unique and musically accomplished hardcore style. It becomes increasingly obvious by watching the audience reaction that one need not be a fan of reggae to enjoy the spiritual jams of songs like "I and I Rasta", "King of Glory" (with David Hahn assisting on vocals), and "The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth". BAD BRAINS would be one of a select group of hardcore and punk bands to truly demonstrate that links between the two styles, that being music inspired by oppression and the rebellion that comes from those who have been forced to remain silent for too long.

Finally, the extras on this 60-minute DVD do not amount to much. Basically, you get a very short section of fan interviews and a bonus audio track for "I and I Survive". It matters little though, as all you need is this wonderful opportunity to experience the fire and passion of these CBGB performances from a very important and groundbreaking band. One might be tempted to give this a lower rating, based on the disc not meeting today's audio and video standards, but the messages conveyed here transcends sight and sound.

COMMENTS

To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends). To report any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, please send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@)gmail.com with pertinent details.