Various Artists

Tribute to Bad Brains

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Without the shadow of the Bad Brains hanging over these songs, this would actually be a fantastic album. Filled with passionate, excellent performances from some of the underground's best punk, hardcore, and experimental bands, Tribute to Bad Brains only falters because the original versions of these songs are so good that the bands here do not really stand a chance in the first place. In fact, the best song here also happens to be the original group reunited under a different name (the clever "On Like Popcorn" from the Soul Brains). The other songs mostly forget the one thing that made this music great in the first place: the expressive singing of HR. So many of these songs manage to keep the intensity of the original, but lose the passion, whether it be the raging anger of "Pay to Cum" or the smooth singing of "She's Calling You." A few renditions (including the previous two songs mentioned) still manage to make the fists pump, but anyone thinking of buying this album should definitely acquaint themselves with I Against I, Rock for Light, or the self-titled debut from the original band first if they have not already. As it stands this is a heart-felt tribute that does not quite get it right despite some good tries.

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