Into The Future
If I’m supposed to be comparing Into The Future to the explosive, game-changing Bad Brains of yesteryear, then the album is an embarrassment, an outpouring of lukewarm slurry sorely absent the thunderclaps that made this band riveting a million lifetimes ago. Independent of the towering Bad Brains legacy, Into The Future is at least something different, an exercise in rasta-tinged traditional hardcore with aggressive power metal flourishes. Still, there are few (if any) transcendent moments here, the best tracks being so merely because they offer a little more pep or energy than the rest.
Instrumentally the Bad Brains’ execution is tight, and singer H.R. gently coos over the shifting reggae-punk sands like the space cadet everyone’s made him out to be. It’s almost hypnotizing to hear how calm the vocalist remains even when the music behind him is raging several decibels into the red. That said, H.R.’s melodies sometimes clash painfully with the music, and the man’s lyrical creations leave a bit to be desired (“Music is fun, school is fun,” he chirps in “Fun,” and the list doesn’t end there). I don’t fault a fifty-something guy with apparent mental health issues for not coining the next set of revolutionary slogans, though. Based on all the things I’ve seen and read about the poor fella it’s an accomplishment that they squeezed performances out of him that are this entertaining.
Into The Future includes a full-on tribute to Adam Yauch entitled “MCA Dub”; the late Beastie Boy produced Bad Brains’ previous effort, 2007’s Build a Nation, which I recall being a very similar affair (alright for a bunch of nobodies but depressing for genre legends). To that degree, this band is being consistent. Alas, this album’s title is a misnomer; Bad Brains are not going into the future so much as treading water in the shallow end of a pool they helped fill. Passing another kidney stone like this will only yield more painful waves of “remember whens?” and “back in the days” from disappointed fans.
FINAL SCORE: One rasta lions (out of four).