Bad Brains: Into The Future

DC hardcore pioneers make dignified return.

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At their peak, Bad Brains were untouchable. A fiercely independent Rastafarian collective equally inspired by The Clash, Bob Marley and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, their incendiary dub‐inflected punk rock inspired and empowered a generation of confused US teenagers, laying the foundations for the American hardcore movement.

Yet few bands have so gleefully pissed on their legacy, with ill‐judged line‐up changes, shambolic reunion tours and insipid ‘comeback’ albums besmirching their reputation. Happily, Into The Future, the Washington DC quartet’s ninth studio album, goes a long way to restoring some pride.

Bassist Darryl Jenifer maintains that this is the “purest” Bad Brains recording since their superb self‐titled debut and, while time has understandably tempered some of their fire and ire, HR’s soulful vocals and his bandmates’ beautifully fluid musicianship remain a thing of wonder on Popcorn and Youth Of Today.

Whether this combustible unit can hold it together long enough to truly reclaim their iconic status is debatable, but this is a very welcome return.

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.