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Rock For Light

4.5 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 6, 1991
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Product Description

No Description Available
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Media Type: CD
Artist: BAD BRAINS
Title: ROCK FOR LIGHT
Street Release Date: 01/10/1991
Domestic
Genre: PUNK

Amazon.com

Virtually everyone agrees that this group--made up of four Washington, D.C.-bred African American jazzbos--single-handedly invented hardcore. They radically quickened punk's tempos, added virtuoso instrumentation, and topped it all off with the mystic squeals of shaman-like frontman Paul "H.R." Hudson. This disc, produced (oddly enough) by ex-Cars leader Ric Ocasek, gives voice to the band's scathing sociopolitical judgment (see "Big Takeover") as well as its ability to simply put the hammer down and rock ("At the Movies"). It also allows the rhythm section of Darryl Jenifer and Earl Hudson to flex their muscle on a smattering of dub reggae interludes that help lull the unsuspecting into the right frame of mind for the next HC sucker punch. --David Sprague
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 6, 1991)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Astralwerks
  • ASIN: B000000HSU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #123,774 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. Righter on June 10, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Bad Brains is a classic, immensely talented, frenetic hardcore band (...), and "Rock For Light" is arguably their best release (although I probably prefer the more punkish "Black Dots" album a slight bit more). I know a lot of folks prefer the self-titled release to this, but I have never understood that. RFL is so much more diverse, with a handful of great reggae songs and some wonderful "pop-core" (the title track and "At the Movies," for instance). The song selection, for sure, is far superior to that of the self-titled release (including the already-mentioned "Rock for Light" and "At the Movies," as well as "Coptic Times," "How Low Can A Punk Get," "Joshua's Song," and "Riot Squad"). My one complaint is that I take great umbrage with Darryl's decision to resequence the track order on the Caroline CD. The new tracking blows and completely ruins the flow of the album. For those of you who really want to experience the greatness of this album, reprogram the tracking as follows:
Coptic Times (the perfect opener)/attitude/we will not/sailin' on/rally around jah throne/right brigade/f.v.k./riot squad/the meek shall inherit the earth/joshua's song/banned in d.c./how low can a punk get?/big takeover/i&i survive/destroy babylon/rock for light/at the movies (you can add the three bonus tracks at the end -- supertouch/I/jam)
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Format: Audio CD
For this CD, you need to talk about not just the music but also how it has been presented. First, the music part. "Rock for Light" was the Bad Brain's first full-length vinyl release, coming a couple of years after their attention-getting (on the underground scene) release for New York's cassette-only ROIR label. A lot of the tracks from the ROIR release are repeated here. In case you don't know--and maybe you don't, which is why you read these reviews--the music here is punk rock. The Bad Brains' fast, precisely played interpretation of it was one of the sounds that helped create the template for hardcore punk, for better and worse. Vocalist H.R. does everything from croon to screech to yowl as he belts out frequently Rastafarian-themed lyrics about freedom, social ills, and the like. Three reggae tracks are mixed in--not the greatest reggae you'll ever hear, but a nice change of pace and certainly played from the heart. The riffs are hard and the musicians know what they're doing; this is great music to set your heart racing and get your arms and legs pumping.

The presentation: As two earlier reviewers (Tokyogarman and ebblank) suggested in their comments, all of the hardcore songs have been sped up a full half-step on the CD reissue from the original vinyl release of "Rock for Light." I used to play these songs on guitar all the time and have them pretty much committed to memory, and I had to play everything higher when I played along to the CD. If you've got the LP, you can play it side by side with the CD--you'll hear the change right away. Oddly, the reggae songs still play at the same speed, though a lot of the toasting (the bits thrown in at the end of the reggae songs where somebody, presumably an overdubbed H.R.
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2 Comments 34 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD
Don't get me wrong-this ALBUM is one of the best punk records of all-time. But the CD sounds terrible and is actually inaccurate when compared to the original vinyl release. I'm not a vinyl nazi but in this case the parties concerned really screwed it up. The CD is 5% faster and is pitched up as well when played alonside the vinyl. That means that the songs aren't even in the same key anymore! Why? Why did they ruin this amazing record? The tunes on the original vinyl release were faster than anything before. They sounded insane and that was good. Now HR sounds like a damn chipmunk and the drums have no guts at all. The mix is all screwed up as well. In the mythic "someday" this will be restored by finding the original 2 track mixes and then re-releasing them on CD. If you can find the vinyl buy it, but if you can't then the CD will have to do. Just know that the CD does not contain the sound that makes this such a classic record. To me, the funny thing is that there is a whole generation loving this CD now that would hate the vinyl 'cause it would sound "slow". A better purchase would be the ROIR sessions.
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Format: Audio CD
surely one of the best punk hardcore records, and at this day the only all black punk band. they introduced reggae in the punk (which became "fashion" since then). this record is 22 year old, but kicks asses of bands like nofx and that kind of crap... A must have for all music addicts
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Format: Audio CD
Very few bands can claim to have invented a type of music, but Bad Brains sure as hell can. They are THE hardcore punk band of the century. The fast pounding guitars and HR's awesome voice really shine on this cd, but on all Bad Brains cd for that matter. And then once you're really getting into the amazing hardcore they'll slow it down into the best reggae/dub I've ever heard. "I and I survive" is my favorite reggae song ever, and one of my favorite songs of any type of music ever! The lyrics are meaningful and politically insightful and have a great message behind them. What else can I say, this album rocks! I wish I could see em live someday, ... they were most active before I was even born!
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