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Bad Brains Build a Nation

Bad Brains is one of American punk's great underdogs. They wrote the book on harDCore in the earliest '80s, and seamlessly integrated Rasta spirituality into the noise. Sadly, they went from being brush-clearing pioneers to becoming a footnote too often overlooked in punk history. On Build a Nation, produced by Beastie Boy Adam Yauch, we have vintage Brains: H.R.'s reggae croon still walks peacefully in Eden amid the noise, and the band still grooves well at 120-BPM hardcore excursions and roots-dub retreats. However, the album's traditionalism handicaps them–so many hardcore bands have copied Bad Brains' sound over the past 25 years, the music ends up sounding generic.

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