"I agree with the average Amazon reviewer review of 4 stars (out of 5) for this album. This album is essentially a companion piece to what some claim is their masterwork, the "I Against I" album.
One doesn't need to purchase "I Against I" to appreciate this album, but it would be recommended, as the album effectively functions as a sequel. The first track of "I AGAINST I" -- the "Intro" -- contains the riff that would become the backbone of Track 2 here, "Voyage Into Infinity." In that sense, "With the Quickness," is an expansion upon "I Against I," a logical counterpart.
By this time in hardcore history, hardcore punk had given way to metal crossover influences. Bands like DRI, SUICIDAL TENDENCIES, the CRO-MAGS, and others were blending speedmetal with hardcore. The BAD BRAINS, though originally from DC, were undoubtedly aware of the New York Hardcore movement that was blending chunka-chunka , palm muted metal with hardcore punk, themselves having moved to New York City by this time. "Quickness" reflects this awareness and incorporates it effortlessly into a powerful combination here.
While this LP is arguably not as good as "I Against I," I think it comes close. It is not the same faster-than-fast thrashy Bad Brains of old, though a few faster numbers are thrown on in what feels like an attempt to prove to people they hadn't abandoned their fastcore punk roots. The best tracks are actually the mid-tempo metal tracks, like the 1st two songs. As with most Bad Brains albums, the best tracks are on the first half of the album, and the 2nd half becomes more experimental, slower, etc.
One warning, it is on this album that Bad Brains included their homophobic song "Don't Blow Bubbles," which is about AIDS and homosexuality. Basically, the gist of that song is that AIDS is the deserved punishment of those who are gay. It's unfortunate that Bad Brains wrote and recorded this. Musically, the song is one of the best on the LP, but lyrically it's basically about as good as a Skrewdriver or M.O.D. song. The Bad Brains caused a lot of controversy in the hc scene when they revealed their essentially homophobic beliefs via this song and various other statements.
So, take that into mind when you buy this album. Bad Brains made a lot of good music early on, but it's a shame they had to delve into anti-gay waters through their music on this album."
Quickness review from a gay rights supporter
Zachary V. Sunderman | Youngstown, OH United States | 12/11/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"First things first---a note on the homophobia contained in this album, on the song "Don't Blow Bubbles." First of all, this wasnt the shocking revelation of HR's homophobia---that happened in 1982 on tour with the Big Boys. Secondly, the song in question has NEVER suggested to me that AIDS is the just punishment for gay people. What HR seems to be saying in the song is that being gay is wrong, yada yada, and that gays should ask "Jah" to help them get over their supposed illness. It's based on compassion, although of course the same misguided kind of compassion that leads new-age Christian groups to have 12-step programs for homosexuals. However, at the very least, it doesn't suggest they should DIE!
The deal is H.R.'s not only a Rasta, but he's a schizofrenic who refuses to take his medicine (due to Rasta beliefs). The guy is literally, factually insane. He's not thinking straight. I don't take lyrics like that seriously from him. In the book "American Hardcore," bassist Daryl Jenifer apologized for the homophobic attitudes of days past and chalked it up to being young and naive. So, FORWARD I bredren!
Now as for the actual record. Great, great, great record (except for "Don't Blow Bubbles," which mercifully is a second-rate song at best and doesn't make you feel upset for skipping over due to the lyrics). It ain't the first album though. If you want the real Bad Brains, pick that up to hear one of the greatest things ever recorded by anyone.
This album definitely incorporates metal influence, but it also kicks up their funk influences which had only shown up as recent as "I Against I." They use this to great effect on "With the Quickness" and "No Conditions," two absolutely PUMMELING funk-punk-metal songs.
The fast, return-to-the-roots moments on this album are amazing. "The Messengers" flies past at breakneck speed and then suddenly slows down, concluding in an almost other-worldly sounding melodic breakdown unlike anything else in their canon. "Gene Machine," a re-working of "Don't Bother Me" from their 1979 demo (released as "Black Dots") hits HARD, taking the speedy passages from the original "Don't Bother Me" and splitting them up with the Bad Brains' trademark stomping crunch breakdowns. "Sheba," like "The Messengers," is on the surface a ridiculously energetic hardcore punk song, but supports a mystical lyrical theme, resulting in a very strange - but good - vibe overall.
Combine the punishing grooves of "Soulcraft" and "Voyage to Infinity," the gorgeous atmospheric vibe of "Silent Tears," and some dashes of reggae and funk here and there, and you have a magnificent record that, if not being preceded by the self-titled and "I Against I" would be a classic in and of itself. Overlooked and underappreciated."
Still classic Bad Brains
Gogol | England | 07/05/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Yeh this came out in the whole 'crossover' period of the late 80s when bands like Cro Mags, Suicidal Tendencies, Gang Green and DRI (at least DRI made a good attempt at it) crossed over into a more metal sound.
First I was a little worried that this may be just another 3rd rate crossover album but nope, this is still Bad Brains doing what they do best, pushing the boundries of music to the limits!
This still has classic BB hardcore mixed with reggae but now with a couple of slower 'metal' sounding tracks thrown in that Bad Brains produce so well they dont sound out of place.
A few listens later and this has got to be one of my favorite Bad Brains albums. Buy it, you wont be disappointed."
Punk + Metal+ Reggae dudes kickin [...] = Awesome
R. V. Zandt | Jackson,MS USA | 07/14/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I Just got the quickness sent from amazon and I was listening to it today and now Im overwelmed with joy, cant recommend this enough to bad brains fan, fans of infectious punk or metal
Soul craft,Voyage into infinity,With the quickness,Yout juice and Prophets eye are the best the rest is good to listen to not filler but those are my fav cuts but as too the contreversial track dont blow no bubbles I really dont care for the track anyway its not that great of a track anyway but I dont why people dont just laugh at it more as a joke I sure dont take it seriously and Im more offended by the people who get offended for a track that isnt that great to begin with....jeez leweez"
It's own ting
uprising81 | louisville, ky | 04/02/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I haven't heard any other band that sounds like bb, and i will always keep this one. If you are unfamiliar with hr then you may be turned off at first, but he quickly grows on you because he is extremely expressive. The production is sharp and pops. The mid-song rythmn changes, like in "the messengers" are ingenious and keep the music fresh today. "With the Quickness" is an eclectic mix of grunge (before grunge), vernon reid-esq solos, thrash-metal and, of course, punk. This album was a nice blend of fast, ripping tracks (e.g. "sheba") and slowed-down, heavy-chevy tracks (e.g."w/da quickness"). Bb's lyrics were wonderful then, because the airwaves were dominated by flakey stuff lacking substance and, today, these lyrics still have depth to them, taking the listener on a metaphysical and concrete journey keeping true to reggae by interspersing religion and charged political opinions throughout the album. The only drawback on the album is "don't blow..." which seems like musical filler."