ARTIST: Black Flag
YEAR RELEASED: 1981
CHART ACTION: None
SINGLES: Six Pack and TV Party were singles (using different versions)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Rise Above, Depression, Police Story, Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie
LINEUP: Henry Rollins, Greg Ginn, Dez Cadena, Chuck Dukowski, Robo
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: First full-length album that the band actually completed, and it’s a seminal punk rock album that is brought down some by repetitiveness and production issues.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Black Flag finally found a vocalist who melded well with the nihilistic, angry lyrics in Henry Rollins. The story of how he joined the band is incredible in its own right. This allowed Dez Cadena to move to rhythm guitar and gave Greg Ginn an opportunity to solo and go wild without sacrificing the song structure.
The songs are mostly powerful rants about society, with some other rants about culture thrown in there for good measure. They also have a sense of humor at times which was and still is a rarity in many hardcore circles.
For me, the album fizzles out at the end. The sequencing is a little off so that similar songs are placed together, and ending it with “Damaged I”, which is a long dirge, breaks the momentum. The production also adds to the grim nature of the closing songs.
It is one of the most important statements of rock-and-roll, though, and a must for any comprehensive collection.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: This was originally released on Unicorn, a subsidiary of MCA, and the saga of THAT relationship and all of the lawsuits is pretty amazing as well. Basically, Black Flag were out of the record making business for a couple of years.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No
GRADE: A-: The sound and fury for the first 2/3 of the record is great. It’s the end that wears me out.