Charity albums suck. Suck big donkey goat.
Apart from this one. Get 18 of America's premiere hardcore rockers doing guest vocals on a bunch of old Black Flag songs. You know, Henry Rollin's first band. The band that sound like a punch in the face with a big black rock. Long long before chancers like whomever adorns kiddies bootleg tops rose to fame, Black Flag were out there serving up doses of naked, raw rock music with titles such as "My War", "Depression", "Police Story", and "Revenge".
Got the picture yet?
This wasn't just music : this was exorcism. And even now, listening to twenty year old songs exhumed and sung by members of the original band - and the stars of today who stand in awe of their shadow, it still sounds vital. I need music like this in my life. It makes life easier. It speaks to all of us.
You ain't heard anything til you've heard Ice-T giving up "Police Story". Hank Williams III singing "No Values", or Iggy Pop decimating "Fix Me". These aren't songs : they're postcards thrown from the chasm of existence and fused with a desperate need for spiritual healing.
When Henry Rollins slips into "My War", with it's insistent, limited autodiadactic repetition of "You say you're my friend, but you're one of them, You're One Of Them, YOU'RE ONE OF THEM!" there's no doubt in your mind. This is about so much more than music : this is a skull peeled back and dropped onto vinyl.
This is the sound of the fear that lives at the heart of the human psyche, and the sound of resistance as we fight against a world we neither want or made being forced upon to us. And our struggle to rise above all that tries to drown us.
You've Got To Rise Above. Starring Chuck D, Ice T, Iggy Pop, Henry Rollins, Mike Patton, Queens Of The Stone Age, Ween, Slipknot, Amen, Lemmy, Slayer and Rancid. And proceeds go to trying to clear the convictions of three teenagers whose only crime was wearing black and listening to rock.
You don't need any more reasons to go out and buy this. You've got to rise above what tries to drown you. Now.
on 19 February 2003
Superb compilation. Worthy cause, too. This is Black Flag with great production, Rollins' 'Mother Superior' band providing the backing and some truly excellent reworkings of many tracks. Lemmy is superb, Iggy Pop and Ice-T are both great here, and for thirtysomethings like me it's interesting to hear some of the newer 'metal' guys on vocals - the fella Bixler on track 5, who sounds like Jello Biafra, and Casey Chaos (who he?) really belts out 'Depression'. Whether or not you like (or even know) half of the vocalists here, you'll want to buy it for the overall package. Top-notch, modern & classic at the same time, Black Flag. Now you just need to read Devil's Knot, the book about the case behind this. Suitably harrowing music, in context.
As a complete Black Flag nut, the idea of these covers filled me with concern... but the results are utterly blinding.
To hear such classics as Black Coffee, Rise Above etc sung by the likes of Lemmy, Iggy and a bunch of obvious Flag fans works ten fold. The intensity of Henry's original work is there, complimented by a production team that brings the sound to the full.
I guess you could argue that Gregg Ginn's guitar work is not quite as 'out there' as it was on say, 'My War', but that's a minor complaint and in reality, for those not 'into' Black Flag, this is the perfect way to begin. Henry roars his way through his classics with even more venom than ever.
It really is a wonderful piece of work, and all for a good cause.
on 11 July 2004
This is not entirely positive. Not all the efforts here match up to the originals, TV Party for me is lacklustre, lacking the power of the BF version. But there are some real high points. Lemmy adds a meaning to thristy and miserable that Rollins cannot. Lemmy has been that man! Ice T is great- boy that guy jsut can't get enough of baiting the Police.
I know little of the case, and I admire the effort that has gone into this project. There are some big names and big reputations here. It is a tribute to BF that these guys want to be involved
on 9 October 2002
If you liked Black Flag in their heyday you won't be dissapointed. This is Top Drawer stuff recorded well and, played at ear-splitting volume, just takes you back where you wanna be. You get the impression that the various singers on the album are doing these songs cause they love them and they're extremely powerful ... this is not a cheesy compilation/benefit album. Check out Lemmy's version of 'Thirsty and Miserable', or indeed the title track for examples of finnesse. The only downside is that it illustrates to me how mediocre Rollins' stuff has been since he left Flag.