- Vinyl (12 April 2011)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Proper W/S
- ASIN: B000000LZ1
- Other Editions: Audio CD | Audio Cassette | Vinyl | MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 20 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 126,138 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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Perhaps the best album to emerge from the quagmire that was early-'80s California hardcore punk, the visceral, intensely physical presence of Damaged has yet to be equaled, although many bands have tried. Although Black Flag had been recording for three years prior to this release, the fact that Henry Rollins was now their lead singer made all the difference. His furious bellow and barely contained ferocity was the missing piece the band needed to become great. Also, guitarist/mastermind Greg Ginn wrote a slew of great songs for this record that, while suffused with the usual punk conceits (alienation, boredom, disenfranchisement), were capable of making one laugh out loud, especially the protoslacker satire "TV Party." Extremely controversial when it was released, Damaged endured the slings and arrows of outrageous criticism (some reacted as though this record alone would cause the fall of America's youth) to become and remain an important document of its time.
Top customer reviews
Henry rollins has a fierce voice,it isnt screamo or anything like that,its just got a sense of anger in it,a sense of real life bite in it,it doesnt sound fake.
The album takes a few spins to really reveal itself,album opener 'rise above' will own you as soon as you hear it,other tracks take a few spins to lodge themselves in your brain.The backing singing here is great as well,maybe black flag at this stage didnt quite have the all round catchiness of another of rollins heroes in The Misfits,but they had the attitude of the time for sure,damaged is worth checking out if you like hardcore punk tinged with a sense of humour and laid back fun at times.
Let me see, what was the last music I paid for? Neville Marriner and the Academy of St Martins in the Fields doing Bach's 'Art of Fugue' and 'Musical Offering'. The original 1943 recording of Benjamin Britten's 'Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings'. Mendlessohn's Hebrides Overture. The waltz from Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty, because my two-year-old girl likes it. Strauss's Blue Danube, because it's such a great old chestnut. Kim Kashkashian playing Hindemith's viola sonatas. Some Israeli surf-punk from Boom Pam and vintage Greek surf guitar from Aris San. Kenny Rogers singing 'Just Dropped In'. Oh yeah, and also Mike Watt's 'Ball-Hog or Tugboat', some free improv guitar by Davey Williams and Maurizio Pollini playing the Diabelli Variations. I think it's fair to say that I have no problem liking various kinds of music. I also like Black Flag. A lot. I like them so much that my only tattoo is of their logo.
I first listened to the Flag in the mid-80s when I was a fairly dumb teenager. In those days I was listening to SST bands, Cream, Hendrix and bebop. Oddly enough, Cream, Hendrix and jazz are all part of the mix when it comes to later Flag (it's well-documented how Greg Ginn - or was it Chuck Dukowski? - turned Henry Rollins onto Charles Mingus while on tour). But this, the first proper Black Flag album, is not only one of the best Black Flag albums, it's also one of the best punk albums ever, and arguably transcends punk by virtue of being relatively complex musically: for every hilarious clapalong rant like 'TV Party' there's something as rhythmically sophisticated as 'What I See' or 'Damaged II'. Black Flag were always a band capable of great musical eloquence, and if they mostly wanted to express anger, alienation, paranoia and contempt, so what? Those are perfectly legitimate emotions to want to get across musically, and these lads really got them across. It's not hard to see why they were so unpopular on their first visit to the UK. British punk bands were always more about fashion and posturing than about playing convincing music, but Black Flag were always single-mindedly about playing whatever they wanted. Maybe that's why they appeal to the muso in me. I can't listen to the Sex Pistols anymore because their stuff doesn't stand up to repeated plays in the way that the Flag's recordings do (and so does the music of their peers - bands like the Minutemen and Husker Du, to name just two).
Black Flag morphed into various different shapes over the years and were frequently stymied and ultimately strangled by Greg Ginn's personality problems, but at his peak he was a fiendishly expressive guitarist. Their records usually sound pretty bad, because nobody in SST really knew how to produce a record so that the band sounded like a band, but the genius still shines through. This is probably the best album, although there are pockets of sheer brilliance scattered over the rest of their output - Loose Nut is perhaps the most metallic, In My Head the weirdest, and The First Four Years is a vital document of the early Flag when they were more of a regular (if very good) hardcore punk band.
Listen to Damaged. It has, as we say in academia, considerable extra-musical interest, being a crucial document of the LA punk subculture. But it's also a great rock album, one of the best ever.
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