Tag Archives: punk

Infamous Albums: Black Flag’s What The…

After the success of the article on  Black Sabbath’s Born Again, we decided to immediately work on the next installment of Infamous Albums. For this second episode we will be looking at Black Flag’s 2013 album What The…

The brain child of guitarist, Greg Ginn and most known for former vocalist Henry Rollins, Black Flag along with D.R.I, Minor Threat, Bad Brains and many other helped formed the U.S hardcore punk sound. Starting with their second album My War, the band would become more experimental, something that followed the band on every release until their 1986 break up.

Post break up, the members would remain in the music business with Rollins forming Rollin’s Band and Ginn continued in his other projects most notably The Descendants. In 2003 the band played three reunion shows in their home state of California. These shows would include My War being played in its entirety with skateboarder Mike Valley doing guest vocals.  In 2010, to celebrate the 50th birthday of then ex-vocalist, Ron Reyes, Greg Ginn along with Reyes himself, played a set of three Black Flag songs in addition, to a regular set from The Ron Reyes Band. On December 8th, 2011 ex-members, Keith Morris,Chuck Dukowski, Bill Stevenson, and Descendants guitarist Stephen Egerton played the entire Nervous Breakdown EP. This was a surprise appearance during a Vandals/Descendants show. This line up would continue to tour and be known as Flag.  In 2013, Ron Reyes, and Greg Ginn announced wanting to bring Black Flag back. They were joined by newcomers Gregory Moore on drums and Dave Klein on bass. This caused two versions of the same band to exist, neither which featured Henry Rollins. In 2013, Black Flag released their first album since 1985 titled What The… . Neither fans nor critics were impressed as they saw it as nothing but a cash grab. This is the first full length to not feature Henry Rollins and the first release since their second ep, Jealous Again to feature Ron Reyes.

First off the production on this album is really poor. Sure lo-fi production is one of the charms of Black Flag and punk in general, but here it doesn’t work. The rhythm section is impossible to hear and the mixing is extremely sloppy. Ron Reyes’s vocals on here just sound horrible. While he sounded just fine on Jealous Again, here he just sounds like a washed up version of Mark Arm from Mudhoney.  The lyrics are corny especially coming from a band that’s known for thought provoking lyrics. The album art looks very lazy and more fitting for a 90’s Nicktoon. The guitar work is the closest thing to a redeeming quality. The record has many cool leads and Ginn’s trademark shrieking solos are still there, however the riffs on this album are very generic and get boring fast. The drumming is also very generic. These problems are present on every track, making it a chore to get through in one sitting.

The first half of this album tries to be the in your face, aggressive, punk band we all know and love. Sadly Reyes’s bored sounding vocals combined with the lazy riffs fail to create any sort of energy and a Black Flag album without energy is a big fail. The second half of the album is where we start getting more varied. This is very similar to how My War transitioned from fast, experimental hardcore on side A, to a slow and heavy doom metal inspired style on side B. While that album was great and it’s experimentation inspired many others, What The…, found a way to make even it’s experimental side sound stale. The slow and mid tempo parts  sound very mediocre and chances are the listener is already starting to zone out at this part. The album also doesn’t blur together very well at all. If you were to have this on in the background and not pay attention to the lyrics, you would have no idea which track you are on. This record is so poorly structured that you could cut and paste random sections from random tracks and it wouldn’t make much of a difference. This is a huge step down for Black Flag as their later albums, such as Family Man, were full of variety and risk taking.

In conclusion, What The… , is a sloppy, rushed, mess of an album. Not a single track is worth listening to, as they all sound lazy and are near impossible to tell apart. The mixing and songwriting are bottom of the barrel, which is sad since everyone (when you can actually hear them)  in this band is talented. This is nothing more then an effortless cash grab that puts a stain on the band’s amazing past legacy.

Rating: Why the… did I listen to this.

Misfits’ Albums Get Ranked Up!

 

Misfits (also known as The Misfits) are one of punk rocks most iconic punk bands and the creators of the sub-genre know as horror punk. The band’s distinct mix of punk rock with 50’s pop melodies, and horror themed look and lyrics have given them a following among not just punks, but metal heads , goths, horror fans, you name it. To celebrate Halloween season we decided to make the next installment of Ranked Up! on everyone’s favorite Jersey boys, Misfits.

 

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Project 1950 (2003)

Project 1950 is the first album to feature Jerry Only on vocals and first to have no other classic Misfits members. Instead it contains Marky Ramone on drums and Dez Cadena of Black Flag on guitar. The songs are all covers of 50’s rock hits such as “Great Balls of Fire” and “The Monster Mash“. All of these covers are awful and the album just feels like a cheap cash grab. This same year ex-Misfit, Michael Graves put out an EP titled Seasons of the Witch with his band Gotham Road. Listen to that instead of this pointless release.

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The Devils Rain (2011)

After seven years of no new albums and 12 years without original material, The Devil’s Rain was released. Long gap albums by classic punk bands tend to bad (Black Flag’s What the… for example) and this is no exception. Jerry tries too hard to sound like Danzig and songs like “Father” and “Twilight of the Dead” reek of cheesy songwriting. Jerry may be the nicest of the original members, but this album shows he was never the strength of the band. The film this album is named after is bad to, but in a good way!

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Famous Monsters (1999)

While not as good as the Danzig era, The Michale Graves era of Misfits was still pretty great. This album contains many classic tracks such as “Helena“, “Descending Angel” (which would be re-recorded in 2013), “Forbidden Zone“, “Crawling Eye” and the 50’s style rock n roll song “Saturday Night“. The song Scream would receive a music video directed by George Romero. Doyle, Graves and Dr. Chud would all leave the band after this album.

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American Psycho (1997)

American Psycho is the first album to not feature vocalist Glen Danzig and the first album after their 1983 break up. After their Christian metal project Kryst the Conqueror (not making this up) failed to gain much success, brothers Jerry Only and Doyle Von Frankenstein got the rights from Glen Danzig to reform Misfits. Danzig felt the band would go nowhere without him, but this album would prove him wrong. The band recruited vocalist Michale Graves and drummer Dr.Chud and had their first taste of commercial success. The title track, “Shining” (which is ironically about Poltergeist), “Dig Up Her Bones“, and “This Island Earth” are some of the album’s highlights.

 

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Walk Among Us (1982)

The debut release by the band is one of the very first horror punk albums. This album marked the first appearance of Doyle Von Frankenstein who along with vocalist Glen Danzig and bassist Jerry Only, would go on to become the band’s most iconic members. The album showcases the raw punk/pop melody fusion that the Danzig era is known for. Some of the best tracks from here include “20 Eyes“, “Astro Zombies“, “Skulls” and “Hatebreeders“.

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Earth A.D/Wolfs Blood (1983)

 

The last album to feature Glen Danzig is also one of their most influential. The album is most known for having more of a hardcore punk sound then the other albums. Some of this album’s highlights include “Die Die My Darling“, “Death Comes Ripping“, and “Green Hell“. After this album Glen Danzig would form Samhain, and then his solo band Danzig.

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Static Age (1997)

Though released in 1997, Static Age was recorded in 1978 and was suppose to be the band’s debut album, but they could not find a label that would take it. The album contained the lineup of vocalist Glen Danzig, bassist Jerry Only, guitarist Franche Coma, and drummer Mr. Jim. It contains several horror themed songs such as “Last Caress” and “Return of the Fly” but also songs with other topics such as “Bullet“, “She” and “We Are 138“. The band is playing the album in its entirety on their current tour.

Greg Ginn Loses Lawsuit Against Former Black Flag Bandmates

Back in August, Greg Ginn, renown punk rock guitarist and founding member of the legendary hardcore outfit,  Black Flag,  filed a lawsuit against his former band mates stating that he and his label own the rights to the Black Flag name and logo. Targeting Henry Rollins and Keith Morris, his former bandmates,  for “using his own label’s record covers to feign as though they’ve been continuing to use Black Flag since 1979.”

A  judge denied Ginn’s motion, stating that Ginn was unable to sufficiently prove that he owned the Black Flag name and logo.  A happy ending for most Black Flag fans.

Friday Night Noise: Look What I Did’s “Six Flags Over Jesus”

Coming out of the Nashville, Tennessee music scene, Look What I Did is, without a doubt, one of the most intense underground acts to surface over the past ten years. Taking inspiration from unpredictable artists such as Melvins and Jesus Lizard, the band cannot exactly be classified to a single genre. Look What I Did change their sound from album to album, or more accurately, song to song, always leaving the listener on edge.

 

Listen to the opening track, “Six Flags Over Jesus,”  from their 2010 album,  Atlas Drugged below:

 

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