Black on Black
Tribute to Black Flag
A tribute to Black Flag by bands who are all established, tough and completely destructive… Oh, man! This is the mother of all tribute albums.
The disc opens with American Nothing (ex- American Nightmare) going crazy on “Depression.” It’s screamy, with chaotic and overly distorted guitars. They totally make their own one of the few Black Flag songs I ever actually liked. Anodyne offers a slow, plodding cover of “Life of Pain.” It’s probably one of the most accurate covers on this album. Burnt by the Sun covers “Drinking and Driving,” and while it’s heavy and “brutal,” it’s somewhat boring. The lovely and talented boys of Coalesce interpret one the better known Black Flag tunes, “Jealous Again.” Their version sounds pretty much like Black Flag, as the only thing truly Coalesce about this track is the vocalist’s screams. Even the instrumentation sounds very close to the original. Still, this is probably one of the best songs on the album. Not entirely aggressive or tough, it’s just a great song played by one of hardcore’s greats.
Converge are their usual spastic selves on their version of “Annihilate This Week.” I’m guessing that hardcore kids who have never heard Black Flag will easily accept this song as a Converge original. The vocalist’s screams and growls are as painful as ever, the guitars are ridiculously grating and grinding and the outcome is fabulous! The larger than life Dillinger Escape Plan cover the sacred “Damaged (I & II),” and it’s pretty much what you’d expect it to be: violent, aggressive and quite true to the original. The Hope Conspiracy does “Nervous Breakdown.” It’s an alright version, but the vocals are abysmal.
Now, let it be known that I consider Planes Mistaken For Stars to be the ultimate power in the universe of punk rock, so my opinion of their version of “Police Story/ Wasted” is slanted. It’s awesome! They do a sweet dual vocal attack, with a screamer & mumbler-growler, that totally makes these covers shine with glory. Their version of “Wasted” sounds very much like the original. If you’ve never heard PMFS, I can’t really describe their brand of violent math/emo stuff well … these songs sound like PMFS songs that Black Flag wrote (does that make sense?). Playing Enemy wraps things up with a crushing and very modern sounding version of “Six Pack.” Their version is way better than the original.
Plain and simple, this is one of the coolest, toughest and rippin’est (I know that’s not a word) tribute records I’ve ever heard. Most of the songs stay pretty true to the originals, but there’s enough of each individual band on these songs to make this quite unique.
Initial Records: http://www.initialrecords.com/