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My War

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Editors’ Notes

With My War, the true Henry Rollins era of Black Flag begins. He was brought in to sing Greg Ginn’s songs for Damaged and with My War became a fully integrated member of the band, nudging the band towards slower tempos that emphasized their atonal freakouts. This slide towards MC5, free-jazz bust-outs put them at odds with punk rock’s insistence on short, fast rules. But it made the group a distinctive entity at a time when most hardcore punk bands were passing in a blur. Only the title track ever gained true notoriety, but tracks such as “Can’t Decide,” “Three Nights” and the eternal trudge of “Scream” make the case for Greg Ginn as one of the era’s most important guitar players. His solos are off the wall, while his riffage brings back the ghosts of early Black Sabbath at a time when Sabbath was fading from view. Rollins’ throaty, guttural vocal stabs recast the band as a formidable live outfit whose concerts were true endurance tests for all involved.

Customer Reviews

you're one of them

the problem casual listeners have with Black Flag seems to be that they don't realize that it was at least 3 different bands in its tenure (maybe even 4). there was the heady sloppy surf punk phase, the sullen loner mad at the world, and the domineering sexual experimentation phase towards the end. Flag was all these things. these things happen when you have like 14 members in 7 years. My War is their best record. the songs were taught, aggressive, full of confusion and self-loathing (the regular kind of loathing too). the B side is insanely powerful, and people so narrowminded that 20 something years after the fact are trotting out the same tired "but it's so slow" excuses just can't be trusted to formulate opinions on anything outside their tiny microcosm of what punk or music in general should be. it's too slow? jeez, do you hate 'damaged I' too? the brooding, the seething is palpable, and the infamous trudge riff of "scream" is infinately more intense than the posturing Rollins took in the late years (I love Rollins by the way). and if you are a modern man living in the modern age and still consider this a 'metal' record, than you just don't get it, I'm sorry. this record was also the real turning point for the band, as Chuck Dukowski quit prior to it being recorded (Greg Ginn plays bass as well, which leads to the flatness of the recording, more on that in a minute). Rollins is on record as saying that My War was Dukowski's record, Loose Nut was Greg's. he'd co-founded the band and was the only other songwriter, and his departure made the band 100% Greg Ginn, which is why they went headlong into the direction that they did after Slip It In, which was recorded around the same time as My War. the problem with this record isn't that it's slow, or 'metal'. the songs are without a doubt the best the band ever wrote: catchy, mean, alienating and identifiable at the same time. the problem is the recording. a lot of the Flag stuff seems like it got recorded too low, and at times My War gets listless and a little muddy (enhanced by the fact that the instrument tracks were laid down individually, and a solo-mad guitarist did all the basswork). there really just isn't a ton of cohesion, which is noticable moreso on the first side than the second. if you have the ability, check out the mythic 1982 demos, which legally aren't supposed to exist where the incredibly shortlived 5 piece lineup with Chuck Biscuits of DOA (later Danzig!) was the drummer and when Dukowski and Dez were still in the band. it's the My War set list but with some more of the fire and punch that was unfortunately kind of lacking from the actual studio recording. that's the only reason this doesn't get 5 stars. until then.... until then.... until then......

This album might be better than damaged. Really.

I love this album, it's so spiritual and carefree. I feel like running through a spring meadow full of flowers, even on my heavy days. Back in the day punk rockers used to tie tampons to their friends belt loops, when they weren't looking, I did that to my friend on the bus one time, it was pretty cool. But this album is way better. Oh, if your young, like still living with your parents, play this shyt real loud all the time. You'll get way more attention than your other siblings. My dad used to come in and say "Turn down that god damned SUICIDE music!!!" It was so funny, I'd just turn it up, and laugh.

Don't be surprised by the negative reviews, just listen to it first

The bad reaction this album got, such as the idiotic itunes review, are indicative of the narrow mindedness and elitism that permeated the 80's hardcore scene, with incredibly negative attitudes towards anyone doing anything remotely different. This is what led Greg Ginn to end the band, what made Ian McKaye leave Minor Threat and form Embrace and Fugazi, what made Husker Du release Zen Arcade. Punk rock used to be about doing your own thing, so Black Flag decided to do the most punk rock thing possible by NOT rewriting their past records, growing long hair and playing heavy-as-hell riffs. The review refers to this as "slow-than-Black-Sabbath much", yet Black Sabbath was one of Black Flags main influences, so the influence comes full circle. While the punk community scoffed at My War, the rival metal community embraced it. This is a major cornerstone for what would later be known as sludge or stoner rock, which gave rise to such awesome bands like the Melvins, Neurosis, Kyuss and Eyehategod. Give this album a shot, just don't expect Damage.

Biography

Formed: 1977 in Hermosa Beach, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '10s

In many ways, Black Flag was the definitive Los Angeles hardcore punk band. Although their music flirted with heavy metal and experimental noise and jazz more than that of most hardcore bands, they defined the image and the aesthetic. Through their ceaseless touring, the band cultivated the American underground punk scene; every year, Black Flag played in every area of the U.S., influencing countless numbers of bands. Although their recording career was hampered by a draining lawsuit, which was followed...
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