BLACK FLAG
Hardcore and crust / Non-Metal • United States

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Black Flag is a hardcore punk band formed in 1976 under the name Panic. The band is noted as one of the first hardcore punk bands, as well as being among the first punk bands to incorporate elements of heavy metal.

The band changed their name from Panic to Black Flag in 1978, the name being suggested by founder Greg Ginn's brother Raymond Pettibon. Pettibon suggested that "If a white flag means surrender, a black flag represents anarchy."

The band had many vocalists before then-fan Henry Rollins joined as vocalist in 1981. Rollins was the band's longest-time vocalist, being in the band until Black Flag broke up in 1986.

After the band's debut album, Damaged, the band began to take a lot of influence from heavy metal bands such as Black Sabbath. Their second album, My War, shows a mixture of hardcore punk and Sabbath-esque doom metal. This led to the
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DamagedDamaged
Sst Records 1990
Audio CD$11.89
$5.10 (used)
Everything Went BlackEverything Went Black
Sst Records 1990
Audio CD$15.00
$7.95 (used)
My War [Vinyl]My War [Vinyl]
Import
Sst Records 1990
Vinyl$21.00
$107.81 (used)
Family Man [Vinyl]Family Man [Vinyl]
Import
Sst Records 1990
Vinyl$15.00
$20.00 (used)
First Four Years / SinglesFirst Four Years / Singles
Sst Records 1990
Audio CD$12.00
$4.90 (used)
What theWhat the
Sst Records 2013
Vinyl$6.00
$19.99 (used)
Slip It In [Vinyl]Slip It In [Vinyl]
Sst Records 1990
Vinyl$15.00
$25.33 (used)
Annihilate This Week [Vinyl]Annihilate This Week [Vinyl]
Single
Sst Records 1990
Vinyl$6.00
$9.06 (used)
Black Flag: Damaged Vinyl LPBlack Flag: Damaged Vinyl LP
SST
Vinyl$29.95
$49.99 (used)
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BLACK FLAG Discography

BLACK FLAG albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 4.75 | 2 ratings
Damaged
Hardcore and crust 1981
.. Album Cover 5.00 | 2 ratings
My War
Hardcore and crust 1984
.. Album Cover 2.50 | 2 ratings
Family Man
Non-Metal 1984
.. Album Cover 4.50 | 2 ratings
Slip It In
Hardcore and crust 1984
.. Album Cover 4.00 | 2 ratings
Loose Nut
Hardcore and crust 1985
.. Album Cover 4.50 | 2 ratings
In My Head
Hardcore and crust 1985
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
What The...
Hardcore and crust 2013

BLACK FLAG EPs & splits

.. Album Cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Nervous Breakdown
Hardcore and crust 1979
.. Album Cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Jealous Again
Hardcore and crust 1980
.. Album Cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Six Pack
Hardcore and crust 1981
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
TV Party
Hardcore and crust 1982
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Process of Weeding Out
Non-Metal 1985
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Annihilate This Week
Hardcore and crust 1987
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
I Can See You
Hardcore and crust 1989

BLACK FLAG live albums

.. Album Cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Live '84
Hardcore and crust 1984
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Who's Got the 10½?
Hardcore and crust 1986
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Live at the On Broadway 1982
Hardcore and crust 2010

BLACK FLAG demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

BLACK FLAG re-issues & compilations

.. Album Cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Everything Went Black
Hardcore and crust 1982
.. Album Cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
The First Four Years
Hardcore and crust 1983
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Wasted...Again
Hardcore and crust 1987

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BLACK FLAG movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

BLACK FLAG Reviews

BLACK FLAG Live '84

Live album · 1984 · Hardcore and crust
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Warthur
An extensive live document of the Black Flag tour falling after the sessions that capped off Family Man and yielded Slip It In on the one hand, and prior to the sessions that would produce In My Head, Loose Nut, and The Process of Weeding Out on the other. Sound quality is not exceptional, which may perhaps have contributed to making this a cassette-only release in its original incarnation, but the song selection is decent, with a range of material from recent or soon-to-be recorded albums with just a few Damaged-era tracks sprinkled in to keep the fans of that period happy. Not a classic, but worth it if you are fond of this period of Black Flag's development.

BLACK FLAG Loose Nut

Album · 1985 · Hardcore and crust
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Warthur
Another fruit of the March 1985 sessions which rounded out In My Head and also yielded The Process of Weeding Out, Loose Nut finds Black Flag in a somewhat more accessible mode than the avant-hardcore of the former or the jazz experimentation of the latter. Essentially a concept album about being horny and frustrated (the guitar tone at points seems to point in the direction of the noisy experiments of Big Black's Songs About Fucking), it's a much more straight-ahead and accessible album than any Black Flag had released since Damaged - which isn't to say that the skewed, oddball direction that they'd taken since then isn't reflected, just that it isn't quite as much at centre stage. It's a lot of fun, but suggests that Black Flag broke up at the last time - after spending so long blazing a trail through uncharted territory, it wouldn't have been fun to watch Black Flag continue in this direction for much longer.

BLACK FLAG In My Head

Album · 1985 · Hardcore and crust
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Warthur
Much of In My Head was actually recorded before the preceding album, Loose Nut. In My Head was recorded in sessions spanning from October 1984 to March 1985, Loose Nut was recorded as part of the March 1985 sessions along with The Process of Weeding Out EP, and some tracks from the cassette and CD versions of this album that later got an independent release as the I Can See You EP. However, In My Head was held back from release a little - partly because apparently Greg Ginn was contemplating releasing it as his first solo album, before the decision was made to just make it another Black Flag release.

So, what to make of the penultimate recorded and final released Black Flag album? (Let us not be fooled by the soulless cash-in which is "What the...?") Well, it's pretty much Slip It In Part 2, with the various unusual influences that Slip It In worked on incorporating into their baseline hardcore punk style further honed, and a decidedly Minutemen-esque sense of off-kilter experimentation continuing. It's somewhat more successful than Slip It In too - it doesn't have any missteps on the level of Rat's Eyes, for instance - making it perhaps the best album of Black Flag's experimental phase, just as Damaged was their best pure hardcore album and My War was their best proto-sludge/doom album.

BLACK FLAG Slip It In

Album · 1984 · Hardcore and crust
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Warthur
Slip It In was recorded in a single group of sessions in June 1984, just as My War was recorded in a focused set in December 1983. That may make it more palatable to some listeners, because whereas Family Man (which emerged between My War and this one) was made up of a mass of unusual material recorded at different times during a period of extensive musical development, Slip It In has a much more cohesive sound.

That sound is pretty much "My War, Side 1, Part 2" - whilst there's some shots of the doomier sound of side 2 of My War, for the most part the material here more involves an attempt to return to a hardcore-oriented sound but with the various other styles that Black Flag had dabbled in over the past year - doom metal and jazz in particular - more fully integrated into that hardcore sound.

The end result is a fascinating trip through a darker and more hard-edged take on the sort of territory that their buddies and labelmates in the Minutemen were exploring at the same time, filtered through some absolutely furious emoting from Henry Rollins. Rat's Eyes falls flat - it's almost a good song, mind, but the repetition of the chorus section is a bit excessive and just loses its power after a while, and it could have done with extensive tightening up on that front. On the other hand, You're Not Evil - especially its delirious outro - is so excellent as to forgive most of those sins, and the instrumental Obliteration might be the ultimate counterpoint to anyone trying to claim that the hardcore punk scene lacked for strong musicianship.

BLACK FLAG Family Man

Album · 1984 · Non-Metal
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Warthur
In some respects it's no surprise that Family Man doesn't quite get the props of the preceding My War or the following Slip It In. Both of those other albums were recorded at a particular time (December 1983 for My War, June 1984 for Slip It In), which gives them a nicely unified sound and sense of purpose. Conversely, the material on Family Man is a mixture of off-cuts from those sessions and a few other bits and pieces recorded in between them.

In principle, that only represents a gap in time of about six months or so - but for a band whose sound was evolving as startlingly rapidly as Black Flag's was at this time, that may as well represent six years. The end result is a rather disjointed album, offering three different flavours of fun.

The first flavour is the one which gets talked about the most - the Henry Rollins spoken word tracks that dominate the first side. They may well not be what many fans are after, but they're interesting poetry, and it's worth noting that whilst six of the 7 songs on the first side don't have any instrumental backing and just have Rollins talking, in terms of running time those are quite brief and take less than 8 minutes. The remaining 9 minutes of side 1 is given over to Armageddon Man, in which Rollins recites his poetry over an instrumental backing reminiscent of the doom metal/hardcore punk proto-sludge mashup of My War (the oft-overlooked second flavour here).

The third flavour consists of the second side, devoted to instrumental mashups of hardcore punk and jazz. This isn't something entirely unprecedented in the subgenre - the Minutemen put a great deal of energy into working jazz influences into their music - but those who yearn for the simple, punch-to-the-gut directness of Damaged or The First Four Years may feel a little lost here.

However, those who like me are intrigued by Black Flag's more experimental work will find that Family Man is a tasty triptych of material in various different styles. You might find that one part of it or another isn't to your taste - but if it is all to your taste, you'll be favourably impressed, and even if it isn't there may well be something here worth your time even if you tend to skip the rest.

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