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Damaged

Black Flag

1981

Most people think this is Black Flag's best album, but I am still not convinced.  It's intense, fast, hard-hitting, extremely aggressive punk-rock.  One of the 1st hardcore albums of all-time.  The 2nd half of the album is not as good as the 1st, as all the songs start to blend together towards the end and loose some of their power as a result.  Still a landmark album that proved to be very influential in the hardcore punk scene.

7.8

My War

Black Flag

1984

You will find very few people who would claim "My War" is a better album than "Damaged", but I am apparently one of those people.  That's probably because I like alternative-metal and sludge considerably more than punk-rock.  Damaged is hardcore punk record through and through...it's got breakneck speed and it's quite abrasive, but the problem with Damaged is the 2nd half of the album when all the songs start to sound the same.  The nice thing about "My War" (in addition to the alt/sludge tendencies I alluded to) is that these songs keep you interested throughout.  The 1st half of the album is pretty up-tempo, but there's a lot of mid/down-tempo riffs to be found on the 2nd half of the album, and it's got a subtle jazzy/avart garde vibe about it, which gives My War more variety overall.  And, maybe I'm an asshole, but Henry Rollins is pretty fucking hilarious throughout most of this album (in the same way that "Institutionalized" by ST is hilarious).  He sounds incredibly stressed, confused, angry, like a big sensitive brute ape having a meltdown.  The dude obviously had some problems, and frankly it's pretty amusing to listen to.  Overall, "My War" is  ugly, raw, and angry, and half the time you can't decide if it sounds awful or brilliant.  It's probably a little of both, which lands it in a unique and highly influential middle-ground territory (the 2nd half of the album is practically the birth of sludge-metal)...good stuff.

8.1

Slip It In

Black Flag

1984

The first half of Slip It In is probably the best set of songs Black Flag ever made, at least for my money.  These songs all kick ass, and shows the band continuing to broaden their sound into more alternative metal/hardcore territory, but their attack is more honed/less sloppy/more satisfying here.  The 2nd half of the album is not as good, but nothing bad really.  Rollins sounds slightly less agonized compared to My War, so it's slightly less amusing, but most of the songs to be found here are more infectious.  All of Black Flag's albums have their flaws and highlights and SII is no different, but if I had to pick a favorite album from the band, this would probably be it.

8.1

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