Black Flag - Damaged - Review
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critics' view

Black Flag. The legendary American punk/hardcore band from California. Many as do I refer to them as THE hardcore band. They built their name off a bunch of classic ep's and lp's and relentless touring.

Many love the name, but most of the time, it matters who's backing that name up. Most people know Black Flag has had many members come and go. In a way, it's the name that made people take notice, no matter who was behind it. Black Flag was much more than a band, it was a machine.

I honestly admit, I think Keith Morris era Black Flag is the best, and most will agree, but the fact remains that they only put out a 4 song e.p. with him at the helm. (And the Chavo/Dez era didn't break much ground)

It was a Washington DC Ice Cream shop owner who brought Black Flag to legendary status. In 1981, Henry Rollisn hopped on stage at a Black Flag NYC show to sing a song, which led to him taking over vocals. Love him or hate him, Henry Rollins made Black Flag reach that mythic status they hold now.

Keith Morris was a madman, but Rollins was just one disturbed pissed off kid. This was before he was writing his poetry, working out, and making movies. Before all that extra luggage there was one thing on the mind of Rollins and the entire Black Flag. World Domination.

Thats right, the 5 members of the band at that time, wanted it. By "it" I mean everything. They wanted to blow every band off the stage. They wanted to reach every area they could in this country, a band that truly helped this scene thrive and grow. Only few bands if any have played as many shows as Black Flag has in such a short in time.

And it wasn't just about playing everywhere. It was about converting those people that came to see you, whether 10 or 1000 Black Flag played as intense as any band of any genre EVERY night, and will remain one of the bands that made this scene survive, much more so then the Sex Pistols.

So what was Black Flag's peak? Damaged. A definitive album in teenage angst, lashing out at the world. Cynicism, fury, anger, and a dose of humor helped make this album classic.

Anthems like "Rise Above", pure old-school punk. The way it should be. "Six Pack", "Spray Paint", "Depression" all show off the moods many of us will go through as kids, destroying everything we see, drinking, hate….It's all there.

Gimmie, Gimmie (The superior version) one of Black Flags best cuts, and again shows off the mentality many of us have when were younger. "Police Story", a great song, no real need to explain, we all have a police story from somewhere in our life.

Then theres the classic "TV Party". You can't hate this song, sure, if your a Black Flag fan, you've probably heard it a thousand times, but from the humor, singalong chorus and verses, and perfect cynical lyrics. Black Flag is at its best.

Sure after this a pathetic lawsuit would hamper the band, Rollins would eventually despise most of the scene that he grew up in (Who wouldn't after all the bullshit that "fans" gave him) , and SST would file bankruptcy. This is punk, hardcore, old-school whatever you want to call it, at some of it's best. And though Black Flag would later drag itself on a bit too far for thir own good, their impact will remain, and this album has and can stand the test of time, somewhere in everyones life you've been a bit damaged.

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