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Black Flag - Nervous Breakdown (Cover Artwork)

Black Flag

Black Flag: Nervous BreakdownNervous Breakdown (1978)
Black Flag

Reviewer Rating: 5
User Rating:


Contributed by: BSDBSD
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Black Flag's first recorded release only hints around the edges at the possibility of blues-punk masterpieces like "My War" and "Slip It In", and there's not much of the super-speed havoc of "Damaged" in it, either. What we have here is some really raw punk rock, played with undeniable convictio.
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Black Flag's first recorded release only hints around the edges at the possibility of blues-punk masterpieces like "My War" and "Slip It In", and there's not much of the super-speed havoc of "Damaged" in it, either.

What we have here is some really raw punk rock, played with undeniable conviction. Before the machismo of later singers, it seemed that Ginn prefered a genuinely interesting voice to fit his music. Keith Morris, of Circle Jerks fame, was the perfect match. The music is simple, but proves that a little goes a long way. Seemingly elementary riffs are worked through such a determined and hard working guitarist that they come out sounding everything but lazy. It's a combination of Ramones catchiness with Sex Pistols attitude. Keith Morris even sounds quite like Johnny, especially when elongating "wasted". It's this uncontrollable anger at everything, minus the by-then stereotypical fashion or posing. Idealistically, this is what punk rock should be all about.

Production is menial... If it bothers you too much, I don't suggest listening to much in the way of punk rock, anyway.

The songs are frustrated anthems; "Nervous Breakdown" remaining a live standard for years to come. "Fix Me", another song about going insane... Then the ever-rebellious "I've Had It". Maybe the riff is a bit more choppy, but it still dishes out harder than most bands could dream of. It's all rounded off with "Wasted", the ultimate minute long anthem, and the only one penned by Morris for this record.

This definitely deserves the highest score possible. Punk doesn't get much better.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
C-Men (June 28, 2008)

my favorite EP of all time!!! i love black flag, they're so fucking amazing! my favorite song is fix me. brilliant song!!

maxethunders (April 3, 2007)

Personally I like Keith Morris singing but Dez and Rollins voices go more with the sound. Buy Everything Went Black to hear the difference between singers.

johngoff (October 2, 2006)

Greatest band I've ever seen in concert by far and I've seen some wicked bands. Butthole Surfers, The Orb (played so loud you could hear them 3 miles away,) Add N to X, my own band Crash Worship, Minutemen, etc.

unknownsoldier (June 6, 2006)

a fucking classic black flag kicks so much ass and nervous breakdown just blew me away whebn i heard it

sarcasm101 (January 23, 2006)

i give them........

sarcasm101 (January 23, 2006)

Black Flack is a fucking sick band.
no body does it like they do.
i love them
the shit they tlk about is real and not some emo
shit all you anonymous fags listen to.

to everyone who doesnt like black flag:
you can fucking kiss my ass losers!!!

idi (September 28, 2005)

this band is freakin crazy i fuckin love them
aaaahhhhh i lost my black flag shirt!
you fuckin emos go listen to your fuckin crap
that shit is gay
but then again you guys are gay
bunch of homos

Anonymous (September 3, 2005)

"this band sucks

they sound like pennywise but don't know how to play their instruments right

they should give it up as soon as they can"
theres so many things wrong with this post^

Anonymous (July 7, 2004)

You can't like fast music and have any intelligence! You just can't!

-BSD

Anonymous (April 4, 2004)

Black Fag fans are illiterate idiots.

Anonymous (March 18, 2004)

agreed

Anonymous (March 18, 2004)

just saying that proves your a pussy and an idiot.

Anonymous (March 18, 2004)

this band is fucking lame

Anonymous (March 18, 2004)

Why doeseveryone bash Rollins era Flag? I mean, I love the early stuff and Damaged is my favorite album.....but my second fave is definitely In My Head. Rollins Flag was innovative, intense and creepy.....3 things that most hardcore bands today lack.

devildog1507 (March 18, 2004)

born too late to see em live but hey they put out some of the best songs my ears ever heard (especially in the pre rollins era)

Anonymous (March 17, 2004)

I have nothing against Sublime, and even own their first 2 lp's, but my favorite song of "their's" was the Bad Religion cover of "We're only gonna die"...

-sickboi
(and Sublime's music is great, by the Flag is legendary)

eyeball_kid (March 17, 2004)

no, 1996 you fool!

Anonymous (March 17, 2004)

You were peeking out from mum's womb?

-BSD

plutocracy (March 17, 2004)

I saw Sex Pistols on their first tour, and I'm only 17.

Anonymous (March 17, 2004)

Sublime is a good band....but they are horse shit in comparison to the mighty Flag. Plus, they are very different bands entirely...so who cares? And you don't have to be "old" to have seen Flag....I saw them on their last tour in '86 and I'm only 29 years old. Given I was very young at the time and with my older brother......but nonetheless I remember it well.

Anonymous (March 16, 2004)

ohh shit..by the way...the review was on the money...i just hate the kids.

Anonymous (March 16, 2004)

ahhhh.....punk rock. i love the music more than anything else on earth and yet i now hate the culture because of the people who listen to it and their attitudes at shows and on websites like this. these days its all about fashion and carbon copied sugar coated pop punk waiting to be spoon-fed to the masses. i'm glad none of you were around when me and my family of friends got into punk. and to the few of you that were i'm sure you feel the same or at least you have an idea of where this is coming from. p.s. please make fun of this post..it's iron clad proof you're a cool guy with lots of friends and you own a penis whose size would intimidate the largest of farm animals.

Anonymous (March 16, 2004)

the only people who have ever seen black flag live r old

Anonymous (March 16, 2004)

buttermilk pancakes

Anonymous (March 16, 2004)

I don't even see the comparison between a stoner reggae revival band and a hardcore one... But think whatever ya want, twerps.

-BSD

Anonymous (March 16, 2004)

my war, depression, nervous breakdown, jealous again are better than those songs

Anonymous (March 16, 2004)

Maybe not badfish, but "40 Oz To Freedom", "Wrong Way", or "Santeria" are...

-c22

Anonymous (March 16, 2004)

sure it is

Anonymous (March 16, 2004)

sublime's song badfish is better than every black flag song.

Anonymous (March 15, 2004)

Bands like Pennywise and Bad Religion got me into punk...but I remember the first time I heard "Nervous Breakdown" wayy back in acient times when I was 16....I nearly soiled my shorts. had never heard anything so blatantly honest and psychotic....its been my favorite band of all timesince then.....I gradually grew to love the later eras of Black Flag just as much as this landmark ep.

Anonymous (March 15, 2004)

now that was a funny comment!

Anonymous (March 15, 2004)

this band sucks

they sound like pennywise but don't know how to play their instruments right

they should give it up as soon as they can

Anonymous (March 15, 2004)

"if you like any of the stuff usually reviewed on this site, then you probably won't like this album (or most early l.a. punk)"

so very very true

dazed (March 15, 2004)

I wasn't born when this was made, but that doesn't change the fact that it's awesome.

Anonymous (March 15, 2004)

"1980, black flag at the cookoos nest in costa mesa ca...clove cigs in the air...black beauties and beer in my stomach....stage dives off the stacks...fuck that was fun!"

i don't believe you

Anonymous (March 15, 2004)

1980, black flag at the cookoos nest in costa mesa ca...clove cigs in the air...black beauties and beer in my stomach....stage dives off the stacks...fuck that was fun!

Anonymous (March 14, 2004)

true black flag fans don't read this website (or post for that matter)

Anonymous (March 14, 2004)

My friend saw Flag in '82 and '83......he said it was the scariest thing he'd ever seen. He said Henry slashed his stomach up with the mic during "Damaged", and that there was blood everywhere.....and that it was the tightest performanxce he'd ever seen.

Anonymous (March 14, 2004)

To the guy who said black flag couldn't hold up to todays bands....you are truely the biggest idiot on this planet. Black Flg would annihilate even the hardest bands today....slayer, converge, terror....none of that shit holds even a candle to the flag. Not even a little.

Anonymous (March 14, 2004)

black flag are revolutionary and good and gods. end of discussion. because i said so.

Anonymous (March 14, 2004)

"dude this album came out 26 years ago, its time to stop reviewing albums older than you are

black flag were much more revolutionary than they were good

if you like any of the stuff usually reviewed on this site, then you probably won't like this album (or most early l.a. punk)

black flag are like babe ruth...they changed the game, but they don't have shit on today's players"

saying that is probably a good sign your taste in music sucks.

Anonymous (March 14, 2004)

i live in boulder, co and there are about 50 screamo/hardcore/metal-punk bands here that all sound exactly the fucking same

maybe if some of these bands listened to some black flag they'd realize that skull tattoos and black clothes are the least important aspect of punk rock

Anonymous (March 14, 2004)

this is what people should listen to after they catch theit girlfriend/boyfriend in bed with someone else. if you're pissed off, depressed, suicidal or just love intense music with a no-bullshit attitude, black flag is what you need.

Anonymous (March 13, 2004)

You're being ageist...

-BSD

Anonymous (March 13, 2004)

I like the Jealous Again EP better, but this is still awesome. I totally agree with the guy who talked about chugging riffs. I know in my area way too many alleged hardcore bands are just doing their best Bane/American Nightmare impression, without really focusing on what made these early 80s hardcore bands so great; the pure craziness, the fact that listening to "Damaged" makes you want to leap out of your seat and spazz out across the room, rather than do cheesy mosh moves.

Anonymous (March 13, 2004)

dude this album came out 26 years ago, its time to stop reviewing albums older than you are

black flag were much more revolutionary than they were good

if you like any of the stuff usually reviewed on this site, then you probably won't like this album (or most early l.a. punk)

black flag are like babe ruth...they changed the game, but they don't have shit on today's players

Anonymous (March 13, 2004)

That would be great, but do you think any hardcore guitar players have as much passion as Ginn? He was the personification of hardcore guitar... He knew how to combine energy, atmosphere, and emotions into the music alone.

Most modern hardcore is "crossover" at best... Or thrash. Clean riffs without the depth Ginn gave his songs.

-BSD

Anonymous (March 13, 2004)

Black Flag is the most insane band ever to exist.....nothing today even comes close to this kind of insanity. Alot of people who make agressive music now focus WAY too much on chugging riffs and repetitive screams rather than creating real tension and atmosphere....let's hope hardcore music get's more "black flag-ish" in the future.

Anonymous (March 13, 2004)

"keith has diabetes i think which my explain why he's skinny."

Yeah, I read about him using coke on Kill From the Heart.

-BSD

Anonymous (March 13, 2004)

"Black Flag is easily the best band of all time."

ha.

Anonymous (March 13, 2004)

This is fuckin great

joeg (March 13, 2004)

amazing that this came out in 78, just 2 years after the ramones released their 1st record. keith has diabetes i think which my explain why he's skinny.

Anonymous (March 12, 2004)

"Paul Simon - You Can Call Me Al" is the greatest song ever written.

.....just thought I'd add that.....

-c22

TheOneTrueBill (March 12, 2004)

Morris is awesome.

Anonymous (March 12, 2004)

Black Flag is easily the best band of all time. They defined themselves, in that their name itself descri9bes their career....nothing was impossible and nothing was too far a stretch.....they played total anarchy....both in terms of sound and genre.....and isn't that what rock is all about anyway? All their records rules.....from first to last.

PetroBPettson (March 12, 2004)

Didn't Keith almost die of cancer a few years back? I know he still has health problems, and it's hard on him to tour. This might be why he's skinny. Also, some people are just naturally skinny.

Nervous Breakdown is still one of my favorite 7"s in my collection.

notaclevername (March 12, 2004)

damn, cocaine, i didn't even think about that...i could say that i would think Morris has outgrown bullshit like that, but, then again, that's what i thought about John Entwhistle too (R.I.P.), and that turned out to be wrong, evidently

Anonymous (March 12, 2004)

"score is for early black flag and the fact that somehow, keith morris is still skinny (at least, he was in the last picture i saw of him)"

I think I read something on some web site that he does a lot of cocaine... But that might be some stupid gossip.

Morris did a version of "White Minority", too, it's on "Everything Went Black". It's great, too.

-BSD

Anonymous (March 12, 2004)

nervous breakdown is my favorite punk rock song of all time. and the first two black flag EPs are probably the most perfect straight-forward punk ever recorded. godlike.

irish_joo (March 12, 2004)

where's Brandon Sideleau? he usually reviews this kind of stuff.

Anonymous (March 12, 2004)

i had a friend in high school who was a skinhead (non-facist) and he was listening to white minority (obvious sarcasm..."i'm gonna hide anywhere i can") on his walkman when his german language teacher confiscated it and held it as further proof that he was a nazi. sometimes people just aren't in on the joke i guess.

notaclevername (March 12, 2004)

everything off the first four years disc is classic...
it's funny when people say (take, for instance, the Unamerican Activities guy [who makes great bumper stickers, etc.]) that they loved black flag's music, but couldn't stand the message of "white minority"

did any of these people stop to think about who's actually singing the song (Chavo, aka Ron REYES: this guy's Hispanic, not white, folks), or about how sarcastic punk was in those days (because i'm sure jello biafra was being serious when he sang "kill the poor"...yeah, right

...for what that's worth, anyway
score is for early black flag and the fact that somehow, keith morris is still skinny (at least, he was in the last picture i saw of him)

Anonymous (March 12, 2004)

Ive met a nazi...

Anonymous (March 12, 2004)

i love how people just throw around the term nazi. fuck its getting old! youve never met a nazi and you never will! get over it!

black flag is overrated.

MattHomeslice (March 12, 2004)

"When I was in high school all the nazis loved this band. It made me feel weird for liking them."

You had nazis in your high school? Do you live in Idaho?

inanechild (March 12, 2004)

Morris was awesome.

Anonymous (March 12, 2004)

nervoous breakdown is one of the best flag songs ever

Anonymous (March 12, 2004)

Great Review. But Punk rock doesn't get better? It was made in 1978 I hope there hae been a few good releases from somebody since then.

Anonymous (March 12, 2004)

rollins called this album "the soundtrack for a fullscale riot" on get in the van. that's pretty much as dead on as you can get. really awesome stuff. angry and frustrated as hell. albums or ep's if you will like this are classics because they are chock full of genuine emotions. it wasn't punk for punk's sake like so many bands today trying to follow a punk formula. these guys were really pissed off, they really believed in what they were saying. i think that comes through when you listen to bands like black flag. that's why they're still relavent today... cause emotions like pain, anger, and frustration don't go out of fashion.

t-rav (March 12, 2004)

Give me shit for saying this, but black flag is my least favorite 80's band.

Anonymous (March 12, 2004)

When I was in high school all the nazis loved this band. It made me feel weird for liking them.

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