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Various - Black on Black: A Tribute to Black Flag [reissue] (Cover Artwork)

Various

Various: Black on Black: A Tribute to Black Flag [reissue]Black on Black: A Tribute to Black Flag [reissue] (2006)
Reignition Records

Reviewer Rating: 3.5


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

The difficulty with tribute and cover albums is not so much the albums themselves, but how they are often judged in retrospect; in most cases, people find one of two major problems. The first is that the band is too young or too active for a tribute and is seen as not deserving of one, and the secon.
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The difficulty with tribute and cover albums is not so much the albums themselves, but how they are often judged in retrospect; in most cases, people find one of two major problems. The first is that the band is too young or too active for a tribute and is seen as not deserving of one, and the second is that the band is so legendary that the bands contributing the covers are seen as unworthy of producing the covers.

In the case of Black on Black: A Tribute to Black Flag, most criticism will certainly fall into the second category as the reputation and influence of Black Flag is hardly in question. While not the most consistent of acts, when the band was ignited, they were nearly without peer. Compilations like The First Four Years and albums like Damaged are so canonized that the bands who dared to tackle the material were certainly brave.

In the case of Black on Black, it's difficult to find fault with the reverence or the quality of the covers at all. The original version, released in 2003 via Initial Records, was the product of a number of nearly universally respected bands: Converge, Give Up the Ghost (as American Nightmare), Dillinger Escape Plan, Burnt by the Sun, Planes Mistaken for Stars, Coalesce and the Hope Conspiracy. All critically acclaimed and well-respected acts that don't tend to evoke much controversy; you may like or not like their music, but you almost certainly respect them.

In all those cases, though, the material is universally solid. Give Up the Ghost and the Hope Conspiracy provide relentless and vicious remakes, while Converge applies their distinctive sound to the band that must have been a singular influence on them. Planes Mistaken for Stars could be the spiritual, if not the musical heirs of Black Flag, and Dillinger Escape Plan and Burnt by the Sun's technical metal approach certainly compliments Greg Ginn's more esoteric leanings.

The addition of material performed by some of metalcore's leading ambassadors -- Bleeding Through, Most Precious Blood, Zao and Remembering Never -- is bound to be a little more controversial, but their covers are actually quite respectable. Zao is probably as influential to the metalcore movement as anyone, but actually turn in a solid cover even if the vocals are -- as is typical for Zao -- indecipherable. Most Precious Blood sticks to what they do best, performing an almost note-for-note cover of "Rise Above," and Remembering Never performs their version with similar aplomb. Bleeding Through is probably the most controversial, though that has more to do with their image than their sound; playing fairly solid metal with faint hardcore influences, the band turns in a competent albeit monotone cover of the Rollins tour-de-force "My War."

Tribute albums like this one serve two purposes: Either they invite older fans to check out the "new kids" take on their favorite band, or they invite fans of the performers to check out their influences. In the case of Black on Black, both purposes are well-served thanks to a well-chosen set of performers and a great selection of material.

 

 
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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.
Anonymous (April 4, 2006)

metalcore sucks

feeeding5000 (April 3, 2006)

Okay...I admit, I don't really know what I'm talking about. Happy? I guess I'm trying to prove how "punk" I am, when that is pointless, and a dubious distinction anyway. Suffice it to say that I believe what I want to, and that it doesn't matter what you play so long as you enjoy it. I mean, even Blink 182 likes the music they play, right? Just because something is popular doesn't mean it's bad. But, when something begins to make money, it becomes an entity beyond the self, and becomes a sort of symbol. No one has bad intentions for signing to a major, or having their stuff in Best Buy, but once they do, it's sort of beyond them. Like, Ian MacKaye is FAR from a sellout. But, when CDs are at a corporate store, or even an indies store, "Minor Threat" becomes a symbol for a certain group, and marketers exploit that. So, I guess that it's impossible to "beat the system", because you have to work within the system to survive. No matter what you do, you're helping someone's bottom line. So, therefore, all or most of my previous arguments are invalid. Just do what you want, and I'll do what I want. Shit, I think I just had an epiphany. Oh, also, I like the link to Hot Topic. It's kinda funny; they give the wring title for "Stations of the Crass". Shows how much they know.

Anonymous (April 3, 2006)

ridiculous....we're getting myspace spam on here now

etwiels88 (April 2, 2006)

Cover albums suck. All of them.

Anonymous (April 2, 2006)

the original lineup of this disc was good, but they kept adding and adding more bands on it that need the promotion i guess.

does this have the bonus songs on it from some of the bands that did multiple songs (i know planes did a few covers)?

anyway, mall-core, whatever, isn't as vague as emo or punk for the simple fact it isn't based on musical production or anything directly related to the songs, but on motivation and actions of a band toward money and fashion. who the hell uses mall-core or mall-punk anymore, no one goes to malls, thats why their all closing....mall's are so 90's. ebay dewds.

wyzo

Anonymous (April 2, 2006)

fuck off metal

Cos (April 1, 2006)

I fucking hate metal.

Anonymous (April 1, 2006)

Wow some shitty bands covering Black Flag on this CD, Planes are cool though.

inagreendase (April 1, 2006)

feeding: Shove it.

Anonymous (April 1, 2006)

How condescending, not to mention completely wrong.

-Will

Anonymous (April 1, 2006)

The two people on this site with the worst tastes in music arguing about what they think mallcore is.

Go listen to Crass and pretend you enjoy it.

Anonymous (April 1, 2006)

Hope Conspiracy sound NOTHING like American Nightmare. That's like saying Crass sound like Rudimentary Peni. Vaguely similar lyrical themes and political views, but totally different music and ways of expressing themselves.

Feeding, you have a problem obviously taking music for its artistic merits. Yeah, selling shit in chains is lame, but the Minor Threat discography and Fugazi CD's can be found at Best Buy. I don't doubt that they could be found in Sam Goody. Are they "mallcore?"

If you're going to be against bands for superficial reasons, you should question their artistic integrity. As long as a band isn't making a music to cash in on a trend, they CAN'T be mallcore. If you don't like them because of their lyrics or music, that's a whole other story (although you're an idiot if you think hardcore lyrics should be restricted to crusty sloganeering)- But calling bands that actually form and stay together under legit artistic pretense "mallcore" is incorrect.

I know you want the mad scene cred, but lumping every band together because they have some of the same fans is the wrong way to go about it.

-Will

feeeding5000 (April 1, 2006)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Converge on the Warped Tour at some point? And mall-core is one of those undefined, umbrella terms, like "emo" or "hardcore" (or "punk", for that matter). Basically, any band, regardless of quality, that is really popular at the given time, and fits some or all stereotypes of the genre, is considered mall-core. I think the fact that GUTG sings (sung) about bad relationships and depression-y stuff was sort of stereotypical, Converge is actually REALLY well-known, and Hope Conspiracy is sorta like GUTG, but more screamy.

joeg (April 1, 2006)

just curious, when you guys have conversations with other people about bands you listen to, have you ever used the term mallcore? i hear that getting thrown around on the internet a lot to shit on bands but i've never heard someone actually go "yea, i don't listen to those guys........they're such a mallcore band."

and what the fuck is mallcore anyways these days? i always thought it was bands like slipknot, korn, and the nu-metal and generic metalcore/emo pop bands you hear on radio and see on ozzfest/warped. i never thought converge and american nightmare would ever be included under that umbrella of bands, even if you can find their records at your local sam goody.

feeeding5000 (April 1, 2006)

...And in my opinion, the singer from GUTG sounds like he's vomiting, but not in a good way. Kinda like he's trying really hard to make the vocals indecipherable, like Ray Cappo on the first YOT record.

feeeding5000 (April 1, 2006)

...I bought "Background Music" at the mall. At Sam Goody...I don't know of any store in the mall that isn't catering to the mainstream...except maybe Cinnabon. Oh, and Converge were on one of the digital cable music channels (yes, I AM that rich). Don't remember if it was "Metal" or "Alternative", but it was on there.

Anonymous (April 1, 2006)

Okay, I'm sorry, but I have to call you out on this. In the new "metalcore" movement or whatever, I see tons of high school kids in Zao and Bleeding Through shirts and tons of kids show up for those shows. Do you honestly think Planes Mistaken For Stars or American Nightmare get the same level of recognition as bands that are willing to play the game on the fashion level?

-Will

Anonymous (April 1, 2006)

i don't think mainstream necessarily has to do with the sound of a band, more about recognition and how many people actually know about them. Converge are pretty well known at this point, but then again so are Dillinger, AN, Hope Con, Planes Mistaken For Stars, etc....and of course, all the new bands they added to this comp....Bleeding Through, Zao, MPB....

I think within the context of hardcore and metal in 2006 (though we could then go into all the little arguments about which of these bands is truly hardcore or metal) all of these bands are pretty mainstream by now

Anonymous (April 1, 2006)

"The most mainstream one of those bands is Converge"

are you fucking joking?

Have you ever HEARD Jane Doe? Or any of their material for that matter?

There is nothing mainstream about any of those 3 bands. But especially Converge.

****

Mainstream can also reflect the bands popularity.

Anonymous (April 1, 2006)

still one of the many bands that i never got into, i have alot of respect for them and what they did but still could not listen to more than a few tracks before i just kinda forgot they were even playin, went in one ear and out the other

conduit (April 1, 2006)

"The most mainstream one of those bands is Converge"

are you fucking joking?

Have you ever HEARD Jane Doe? Or any of their material for that matter?

There is nothing mainstream about any of those 3 bands. But especially Converge.

Anonymous (April 1, 2006)

Yeah Feeeding, if you're going to try and go with the whole asshole/elitist shtick at least have the smarts to back it up.

Anonymous (March 31, 2006)

"Will, even AN, Hope Conspiracy, and Converge are mall-core. I Would consider GUTG/AN "emo-core" because of the god-awful vocals and the kinda whiny lyrics. Same w/ HC. Converge...everyone loves them, but they're just a metal band. THAT'S IT."

Uh, I am no big fan of those bands, but mallcore? The most mainstream one of those bands is Converge, and I don't see many fahioncore kids listening to them.

Just because it's not overtly political and on popular indie labels doesn't make it "mallcore." That notion is fucking ridiculous and your description of American Nightmare has me convinced you must have listened to the metal band.

That's all.

-Will

skolarx (March 31, 2006)

hey kids talking about NA, check this out
http://www.myspace.com/easyaction

John's current band, they are touring for a bit in May, really awesome live

feeeding5000 (March 31, 2006)

Will, even AN, Hope Conspiracy, and Converge are mall-core. I Would consider GUTG/AN "emo-core" because of the god-awful vocals and the kinda whiny lyrics. Same w/ HC. Converge...everyone loves them, but they're just a metal band. THAT'S IT.

rinjonjori (March 31, 2006)

This album is horrible, i had it when it was first released. There are a couple of good tracks, but this is fodder for the most part.

jamespastepunk (March 31, 2006)

Of the new songs, I like the Most Precious Blood cover.

Anonymous (March 31, 2006)

Oh yeah, and I have to add that by "these bands" I mean American Nightmare, Converge, Hope Conspiracy, etc.- Not the mall emo bands on this shit.

I don't know, it seems like lately Punknews' scoring system is getting coopted. This shit doesn't deserve the score it got for the fact that it has 4 bands that blow on it and was released to get money from their fans.

-Will

Anonymous (March 31, 2006)

"I just found out that there was a Negative Approach tribute at one point. I downloaded the Kill Your Idols, Converge and Ensign songs from it and they're all cool"

Seriously, I could probably assemble a 15-20 song comp of Negative Approach covers from various hardcore bands' covers.

I'd like to hear these bands cover the Negative FX album... That would be awesome, each band could get a couple songs and just do the whole album.

-Will

Anonymous (March 31, 2006)

american nothing cover rules thats about it

sickboi (March 31, 2006)

Everyone knows they can't match up to Black Flag, its just their small way of paying homage. Fuck, let it go dude.

Anonymous (March 31, 2006)

These bands can't hold a candle to Flag.....they can put as many breakdowns and growls into it as they want to but they'll never reach the "creepy crawl" level of intensity that the Flag did. Hell, they won't even get within earshot. These bands are not scary....Black Flag was.

TheOneTrueBill (March 31, 2006)

I just found out that there was a Negative Approach tribute at one point. I downloaded the Kill Your Idols, Converge and Ensign songs from it and they're all cool. And out of morbid cutiosity I downloaded the Thursday song and it was absolutly god awful.

Anonymous (March 31, 2006)

Pretty sure the Converge track is the best track on the cd, but have to go with Black Flag on the more famous argument.

ElVaquero (March 31, 2006)

You're going WAY TOO EASY on this tribute album. It's really not going to stick with you at all.

dietcokeofpunk (March 31, 2006)

"pretty sure Converge is more famous than Black Flag"

pretty sure you don't know shiitte

the_other_scott (March 31, 2006)

no way converge is more famous than black flag

you're crazy, mr. anonymous

Anonymous (March 31, 2006)

pretty sure Converge is more famous than Black Flag

LevitateMe (March 31, 2006)

All of the bands on this comp performed felatio on me.

Anonymous (March 31, 2006)

Blasphemy

sickboi (March 31, 2006)

You don't think its a little pre-mature?

aubin (March 31, 2006)

sickboi: Well, it's kind of a warranted reissue in that the original is out of print since Initial went under.

Godfather (March 31, 2006)

i'm surprised rise against's fix me isn't on here

sickboi (March 31, 2006)

You know reissue are getting absurd when a tribute album in the past 5 years gets the treatment...

Score is for the DEP and Hope Conspiracy covers...

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