Various - Black On Black: A Tribute to Black Flag (Cover Artwork)


Black On Black: A Tribute to Black Flag (2003)


Black Flag is arguably one of the most important bands that have ever existed. In the short time they existed, founding guitarist Greg Ginn and a revolving door of musicians were able to invent hardcore, pioneer the independent touring circuit, create a model independent label, reinvent hardcore once again, and create some of the heaviest in-your-face music that has ever been recorded. So naturally, being such an influential band, tribute albums are bound to happen.

Personally, I don't like tributes, sometimes they work, but most often they don't. Sometimes it is cool to hear your favorite bands of today playing favorites from yesterday, and in some cases it can get younger fans into the old bands. However I'm still undecided about this. There are some great covers on here from some of the biggest hardcore bands of the moment, and then there are those that just fall flat on their faces like the kid that stage dives at the wrong moment. Give Up the Ghost (formally American Nightmare) does the best track on here with Depression. It was the first song on the album and it really grabs the listeners' attention just like it.

A cool collector nerd tidbit: at least on mine they are billed as American Nothing, so if you don't like the new name and want the last (only) thing with Nothing attached to it, pick it up. Also for the collectors and music nerds this disc also has the first recordings of the Dillinger Escape Plan's new vocalist Greg Puciato on Damaged I & II, which is done in a very straight forward manner with very little of the DEP style thrown in. The new guy sounds decent, a little different than the earlier ones, but now I'm looking forward to some new stuff from them. Burnt By the Sun's version of Drinking and Driving was really well done as was the Hope Conspiracy's Nervous Breakdown. With these four groups, I thought nothing could bring this album down, but Coalesce finds a way with possibly the worst version of Jealous Again that I have ever heard. They slowed the song down way to much and the singer sounds like he is trying to take a shit, and that describes the way it sounds shitty shitty shitty.

Converge doesn't fare to well with Annihilate This Week either. It's done in their typical style, which doesn't fit the song at all, especially when they slow down during the chorus and then speed up during the verses. Rounding out the disc were rather inoffensive versions of Life of Pain by Anodyne and Police Story, Wasted by Planes Mistaken for Stars. These bands don't do a bad job with the songs, but then again it's not anything to write home about. Playing Enemy's noisy rendition of Six Pack did little more than make me want a six pack.

This album had some really great songs and some really bad ones with a few songs in-between. I would say pick this album up if you're already a Flag fan and just want to hear these bands play homage to their heroes. Also the DEP track is great, and fans of them might want to get this just to get a preview of the new singer. But if you're new to Black Flag, do yourself a favor and just buy First Four Years, Damaged, and My War before you get this one.