Black Flag
My War


4.0
excellent

Review

by Myrrhman USER (2 Reviews)
August 13th, 2008 | 56 replies


Release Date: 1984 | Tracklist


The years leading up to the release of Black Flag's second full-length, My War, were tumultuous in every sense of the word. Following the release of Damaged and subsequent touring, the band began feuding with Unicorn Records, an MCA subsidiary that was supposed to distribute their debut LP; the parent company refused to distribute Damaged because of its "anti-parent" content. Black Flag then released the record themselves via Greg Ginn's SST, resulting in a lawsuit from Unicorn and a court injuncture preventing the band from recording under their name.

During the two years between their debut and the recording of My War, Black Flag made a series of demos that showed them growing in leaps and bounds musically; tempos began to slow, with the obvious nods to Black Sabbath and locals Saint Vitus. Henry Rollins' strained bark became more ferocious and varied, while Greg Ginn's guitar repertoire began to expand beyond punk rock standards, incorporating elements of free-jazz into his soloing and penning more rhythmically complex and unorthodox guitar parts.

All of these factors played heavily into My War's final outcome. The title track is one of Black Flag's most volatile songs, kicking off the album with Rollins' frantic shouts of "You say that you're my friend/ But you're one of them". The song sets the tone for the first portion of an album brimming with angst. "Beat My Head Against the Wall" seems to change constantly in order to compliment Rollins' schizophrenic approach to vocals, declaring "Living in the mainstream is such a lame dream" in true do-it-yourself fashion.

"I Love You" features some of Ginn's most memorable and melodic guitar work, which wouldn't be out of place in a modern pop-punk song. At first the song appears to be an ironic take on stereotypical love songs, but further investigation reveals a darker slant; the protagonist gives himself to a woman only to be taken for granted and possibly cheated on, and as a result, decides to kill her. ("I gave you my life, but what did I get?/ Now its time to take it back").

Black Flag's progression thus far is most obvious in the final three songs, all of which are over six minutes. None of them stray from a laggard pace, dwelling on murky atmospheres that punk rock bands had never successfully attempted before. Haunting background guitar aids the psychedelic feel of "Three Nights" in addition various vocal effects, haunting bass lines, and improvisational soloing.

My War ends with a single chug of a guitar string; a particularly quiet ending to an album rife with anger that somehow never feels completely vented. Many of the people who appreciate the album will more than likely identify with the lyrical themes, however strangely juvenile they appear to be. Along with Saccharine Trust, Butthole Surfers, and several other underground bands of time, Black Flag helped carve out a niche for experimentation within a punk framework. It's a swell record.


user ratings (672)
Chart.
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
Fort23 (4)
...

Music Nerd (4)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Tyler
Emeritus
August 13th 2008


7926 Comments


nice...soundoff?

bustyagunz
August 13th 2008


911 Comments


your reviews are very good.

Edit: Well-written..This Message Edited On 08.13.08

kattunlover69
August 13th 2008


1194 Comments


Eliminater.


haha how about that cocaine wasnt so much fail right there

Tyler
Emeritus
August 13th 2008


7926 Comments


yeah it was, go away.

kattunlover69
August 13th 2008


1194 Comments


dam it man when will u ever accept me?

shit

Fort23
August 13th 2008


2480 Comments


It's not easy trust me^


Albums wonderful thnaks for writing a better review than mine ya

joshuatree
Emeritus
August 13th 2008


3742 Comments


always liked this more than damaged for some reason

The Jungler
August 13th 2008


4827 Comments


i've listened to Damaged a few times and like it, but i still haven't gotten over to this. title track is good, and the rest sounds cool.
review is good too.

mynameismud420
August 13th 2008


134 Comments


Best review I've seen on this site so far.

Myrrhman
August 13th 2008


83 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

album is underrated tbh

karina
April 4th 2009


165 Comments


nice review also my war is like the best song ever. ppl sux

Meatplow
February 5th 2010


5524 Comments


rules so hard

ov420
February 5th 2010


300 Comments


probably their best, well with damaged prob

thenewnormal
March 27th 2010


63 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I love the fact that the last half of the album slows down and creates such an intense, sabbath vibe. Plus, the first half is killer. My War by itself had me sold. Watch some live versions of that from 83 and 84 and prepared to get 'rollined' - the whole band sounds faster and gnarlier.

ov420
March 27th 2010


300 Comments


alot of ppl say side b is garbage and disposable

fuck those people :P

porch
March 27th 2010


8460 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i listen to this and first 4 years the most now. some piece of shit stole my copy of damaged

Pizza
June 13th 2010


687 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i fucking love this album, i'll probably up the rating to a 5.

side B is awesome, the people who told you (ov420) that it is garbage must not like hardcore at all or maybe just don't have ears.

patroneyes
October 2nd 2010


1919 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this honestly slays damaged imo

eternium
October 2nd 2010


16340 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nah.

accompliceofmydeath
December 13th 2010


4302 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This album is sick. The last half is so different.

Digging: Snapcase - Progression Through Unlearning



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