Black Flag
What The...


1.5
very poor

Review

by BMDrummer USER (53 Reviews)
June 1st, 2014 | 51 replies


Release Date: 2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Feeling more like a cash-grab than an actual album, What The… is a textbook example of a failed comeback.

When you think of punk rock, there’s a good chance that the name Black Flag will pop up at some point. Being one of the most influential bands of the 1980s, it’s quite easy to see why they’re so recognized and renowned. While certain albums of theirs don’t receive the widespread acclaim as others, you simply can’t argue that their influence isn’t there. With that said, when we heard Greg was going to form a new version of Black Flag with him being the only original member, most of us were probably left scratching our heads in confusion.

The biggest issue that people brought up was the fact that Keith Morris, Chuck Dukowski, Bill Stevenson, and Stephen Egerton already reformed a version of Flag without Ginn. Two out of those four are original members, and Stevenson joined the band originally in 1983. While originally performing under the Black Flag name, Greg Ginn sued them claiming that he had full ownership of the Black Flag name. This string of events was right before What The… came out, and right before Greg reformed his own hybrid of Black Flag, which only makes this album seem like a cash grab to go against the other lineup. With that said, the album itself is nowhere near the standard of Black Flag’s past material. With Ron Reyes on vocals, the album has a sound similar to the one utilized on Jealous Again, for better or worse. Those six minutes of that EP feel like they’ve been stretched to a full album’s length for this record.

For the music itself, What The… is Black Flag with absolutely every single form of experimentation stripped to the absolute basics of punk rock. While this worked for their earlier material quite well, it gives this album a very lazy feel. Even without their past material in mind, this album still falls flat on its face as a hollow shell of punk rock. Songs like “My Heart’s Pumping”, “Wallow in Despair”, and “Shut Up” often come across as self-parody, and sometimes sound like they were poorly ripped off of Damaged in extreme cases. Greg’s guitar work is more or less exactly what he did in the early 80s, but it doesn’t have that sloppy edge he was known for. Everything is performed almost too well, to the point of where it loses any feel of being a punk rock album. As for the production, it's very muffled and sterile, with the drums being pushed almost all the way into the back of the mix. This basically makes it sound like every other “modernly” produced rock record, which is a true shame.

So overall, What The… feels like nothing but a dated attempt at an edgy punk rock record. Greg presents nothing significantly new, except for a modern production job and more emphasis on his guitar effects. While a conservative effort could be nice for most bands, What The… is just a rehashed version of what Black Flag was, and literally borders on self-parody. None of the presented material here is particularly memorable, with it all just being the same old sound. Greg might’ve gotten back at the FLAG incarnation of his old band, but this album doesn’t prove anything besides the fact that Black Flag should’ve just ended in 1986.



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user ratings (233)
1.2
awful

Comments:Add a Comment 
BMDrummer
June 1st 2014


14646 Comments


Was anxious to put up my first negative review, bring on the feedback please.

ExplosiveOranges
June 1st 2014


4408 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Short review, but it gets the job done. Have a pos in compensation for listening to this pile of dung.

Son of Mr. Pain
June 1st 2014


24919 Comments


Sweet review man. Pos. This reads as a negative review for sure, but you may could have gone more into why it is deserving
of such a low rating, but it seems like there are no redeeming qualities, so this works for the most part.

BMDrummer
June 1st 2014


14646 Comments


Sadly, this does exist. Can't believe you listened to this but not Damaged or My War though.

BMDrummer
June 1st 2014


14646 Comments


Haha, to each their own

Son of Mr. Pain
June 1st 2014


24919 Comments


Jac said what I was trying to say better, but it's still not a bad review.

Son of Mr. Pain
June 1st 2014


24919 Comments


From what I've heard My War is far superior to Damaged. But, I need to jam both.

BMDrummer
June 1st 2014


14646 Comments


Yeah, I fixed it a bit after realizing some of it. Maybe this would be easier to understand for those more versed in punk rock, as Jac said. As for Damaged and My War, I prefer My War.

BMDrummer
June 1st 2014


14646 Comments


Yeah, that's why most hardcore is meathead shit. I'm more into post-punk and experimental punk music though, hence why I think My War is superior to Damaged.

Son of Mr. Pain
June 1st 2014


24919 Comments


It's not really negative to be good necessarily. It's more about passion and flavor over technicality, which I'll take every day.

BMDrummer
June 1st 2014


14646 Comments


Yeah, I'll go for that. It really went against pretentious prog music for the most part.

BMDrummer
June 1st 2014


14646 Comments


They later stated they did that for shock value though, Johnny Rotten said hating Floyd was like wanting to kill fluffy bunnies.

Son of Mr. Pain
June 1st 2014


24919 Comments


I don't get into genre wars though. They all have their merits.

BMDrummer
June 1st 2014


14646 Comments


Look up Malcom McLaren, he told them to play that simply and be as obnoxious as possible. Also, check out Public Image Ltd for Johnny's real music.

BMDrummer
June 1st 2014


14646 Comments


Thanks, I tried to make my first negative review objective and not just a rant.

Son of Mr. Pain
June 1st 2014


24919 Comments


Interesting. Didn't know about Public Image. Need to look into that.

BMDrummer
June 1st 2014


14646 Comments


They're a bit of a difficult listen, but I like their first record quite a bit. Haven't heard much else myself so don't completely trust me.

SharkTooth
June 1st 2014


14137 Comments


I was told that their Jealous Again EP is the best place to start

BMDrummer
June 1st 2014


14646 Comments


It's probably their simplest release, so maybe. But if you go from that to Slip It In, you're in for a surprise.

Relinquished
June 1st 2014


42044 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

i hope listening to this was worth your time wasted



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