Much has been said about the West Memphis Three, a group of three young men who many feel were wrongfully convicted of a cult-like slaying of three eight-year-old boys in Arkansas back in 1993. An informative website wm3.org and a pair of documentaries, Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills and Paradise Lost 2: Revelations, helped raise its attention level, which is how many became aware of the case, including Rollins Band/ex-Black Flag frontman Henry Rollins. Inspired to lend a hand in providing aid in the young men's defense (who were all given either life or death sentences), Rollins assembled a benefit record. 2002's Rise Above: 24 Black Flag Songs to Benefit the West Memphis Three is not your average tribute or benefit record, as some of the best-known rock singers have lent their vocals to remakes of Black Flag classics (backed by the modern-day Rollins Band lineup). Rollins himself calls the album "absolutely bulletproof," and he's not kidding, as evidenced by explosive renditions of "Fix Me" (Iggy Pop), "Six Pack" (Mike Patton), "Revenge" (Tom Araya), and "Jealous Again" (Nick Oliveri) prove. In addition to Rollins handling vocals on several tunes (the first time he's performed Black Flag material since the band's last tour in 1986), several other former Black Flag members lend a hand as well, including Keith Morris, Chuck Dukowski, and Kira Roessler. If only every benefit/tribute album could be as stellar as Rise Above.
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AllMusic Review by Greg Prato