Black Flag

The Complete 1982 Demos (Plus More!)

  • AllMusic Rating
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

While embroiled in a bitter lawsuit with Unicorn Records that cost a countless and overwhelming amount of hours and dollars, the label slapped an injunction against the band, preventing them from recording and releasing under the name Black Flag. Under clear threat of law, in 1982, following the release of the landmark album Damaged, Black Flag snuck into the studio to record songs that would ultimately compose both the My War and Slip It In records. These are the only recordings the band made with possibly their strongest lineup: Henry Rollins on vocals, Greg Ginn and Dez Cadena on guitar, Chuck Dukowski on bass, and Chuck Biscuits on drums. These versions are far more vital and uncontainable than those that would ultimately end up on the official SST releases. Cadena's visceral rhythm is the perfect counterpoint to Ginn's damaging, stinging, cascading leads, while Biscuits' drumming paired with Dukowski's muscular bass is a more feral Phil Rudd-Cliff Williams combo. Though only a bootleg, this is the most visceral and brutal set of Black Flag recordings available. Also included are two songs that never made it past this demo stage: "What Can You Believe?" and the angular "Yes, I Know." There is also the added bonus of a 1984 Radio Tokyo studio session and interview.

blue highlight denotes track pick