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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Black Flag - The Complete 1982 Demos (Plus More!)

Released : 1996
Recorded : 1982 - 1984
Genre : Hardcore Punk
Label : Manson

For fans, this is a treasure trove of mid-period Flag recordings that’s worth hunting down. These demos were recorded only months after the release of Damaged and a good two years before My War, Slip It In, Family Man and the band’s oft criticized move into hard rock territory, though one can already hear the metal influences creeping into the band’s sound on these 1982 recordings. The short-lived five-piece lineup (with Chuck Biscuits on drums instead of Robo) plows through most of the My War tracks, a couple of Slip It In tracks and Loose Nut’s “Modern Man” with all the raw, unbridled energy you could hope for from this band. I think that I prefer the demos of “Slip It In” and “Black Coffee” over the more polished versions that ended up on the Slip It In album two years later. As for the My War material, “Nothing Left Inside” and “Scream” fare well here and “My War” is almost as intense as the classic title track from 1984. This disc also contains two unreleased Black Flag songs, “Yes, I Know” and “What Can You Believe”. The former is typically fast and hard but somewhat undeveloped and incomplete, while the latter is a much better mid-tempo offering. The three Radio Tokyo tracks from 1984 that close out the disc make the perfect icing on the cake. Black Flag were once again a quartet (with Kira and Bill Stevenson now in the lineup) and the group sounds tighter and more focused than it ever did before.

1. What Can You Believe?
2. Yes, I Know
3. Slip It In
4. Modern Man
5. My War
6. Black Coffee
7. Beat My Head Against the Wall
8. Can't Decide
9. I Love You
10.Nothing Left Inside / Scream
11.I Love You
12.My War
14.Swinging Man


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