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My War

4.4 out of 5 stars 59 customer reviews

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My War
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Audio CD, October 25, 1990
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sst Records
  • ASIN: B000000LZO
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,858 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
Anger, depression, paranoia and despair. These themes were all explored before the release of "My War", the mammoth second album by Huntington Beach pioneers Black Flag. There may have even been some dramatic lip service given to the concept of emotional collapse and the experience of hitting zero degrees psychologically.
But this was something quite different. Far from a superficial examination of the ambiance of alienation felt by their audience at the time, "My War" quickly establishes the bands ability to capture the zeitgeist in this non-trivial and genuinely unsettling presentation. Lock yourself in a darkened room alone with your torment and a bottle of Jack Daniels, then turn it up way past eleven and JUST FEEL IT!
"Nothing Left Inside" by itself is a gauranteed purgation of sorrow for those contemplating the value of continued existence.But that's just the tip of the ferocious iceberg. "Beat my head against the wall", "Can't Decide", and the pummeling title track are all frightening representations of schizophrenic energy. At once both detached and passionate.
To be sure, there is musical evolution to accompany the harrowing lyrics of a very young and very tortured Henry Rollins.
Here guitarist Greg Ginn provides the perfect Yin to Rollins Yang in the form of sludgy, Sabbath like punk blues rock, which was unique to the Flag during the early to mid-eightees. During all this innovation their contemporaries were more than happy to hide behind the pandering assurance of blinding speed and virtual anger. "Damaged", the groups previous album, was notable only for its mastery of punk convention.
But on "My War", they actually transcend mere posturing to bring the listener a tangible and disturbing intimacy with neurosis unleashed. Heavy indeed.
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3 Comments 30 of 34 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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By A Customer on December 21, 2001
Format: Audio CD
O.K., I'm giving this five stars even though I know that most new listeners will dislike it. Fair warning: don't buy it expecting "(Son of) Damaged" or "(The Rest of) the First Four Years." Aside from the "T.V. Party" single (with Damaged outtakes), BF never went back to its Damaged-era sound. It was the right decision given that they totally mastered "hardcore" with Damaged, and almost certainly could never have topped that album and sound. But don't take the fact that they moved away from hardcore to be a "bad" thing (even if they eventually slipped a bit with "Family Man" and "Slip It In," before recovering and releasing "Loose Nut" and the glorious "In My Head"). My War finds Black Flag reemerging after an almost three-year lawsuit with a new line-up (Dukowski, ROBO, and Dez are long gone, replaced by Bill Stevenson and Greg Ginn's alter-ego, Dale Nixon) and a new, rawer, darker, sludgier sound. I love "My War" because it sounds like a band that's been to hell and back and that no longer trusts any one or anything (as well as a band -- well, really just Greg Ginn - who is half the band on this record anyway ...). In my book, My War and Can't Decide are two of the best punk songs ever -- yeah, they are not pretty, even by punk's admittedly low standards, but they are so raw, angry, and authentic-sounding. Anyone who has felt really at odds with the world and with those around them will relate instantly with the visceral emotion and alienation expressed in those songs. Rollins, in particular, sounds like he's completely lost it at the end of My War -- screaming his bloody head off and fingering us all as "one of them." Plus, side two -- i.e.Read more ›
Comment 13 of 14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD
There are quite a few people out there that think Black Flag went sour after "Damaged". It's true that Black Flag became a cheesy metal band towards the end, but it didn't start with "My War". The descent into metal cheese started when they started releasing albums with chicks on the cover.
"My War" is a punk/metal crossover masterpiece. At the time it was released there was nothing like it. There are not many punk albums that reach the depths of darkness like this album did.
"My War" was not released for a long time because of a legal battle that barred Black Flag from releasing any new albums after "Damaged". The frustration and anger of being held down by a large corporation and stopped from recording comes to a head on this album.
The cover of "My War", which is one of the all time greatest covers in history, is a pretty good preview of what's on the album. Musically, the smiling man represents the first half and the knife represents the second half. The vocal theme through out the whole album is pain. This album was one of the first times Henry Rollins was free to write his own lyrics and he came out swinging. Rollins puts more emotion into singing than any other vocalist in hardcore.
The title track, "My War" is just brutal on all levels combining a pop structured tune and lacing it with screaming. The next four songs are very catchy, sarcastic songs that have some classic lines. "Swimming in the mainstream is such a lame dream. No method to the madness," sings Rollins on "Beat My Head Against The Wall".
The most impressive part starts with "Nothing Left Inside", a dark musical description of depression with a slow driving riff.
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My War
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