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  • Rise Above: 24 Black Flag Songs to Benefit the West Memphis Three
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Rise Above: 24 Black Flag Songs to Benefit the West Memphis Three

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Audio CD, October 8, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

Holy countercultural confluence! For the cause of fundraising for the defense of a trio of legally bound Arkansas headbangers--one of whom is currently on death row on the basis of hearsay testimony--Henry Rollins has resurrected the sacrosanct songs of his legendary former Los Angeles hardcore band Black Flag. Much as he first joined the popular Flag by jumping on stage and grabbing the microphone, Rollins here assigns lead vocals to a bewildering array of guests, including Iggy Pop, Dean Ween, Corey Taylor of Slipknot, Tom Araya of Slayer, Queens of the Stone Age, and Ice T. The Rollins Band convincingly serves as caustic backing band throughout. Protest music godfather Chuck D. of Public Enemy appears as well, though simply to introduce the album. Many of the singers, whether inspired by the cause itself or the muscular caliber of Black Flag's music, deliver the rebellious message with heartfelt intensity. Motorhead leader Lemmy's ripping version of "Thirsty and Miserable" is a stunning highlight, as is Hank Williams III's psychotic "No Values." Former Flag singers Keith Morris and Chuck Dukowski bring their veteran intensity, and Rollins himself shouts "My War," "TV Party," "Black Coffee," "Annihilate This Week," "Slip It In," and the title track. (Flag guitarist-lyricist Greg Ginn is notably absent, though his trademark clear Lucite guitar joins the West Memphis Three defendants on the cover artwork.) The participating musicians' anger and frustration over the West Memphis Three case, which has been detailed in HBO's Paradise Lost documentaries, is well matched with the giant fury of this band. --Ian Christe

1. Rise Above - Chuck D & Henry Rollins
2. Nervous Breakdown - Keith Morris
3. Fix Me - Iggy Pop
4. American Waste - Neil Fallon of Clutch
5. I've Had it - Cedric Bixler Zavala of The Mars Volta
6. I've Heard It Before - Jeff Moreira of Poison the Well
7. Room 13 - Corey Taylor of Slipknot
8. Wasted - Exene Cervenka
9. Jealous Again - Nick Oliveri of Queens of the Stone Age
10. TV Party - Henry Rollins
11. No Values - Hank III
12. Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie - Dean Ween
13. Depression - Casey Chaos of Amen
14. Six Pack - Mike Patton
15. Police Story - Ice T
16. Revenge - Tom Araya of Slayer
17. Thirsty & Miserable - Lemmy
18. What I See - Chuck Dukowski
19. No More - Tim Armstrong & Lars Frederiksen
20. Black Coffee - Henry Rollins
See all 24 tracks on this disc

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 8, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sanctuary Records
  • ASIN: B00006JBKR
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #104,626 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

The guest vocalists are wonderful.
Peter Shepherd
The fact is, his performance is just as good as anyone else's.
I've always been a huge Rollins band and Black Flag fan.
Vampyre Mike

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Dan Nykolayko on October 9, 2002
Format: Audio CD
I first saw the documentary, Paradise Lost, many years ago. While I initially watched it because it had been the first movie which Metallica's music had been featured in (they had donated 3 songs). However, the precense of Metallica's music quickly became overshadowed by the injustice featured in the documentary. I'll spare you the details, since Henry has been so vocal about it, but pick up the book Devil's Knot and read about it yourself.
I was pleased to hear that Rollins was backing the West Memphis Three and was surprised to hear about his idea about this benefit record. Since Henry hasn't performed a Black Flag song since 1986, I figured he liked to keep the band in the back of his mind. However, when I first heard about the conception of this benefit album, I was intrigued. When the tracklisting surfaced, I became extremely excited. Mike Patton, Nick Oliveri, Tom Araya, Iggy Pop, and Lemmy all lending their voices to amazing Black Flag tunes. Of course, I wondered how the music would turn out... I love the current incarnation of Rollins Band, but there is always a sense of doubt when you're dealing with something sacred.
Let me just say this... this record harnasses the anger of the West Memphis Three case and channels it out tenfold. The Rollins Band perform each song to near perfection. The guitar tone is just right, and the rhythm section delivers constant shots to the kidneys. For the most part, each vocalist delivers. I'm not the biggest fan of Slipknot, but Corey Taylor's 'Room 13' is incredible. Other highlights? 'American Waste' w/ Neil from Clutch, 'Nervous Breakdown' w/ original Flag singer Keith Morris, 'Six Pack' by Mike Patton, 'Jealous Again' by Nick Oliveri, and Henry's look back on 'My War.
Read more ›
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 23, 2003
Format: Audio CD
I had never heard of the west memphis three case until this benifit CD came out. It wasn't until recently that I bought the CD, and ever since I've purchased it, I've been blown away by the intensity and quality. I think it's a testament to the still surviving power of music, and especially Black Flag style punk rock that so much talent has come together for such a controversial but noble cause. If you're a Black Flag, Rollins Band, Henry Rollins, etc., fan, buy this CD. If you're not a rock fan, at least check out the case, or at least how it's laid out by the CD insert. Without voices like Rollins, there will never be hope for justice in America.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mr Leo Scheben on October 16, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Not only can you help support the West Memphis 3 just by buying this album, but you also get 24 GREAT 'Flag covers.
I've been a huge "Flag" fan since I was about 13 years old (I'm 33 now). I didn't think anyone could pull-off Greg Ginn's amazing guitar parts but Mother Superior/Rollins Band does a freaking GREAT job!
It's ALL really good, but these are the standout tracks for me after the first listen:
3.) Iggy Pop doing "Fix Me" is a trip, considering he is one of Henry Rollins' & Black Flag's biggest influences. GREAT!
4.) Neil Fallon from Clutch does a very aggressive/straight-forward version of "American Waste".
5.) Cedric Bixler Zavala (from The Mars Volta--I'm not familar with them) does a really cool version of "I've Had It" from the Nervous Breakdown 7"--He does a really cool take on the early Keith Morris vocal sound. Familiar and original at the same time.
9.) Nick Oliveri (Queens of the Stone Age) does a really heavy version of "Jealous Again". POWERFUL!
11.) Hank III's version of "No Values" is ULTRA-COOL! Good voice, phrasing & intensity. One of the best cuts on the album!
14.) Mike Patton kills on "Six Pack"--CRAZY ...! INTENSE!!!
15.) Ice-T is a perfect choice for "Police Story" & he also does a really good job on this track.
16.) Tom Araya from SLAYER also KILLS on his cover of "Revenge".
SLAYER...God may hate them, but I LOVE them!
17.) Who is "Thirsty & Miserable"? LEMMY! Another PERFECT choice. He sounds really cool doing "Thirsty"!
24.) Is it Ryan Adams (Whiskeytown) or PJ HARVEY? The vocal phrasing on this bonus-cover of "Nervous Breakdown" sounds like something off of PJ Harvey's "Rid of Me" or "4 Track Demos" albums. Which is a good thing. I wonder if it's intentional or coinsidental? Either way it's really cool...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Erik D. Hilsinger on January 23, 2005
Format: Audio CD
This is pretty much third on my Black Flag list. I saw them in Seattle in 83 and 84, and I saw Rollins tour with Tool in a discotheque under the Space Needle. I saw him do the talking thing, too.

Number one will always be Damaged. It got me through high school without killing myself or others, rough times.

Number two is "Who's got the 10.5" because, well, have you ever thought about getting yourself some? You know what I'm talking about.

This one is number three. The guitars sound too clean and controlled, not enough screw ups to make it have the real "wheels flying off and sparks spraying out about to blow" Black Flag feel. But it still destroyed anything that came out on a major label. Henry is middle aged and he is still on the high hard road. I wish Greg Ginn would have sucked it up and played some skanky guitar on some of these tracks, but no, and after reading "Broken Summer," and having listened to "Get in the Van" on cd, I guess maybe that's not realistic.

This is a must own. Buy it now. Or wallow in your own filth, weakness and failure.
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