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BLACK FLAG “LIVE ’84” – extreme, real and essential Punk Rock

Posted in 1980's live punk rock albums, 1980's punk rock albums, 1980's punk rock music, Album Review, black flag albums, essential punk rock albums, Extreme, legends of punk rock, live punk rock music, Punk rock, punk rock album review, punk rock albums, punk rock music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 6, 2009 by Metal Odyssey

Black Flag “Live ’84” is a listening lesson of the early days of Extreme Music. There is no denying… Black Flag is Punk Rock. In my Metal opinion, when I think of the Punk Rock bands that laid out the blueprint for Hardcore and Extreme Music, Sex Pistols, Ramones, Misfits and Black Flag come to mind instantly. Each of these bands are so instrumental in the development of the Punk Rock, Extreme and Hardcore movements. Listening to “Live ’84” and I cannot help myself by becoming absorbed by the distortion, feedback, speed, heaviness and pissed off sound and attitude that engulfs me. Nothing beats listening to a vintage, live, Punk Rock album like this. The raw solos and low production only add to the real Punk spirit of this live Black Flag album. Henry Rollins as with each member of Black Flag, bestowed the take it or piss off approach to their music, I personally hear and feel it on “Live ’84”. For me, I am taking it… every Black Flag second of it.

I know this sounds like a cliche here… they just don’t make Punk Rock like this anymore. Heck, they don’t make bands at all like this anymore – bands that aren’t encapsulated and sheltered by their respective genre and packaged up for a massive marketing campaign for the masses. To review the songs on this Black Flag album would be a waste of my Metal time. Take my Metal word for it… this is an essential, live, Punk Rock album from Black Flag. The sum of all the musical parts here, make for an unquestionable exposure to what Punk Rock was supposed to sound like in 1984. Grit, angry, blue collar, loud, very, very fast, non-synchronized (in parts) and maddeningly abrupt musically. There is my music review for “Live ’84”. I will say that “Rats Eyes” is my favorite track, it is extremely heavy and maniacal – just Punk perfect. Take it or leave it, Black Flag is as essential to the history of Heavy Music as is the blast beat. Henry Rollins, made for as formidable a front man, as there ever existed in Punk Rock or any Heavy Music genre for that matter. Listen to this album and you might just agree with me on this.

19 songs are on “Live ’84”, only 3 tracks clock in under 2 minutes each. There are 9 songs that clock in at over 4 minutes each – with the opener “The Process of Weeding Out” coming in at 8:37. Black Flag were not your stereotypical Punk Rock band when it came to the playing times of tunes. If a martian came down to Earth, asked me for a prime example of Punk Rock and/or Extreme Music from the 1980’s, well, I would definitely hand this alien a copy of Black Flag “Live ’84”. To give proper credit where it is due, I would also hand over to this smelly space creature… a copy of the Misifts “Earth A.D.”, which was released in 1983. I think what makes me gravitate towards Black Flag “Live ’84” is hearing the brutal Punk Rock belief, in the music these guys were playing, throwing heavy caution to the wind, while not giving a crap what the commercial music world and sappy pop critics thought or said.

A Metal Odyssey roll call of the members of Black Flag, as they appear on “Live ’84”: Henry Rollins on lead vocals, Greg Ginn on guitar, Kira on bass, Bill Stevenson on drums and Tom Troccoli and various audience members on backing vocals.

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