February 28, 2018

Obey The Brave - Salvation (2014)

Country: Canada
Language: English, French (Le Français)
Genre: Metalcore, Hardcore
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© 2014 Epitaph
AllMusic Review by Gregory Heaney
Upon hearing "Short Fuse," the opening track of Obey the Brave's sophomore album, Salvation, it would be easy to think that you've stumbled upon a lost gem from that magic moment in the '90s when hardcore and thrash took the Youth Crew sound in a whole new direction. With its blunt, straightforward heaviness, gang vocals, and bellowing violence, the album proves that this is one band that understands what metalcore is all about. Although the album is punctuated with forays into melodic hardcore, like the soaring choruses of "Up in Smoke" or the plaintive rock of "Lone Wolf," the Salvation always keeps one eye pointed toward aggression, so no matter how far Obey the Brave's sound might wander, it always returns to the mosh pit. Although it would be easy to dismiss these moments of melody as simply taking away from the heaviness, they serve a crucial function in the formula Obey the Brave are working with, allowing the album to climb rapturously upwards before it comes crashing down to earth with the full force of a punishing, classic hardcore breakdown. It also means that, while Salvation might sound like an album from the early days of Victory Records, it doesn't necessarily sound old. By putting in these little moments of lightness here and there, Obey the Brave add a level of dynamic nuance that bands like Earth Crisis never reached. This makes Salvation a more evolved take on classic metalcore that hardcore fans of any era will be able to appreciate briefly as they're being caught up in the whirlwind of a circle pit.

tags: obey the brave, salvation, 2014, flac,

Obey The Brave - Young Blood (2012)

Country: Canada
Language: English, French (Le Français)
Genre: Metalcore, Hardcore
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© 2012 Epitaph
AllMusic Review by Fred Thomas
"Not trying to reinvent the wheel/We keep it simple, we keep it real." Seconds into "Lifestyle," the punishing opening track on Young Blood, the debut album from Canadian metalcore upstarts Obey the Brave, these lyrics beam out with vitriolic fervor, both setting the tone for the record and relaying Obey the Brave's mission statement. The album's 11 tracks grind by relentlessly, brutal Pantera-influenced metal riffs meeting up with melodic hardcore choruses and plenty of mosh-inducing breakdowns and shouted group vocals supporting singer Alex Erian's (former voicebox for Despised Icon) gruff and growling lead vocals. The lyrical themes on Young Blood are classic metal cornerstones: living your own life, doing things by your own code, identifying who your friends are and are not, the scene and keeping it alive. The production takes a lot of well-trodden musical elements and pushes them over the top with in-the-red volumes and explosive dynamics that threaten to break into blown-out distortion at any moment. These production choices set Obey the Brave apart, capturing the tension and energy of songs like the anthemic bounding of "Early Graves" and the swinging double bass drum assault of the moshy "Get Real." Without their sometimes frighteningly overdriven quality, the songs might demand less attention and make a far less immediate impression. Some of the songs (even with an average length somewhere around three minutes and 20 seconds) linger a little longer than necessary, and just over the four-minute mark, "Time for a Change" drags on, feeling over about halfway through. A fair number of guest vocalists make appearances on the album as well, including Terror/ex-Buried Alive vocalist Scott Vogel and Keith Holuk, former singer for East Coast hardcore heavy-hitters Ligeia. These guests speak to the camaraderie of the hardcore community, but to many ears their tortured shouts are indistinguishable from one another, or from Erian's ever present vocals. Despite this and the band's relaxed editing of the songs, the album on the whole comes off as an instant classic of metal-informed hardcore. Obey the Brave's no-nonsense approach, boundless energy and verve, and catharsis-cleansing rage make the songs on Young Blood crackle with the out-of-control power of both the hungriest up-and-comers and all the institutions of power metal that came before.

tags: obey the brave, young blood, youngblood, 2012, flac,

The Nextmen - Amongst The Madness (2000)

Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Hip-Hop
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© 2000 75 Ark
*No professional reviews available for this release.

tags: the nextmen, next men, amongst the madness, 2000, flac,

Ruff Ryders - Ryde or Die Vol. 1 (1999)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Hip-Hop
Style: Gangsta Rap, Pop Rap
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© 1999 Ruff Ryders/Interscope Records
AllMusic Review by John Bush
Ruff Ryders, the production team behind DMX's first two platinum-plus albums, made their bid for superstardom with Ryde or Die, Vol. 1. The trio appeared to be following the blueprint of No Limit's Master P: they've formed their own label, assembled a cast of wide-ranging acts under its umbrella, and surrounded them with a variety of productions by Ruff Ryders associates like Swizz Beatz and DJ Clue? Ryde or Die, Vol. 1 features tracks from established names like the LOX, Jay-Z, Jermaine Dupri, Big Pun, Mase, and DMX himself, plus new signees to the label like Eve and Drag-On. Though several of the track productions are excellent (including the New Orleans horns of "Down Bottom," featuring native-born Juvenile, and the salsa rhythms on "What Ya Want"), the album suffers elsewhere by trying to be everything to everyone. It's got a few hardcore tracks, a few bounce tracks, and a few midtempo R&B tracks, but it's far too scattershot and never jells as it should (two complaints often lodged against No Limit albums). The team saves their best productions for DMX spotlights: the minute-long "Bugout" and the title track.

tags: ruff ryders, ryde or die vol 1, ride, 1999, flac,

Stone Temple Pilots - Core (1992) ☠

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Grunge
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☠: Selected by Lass
© 1992 Atlantic Records
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Stone Temple Pilots were positively vilified once their 1992 debut, Core, started scaling the charts in 1993, pegged as fifth-rate Pearl Jam copyists. It is true that the worst moments of Core play like a parody of the Seattle scene -- titles like "Dead and Bloated" and "Crackerman" tell you that much, playing like really bad Alice in Chains parodies, and the entire record tends to sink into gormless post-grunge sludge. Furthermore, even if it rocks pretty hard, it's usually without much character, sounding like cut-rate grunge. To be fair, it's more that they share the same influences as their peers than being overt copycats, but it's still a little disheartening all the same. If that's all that Core was, it'd be as forgettable as Seven Mary Three, but there are the hits that propelled it up the charts, songs that have remarkably stood the test of time to be highlights of their era. "Sex Type Thing" may have a clumsy anti-rape lyric that comes across as misogynist, but it survives on its terrifically lunk-headed riff, while "Wicked Garden" is a surprisingly effective piece of revivalist acid rock. Then, there's the slow acoustic crawl of "Creep" that works as well as anything on AIC's Sap and, finally, "Plush," a majestic album rock revival more melodic and stylish than anything grunge produced outside of Nirvana itself. These four songs aren't enough to salvage a fairly pedestrian debut, but they do find STP to be nimble rock craftsmen when inspiration hits.

tags: stone temple pilots, core, 1992, flac,

Stone Temple Pilots - Purple (1994) ☠

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Grunge
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☠: Selected by Lass
© 1994 Atlantic Records
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Stone Temple Pilots had hits with Core, but they got no respect. They suffered a barrage of savage criticism and it must have hurt, since their second effort seems a conscious effort to distinguish themselves as a band not indebted to grunge. That didn't get them anywhere, as they were attacked as viciously as before, but Purple is nevertheless a quantum leap over their debut, showcasing a band hitting its stride. They still aren't much for consistency, and there's more than a fair share of filler over this album's "12 Gracious Melodies." Still, this filler isn't cut-rate grunge, as it was on the debut; it has its own character, heavily melodic and slightly psychedelic. That's a fair assessment of the hits, as well, but there's a difference there -- namely, expert song and studiocraft. Yes, they were considerably more mainstream than their peers, but time has proven that that's their primary charm, since they were unafraid to temper their grunge with big arena hooks and swirling melodies. It works particularly well on the tight, concise "Vasoline" and the acoustic-based "Pretty Penny," but it really shines on the record's two masterpieces, "Big Empty" and "Interstate Love Song." "Big Empty" is ominous and foreboding, yet remains anthemic, a perfect encapsulation of mainstream alienation that is surpassed only by "Interstate Love Song," a concise epic as alluring as the open highway. These two songs are so good (really, mainstream hard rock didn't get better than these two cuts) that the unevenness of the rest of the record is all the more frustrating, but the filler here is better than before -- and those singles are proof positive that STP was the best straight-ahead rock singles outfit of their time.

tags: stone temple pilots, purple, purple album, 1994, flac,

Stone Temple Pilots - Tiny Music... Songs From The Vatican Gift Shop (1996)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Grunge
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© 1996 Atlantic Records
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Purple established that Stone Temple Pilots were not one-album wonders but Tiny Music...Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop illustrates that the band aren't content with resting on their laurels. Without abandoning their trademark hard rock, STP have added a new array of sounds that lend depth to their immediately accessible hooks. Dean DeLeo layers his guitar tracks to create distinctive, multi-textured sounds that make his riffs more powerful. Though there are hints of grunge scattered throughout the album, what makes Tiny Music impressive is how the band brings in elements of psychedelia, trancy shoegaze, jangle pop, and other forms of melodic alternative guitar pop. By accentuating their pop tendencies in both their riffs and melodies, they are able to slip in a number of creative arrangements which manage to expand their musical repertoire significantly. Although the lyrics are nearly as ambitious as the music, they simply don't have the same weight. But with a band like Stone Temple Pilots, the music is what matters and Tiny Music showcases the band at their most tuneful and creative.

tags: stone temple pilots, tiny music songs from the vatican gift shop, 1996, flac,

Mad Season - Above (1995) ☠

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Grunge, Alternative Rock
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☠: Selected by Lass
© 1995 Columbia Records
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Think of the one-shot Seattle supergroup Mad Season as the grunge version of sober living. Guitarist Mike McCready, best known as the main six-string slinger in Pearl Jam, met bassist John Baker Saunders while in rehab, and the two paired with Screaming Trees' drummer Barrett Martin and Alice in Chains vocalist Layne Staley, partially in hopes of steering the singer onto the path of the straight and narrow. Ultimately, the plan didn't pan out, but for a brief while, the quartet -- who adopted the name Mad Season -- did have their moment of clarity, captured on the 1995 album Above. There was a single issued to modern rock radio -- "River of Deceit" -- but this record downplayed easy hooks and melody in favor of churning introspection and slow vamps that occasionally flirt with blues (the never-ending 12-bar "Artificial Red," balanced by the distorto riffs of "I Don't Everything"), but usually conjure nothing more than the dank sludge of Seattle. Mad Season aren't quite mired in the darkest areas of grunge -- they're clever enough to let a saxophonist lend color to "Long Gone Day" -- but the lack of melodicism is a bit of a drag over the long haul, turning Above into a bit of heavy mood music. In a sense, it's the id of Seattle run rampant: all the bands involved, outside of Saunders' Walkabouts and Martin's Trees (who were nevertheless considerably more popular than Saunders' group), enjoyed commercial success in 1995, so they could have gotten away with anything and, in a sense, they did, as a major-label actually released this turgid bit of soul-baring heavy rock. McCready gets plenty of room for his elliptical guitar, the players has space to dig into their minor-key vamps, Staley essays his only set of completely original lyrics, but the whole thing feels kind of inert and indulgent, which may be appropriate for a band treating rock & roll as therapy. [The 2013 Deluxe Edition of Above is loaded with bonus material, beginning with four tracks from Mad Season's unfinished 1999 album, finally completed with the Screaming Trees' Mark Lanegan as lyricist and vocalist. Lanegan adds a gravity the otherwise tortured Staley lacked -- as dynamic a frontman as Layne was, Lanegan feels made of granite -- and consequently these bonus tracks are little more compelling than the proper album. Elsewhere on the Deluxe Edition lies the entirety of the group's final gig, a performance at the Seattle venue the Moore from April of 1995, captured as both a CD (weighing in at 11 tracks) and a DVD (a seven-cut edit, followed by five bonus tracks). Elsewhere on the DVD are other live performances, including a full concert at RKCNDY and some highlights from Pearl Jam's Self Pollution Radio. These bonus cuts don't change the overall impression of the album, but they do give hardcore fans plenty of rarities to savor.]

tags: mad season, above, 1995, flac,

7 Year Bitch - Sick 'Em (1992)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Grunge, Punk Rock
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© 1992 C/Z Records
AllMusic Review by Steve Huey
Sick 'Em, 7 Year Bitch's debut album, relies mostly on energy and brash attitude to put itself across; while the band possesses a vicious musical attack, the buzzing guitars and chanted lyrics only occasionally coalesce into a memorable riff or melodic hook. Nevertheless, 7 Year Bitch's aggression is clearly cathartic, and thus a fine riot grrrl outing. Highlights include "Lorna" and the notorious "Dead Men Don't Rape."

tags: 7 year bitch, seven, sick em, 'em, 1992, flac,

7 Year Bitch - ¡Viva Zapata! (1994) ☠

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Grunge, Punk Rock
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☠: Selected by Lass
© 1994 C/Z Records
AllMusic Review by Steve Huey
Despite the tragic loss of guitarist Stefanie Sargent, Viva Zapata! represents a musical leap forward for 7 Year Bitch, finding the group's attack cleaner, with a stronger sense of groove. Just as importantly, more of the songs here employ actual hooks, including "Hip Like Junk," and a cover of Jim Carroll's "It's Too Late," and the near-ballad "Damn Good and Well." But the album's most powerful moment comes with "M.I.A.," an alternately sad and angry tribute to band inspiration and slain Gits leader Mia Zapata. Contrary to what some punk purists might assume, 7 Year Bitch hasn't lost an ounce of passion on Viva Zapata!; they've just learned how to channel it better.

tags: 7 year bitch, seven, viva zapata, 1994, flac,

7 Year Bitch - Gato Negro (1996)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Grunge, Punk Rock
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© 1996 Atlantic Records
AllMusic Review by Vincent Jeffries
An admirable but not entirely fulfilling effort, Gato Negro encapsulates the somewhat squandered career of its creators. The final 7 Year Bitch lineup of Selene Vigil (vocals,) Valerie Agnew (drums,) Roisin Dunne (guitars) and Elizabeth Davis (bass) released Gato Negro, their last recording in 1996 for Atlantic Records. Dunne and Davis provide powerful post-grunge garage rock that transcends the punk categorization often (and inappropriately) assigned to the band. But Agnew's playing is a minor disappointment as her fractured drumming fails to supply the support her bandmate's fine riffing deserves. 7 Year Bitch's fractured rock revolves around Vigil's toxic, wildly unpredictable yelping. The frontwoman remains intense throughout Gato Negro, really getting her vocal act together on highlight tracks "Miss Understood" and "Whoopie Cat." When she's at her best, Vigil roars along with her band, creating music imbued with feral anxiety. Too often, things get off-track rhythmically; Vigil tries to go it alone, and the band flounders as Agnew's erratic pounding fails to keep it all together. To be clear, this is an above average record, but Gato Negro is not equal to the potential sum of its parts.

tags: 7 year bitch, gato negro, 1996, flac, seven,

Botch - We Are The Romans (1999)

*Original first pressing.
Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Metalcore, Mathcore
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© 1999 Hydra Head Records
AllMusic Review by William York
We Are the Romans is a solid display of new-school metallic hardcore (or metalcore) from a band that's not afraid to experiment. In other words, there are plenty of heavy guitars and angry, raw-throated vocals, but these more standard elements are offset by jagged math rock rhythms, a keen sense of dynamics, and some unusual-for-the-genre production techniques. For example, "Transitions From Persona to Object" uses an almost electronic drum sound in one spot, the subdued "Swimming the Channel vs. Driving the Channel" features a close-up guitar tone that differs sharply from the rest of the album, and "Man the Ramparts" includes a lengthy, reverb-drenched choir/chant interlude. In terms of songwriting, Botch doesn't strive for the dizzying complexity of Dillinger Escape Plan (with whom they've toured) or even Coalesce, whom they otherwise more closely resemble. However, their odd-time grooves and jagged, interweaving guitar lines are definitely a few steps beyond the ordinary hardcore-metal fare. As some of the song titles suggest, the lyrics tend toward the obscure side of the spectrum and are often merely vague (e.g., "People you never see the ones you'll never be/Working with their hands we've downsized again" from "Mondrian Was a Liar"). Like many other bands in the metalcore genre, Botch could stand to take themselves a tad less seriously, but We Are the Romans is still an impressive release that is generally stronger for its ambitions -- lyrical and otherwise -- despite the little bit of baggage they yield.

tags: botch, we are the romans, 1999, flac,

Botch - American Nervoso (1998)

*Original first pressing.
Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Metalcore, Mathcore
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© 1998 Hydra Head Records
*No professional reviews available for this release.

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Botch - An Anthology of Dead Ends: E.P. (2002)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Mathcore
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© 2002 Hydra Head Records
*No professional reviews available for this release.

tags: botch, an anthology of dead ends, ep, 2002, flac,

February 27, 2018

A Tribe Called Quest - Midnight Marauders (1993)

*European pressing. Contains 1 bonus track. 15 tracks total.
Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Hip-Hop
Style: Conscious Rap
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© 1993 Jive Records
AllMusic Review by John Bush
Though the abstract rappers finally betrayed a few commercial ambitions for Midnight Marauders, the happy result was a smart, hooky record that may not have furthered the jazz-rap fusions of The Low End Theory, but did merge Tribe-style intelligence and reflection with some of the most inviting grooves heard on any early-'90s rap record. The productions, more funky than jazzy, were tighter overall -- but the big improvement, four years after their debut, came with Q-Tip's and Phife Dawg's raps. Focused yet funky, polished but raw, the duo was practically telepathic on "Steve Biko (Stir It Up)" and "The Chase, Pt. 2," though the mammoth track here was the pop hit "Award Tour." A worldwide call-out record with a killer riff and a great pair of individual raps from the pair, it assured that Midnight Marauders would become A Tribe Called Quest's biggest seller. The album didn't feature as many topical tracks as Tribe was known for, though the group did include an excellent, sympathetic commentary on the question of that word ("Sucka Nigga," with a key phrase: "being as we use it as a term of endearment"). Most of the time, A Tribe Called Quest was indulging in impeccably produced, next-generation games of the dozens ("We Can Get Down," "Oh My God," "Lyrics to Go"), but also took the time to illustrate sensitivity and spirituality ("God Lives Through"). A Tribe Called Quest's Midnight Marauders was commercially successful, artistically adept, and lyrically inventive; the album cemented their status as alternative rap's prime sound merchants, authors of the most original style since the Bomb Squad first exploded on wax

tags: a tribe called quest, midnight marauders, 1993, flac,

Jimmy Eat World - Jimmy Eat World (1994)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Pop Punk
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© 1994 Wooden Blue Records
*No professional reviews available for this release.

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Jimmy Eat World - Bleed American (2001)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Alternative Rock, Pop Punk
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© 2001 DreamWorks Records
AllMusic Review by Mark Vanderhoff
After being dropped by Capitol, Jimmy Eat World returned in 2001 with their most consistent and accessible album to date. Recorded entirely on the band's dime before they had a new record deal, Bleed American features compelling lyrics, driving guitar work, and insanely catchy melodies. Left to their own devices during the recording process, it wouldn't have been surprising if the band had turned out another layered, sprawling album akin to their previous full-length masterwork, Clarity. Perhaps sensing that they wouldn't be able to top their previous work when it came to spacy emo, Bleed American heads in a new direction. There are no 16-minute songs here, just straight-ahead rock & roll, performed with punk energy and alt-rock smarts. The title track sets the tone for the album with its blistering guitar attack and aggressive vocals. "A Praise Chorus" and "The Middle improve upon that formula, maintaining the forceful instrumentation but toying with the lyrical themes. "A Praise Chorus" uses the most basic of rock emotions for lyrical inspiration, "I wanna fall in love tonight," while lifting lyrics from Tommy James' "Crimson and Clover," They Might Be Giants' "Don't Let's Start," and Mötley Crüe's "Kick Start My Heart," among others. When used in a song about the comfort and trappings of nostalgia, this borrowing comes off more like a well-placed tribute than stealing. "The Middle" offers a pep talk about self-acceptance and fitting in, and one of the most memorable guitar riffs this side of Angus Young. Bleed American's quieter moments recall some of the band's signature instrumentation from their previous work. Gentle keyboards, bells, and stirring background vocals from former that dog. member Rachel Haden enhance the understated beauty of ballads like "Hear You Me" and "Cautioneers." Haden's most enjoyable contribution, however, is to the up-tempo rocker "The Authority Song." On the surface a song about a song (John Mellencamp's "Authority Song), it also name drops the Beatles' "What Goes On." The numerous references to other bands and other songs reveal that although Jimmy Eat World is a critically acclaimed and incredibly talented band, the members are really just rock fans themselves. If they maintain this level of quality, however, don't be surprised if the next generation of ambitious rockers start writing songs that pay tribute to Jimmy Eat World.

tags: jimmy eat world, bleed american, 2001, flac,

Jimmy Eat World - Invented (Deluxe Edition) (2010)

*Contains 4 bonus tracks. 16 tracks total.
Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Alternative Rock
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© 2010 DGC/Interscope Records
AllMusic Review by Andrew Leahey
It’s been 16 years since Jimmy Eat World released Static Prevails, one of the first emo albums issued by a major label, and nearly a decade since Bleed American proved the genre could be commercially successful. The guys are older now -- frontman Jim Adkins, although immortally baby-faced, is in his mid-thirties -- and the slick, poppy sound that Bleed American helped introduce has been adopted by nearly every emo band since. Most of those new bands are younger than Jimmy Eat World, and Invented marks the point where age officially becomes an issue for the genre forefathers.
The problem with Invented isn’t the band’s attempt to sound young. The problem is that these songs consciously reflect Jimmy Eat World’s age, and emo music doesn’t really support that kind of content. Bleed American, Futures, and Chase This Light were all anthemic records, filled with carpe diem platitudes that targeted a teenage audience, but Invented is older, wiser, and perhaps more midtempo than it needs to be. Whereas Chase This Light opened with a rousing rock song, “Big Casino,” whose protagonist becomes “a New Jersey success story” after ditching the small town that raised him, Adkins places himself on the other side of the equation at the beginning of Invented, taking a look at the 21st century kids who’ve come to take away his crown. “I’m more and more replaced by my friends each night/I can’t compete,” he sings, while acoustic guitars and strings bubble beneath him. Melodically, it’s still a gorgeous song, as are most of the ballads and casually paced rock songs on the album. But Invented, as tuneful as it may be, still plays an odd role in Jimmy Eat World’s discography, since it can’t quite figure out how to transcend a genre -- one that Jimmy Eat World helped invent, no less -- that exclusively caters to younger listeners.

tags: jimmy eat world, invented, deluxe edition, 2010, flac,

February 26, 2018

Black Flag - Damaged (1981) ☠

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Hardcore Punk
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☠: Selected by Buccaneer
© 1981-1988 SST Records
AllMusic Review by John Dougan
Perhaps the best album to emerge from the quagmire that was early-'80s California hardcore punk, the visceral, intensely physical presence of Damaged has yet to be equaled, although many bands have tried. Although Black Flag had been recording for three years prior to this release, the fact that Henry Rollins was now their lead singer made all the difference. His furious bellow and barely contained ferocity was the missing piece the band needed to become great. Also, guitarist/mastermind Greg Ginn wrote a slew of great songs for this record that, while suffused with the usual punk conceits (alienation, boredom, disenfranchisement), were capable of making one laugh out loud, especially the protoslacker satire "TV Party." Extremely controversial when it was released, Damaged endured the slings and arrows of outrageous criticism (some reacted as though this record alone would cause the fall of America's youth) to become and remain an important document of its time.

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Black Flag - My War (1983) ☠

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Hardcore Punk
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☠: Selected by Buccaneer
© 1983-1987 SST Records
AllMusic Review by John Dougan
After a rancorous three-year legal battle with their label Unicorn, which prevented them from releasing any new material, Black Flag binged in the mid-'80s, releasing a flurry of records that had even the most devoted fans scrambling to keep up. They did, however, start this period somewhat inauspiciously with My War, a pretentious mess of a record with a totally worthless second side. Featuring three tracks of slower-than-Black Sabbath muck with Henry Rollins howling like a caged animal, it was self-indulgence masquerading as inspiration and about as much fun as wading through a tar pit. Side one, however, was quite good, with the title tracks especially intimidating.

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Black Flag - Loose Nut (1984)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Hardcore Punk
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© 1984-1987 SST Records
AllMusic Review by Alex Ogg
One of three LPs released by Black Flag in 1985, Loose Nut suffers from its creators' rampant profligacy. Too much of the record is under-rehearsed and under-ripe, yet when the group hits its stride, as on Henry Rollins' brutal "This Is Good," it's hard to deny the group's trademark, adrenaline-rush appeal. Other highlights include "Annihilate This Week" and "Bastard in Love."

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Black Flag - Slip It In (1984)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Hardcore Punk
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© 1984-1987 SST Records
AllMusic Review by John Dougan
Slip It In followed My War almost immediately, and while a bit better (fewer mega-volume angst drones), the band still wanders a bit, experimenting with expanding the breadth of hardcore into a newer hard rock/punk sound. This is especially true of Greg Ginn's guitar playing, which was becoming increasingly avant-garde and exciting. Rather than simply coughing up one clichéd solo after another, he wandered harmolodically up and down the fretboard as a jazz player like Blood Ulmer would, making the material more interesting than what most Black Flag-influenced bands were playing.

tags: black flag, slip it in, 1984, flac,