Album of the Day: Various Artists – Black on Black: A Tribute to Black Flag


Label: Initial Records

Tribute records are often unnecessary at best, and utterly demoralizing at worst. Sure, it can be great to hear bands you love covering a pivotal band; but it can also do little other than act as a reminder of how great the originals were. And whilst Black on Black certainly did that for Black Flag, it’s that rare thing: a tribute album that actually feels vital and relevant, with all the bands involved putting across their personality whilst paying respect to one of the most important punk bands ever. Some of the versions might even – whisper it! – be better than the originals.

I’m aware that’s a very bold statement to make, but a few of these covers really are exceptional. ‘Depression’ by American Nightmare is the version I think of when I think of the song; Burnt By The Sun’s take on ‘Drinking and Driving’ is exceptional; and what The Dillinger Escape Plan did to ‘Damaged’ is incredible. And the line-up of bands is very much a “who’s who” of underground American hardcore around the start of the millenium, with contributions from the likes of Converge, Coalesce, The Hope Conspiracy, and Planes Mistaken For Stars. The record was re-released by ReIgnition Records when Initial Records when bust, and included further contributions from bands including Zao and The Black Dahlia Murder, and if you’re a fan of turn of the millenium hardcore and Black Flag, then it’s well worth an hour of your time.

Black on Black can be streamed via Spotify.


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