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Various Artists 

Black on Black: A Tribute to Black Flag (ReIgnition)

A tribute album that has two keeper covers and one laudable interpretation is still better than most. When it was first released in 2003, Black on Black: A Tribute to Black Flag barely met that measure, paying tribute to the first band that could fit an album's worth of fear and loathing into a seven-inch single. Collecting a mere nine Flag songs -- publishing rights are expensive, and cash-strapped Initial Records has since gone belly up -- Black on Black collected efforts from new-school hardcore luminaries, who dropped the ball both when they stayed close to the source (Hope Conspiracy's plodding "Nervous Breakdown") and when they got creative with the material (Converge's spastic wankery "Annihilate This Week").

But this newly expanded reissue adds six marquee metalcore acts, and the newcomers nail their songs. Zao rips the groove of "Black Coffee," and Drowningman's "Loose Nut" is the only late-Rollins-era number that recaptures the original's infectious dread. Other contributors include Black Dahlia Murder (good), Most Precious Blood (meh), and Bleeding Through (very good). Old-school Mohicans will still prefer Rise Above: 24 Black Flag Songs to Benefit the West Memphis Three, but the reworked Black on Black is far more satisfying than the original.

More by D.X. Ferris


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