A lot has happened in the last 24 hours. Jeff Hanneman from Slayer has died, those backwards fuckwits in UKIP enjoyed a surge in popularity from those dipshits known as the British public AND hardcore legends Black Flag have released their first new song in 23 years, Down In The Dirt, as a free download. It would be nice if, given how dispiriting those first two events are, the third might be somehow enjoyable and faith-restoring. Wouldn’t it be great if, after more than two decades out of the spotlight, Black Flag came back and saved punk rock? That’d be awesome! But no, it isn’t awesome. What it is is the Prometheus (as in the movie) of punk comebacks; a very long wait ending only with a confused mess that will cause upset with just about anyone who comes into contact with it. Listen, if you must, to this sorry shitpile;
It starts off encouragingly enough, with a trademark Greg Ginn riff that wouldn’t sound out of place on their early albums, before the bass comes in and then you instantly know something is wrong. Then the whole thing gives way to what can only be described as four musicians all playing a different song at the same time. It is a jarring mish-mash of guitars, drums, bass and hollering that simply does not fit together, and not even in a “challenging” way, just in a “quite painful to listen to” way.
Last weekend your correspondent watched the remaining Black Flag alumni – who have nothing to do with this single – play in a band called Flag at the Groezrock festival. They were tight, focussed and furious. The gig was a life-affirming blast. This, on the other hand, is just a great big shit sandwich. If anyone needs me, I will be clutching a bottle of cheap whiskey and a copy of ‘Damaged’, sighing wistfully.
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