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Rise Above: 24 Black Flag Songs to Benefit the West Memphis Three
Various Artists
Rise Above: 24 Black Flag Songs to Benefit the West Memphis Three
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock, Metal
  •  Track Listings (24) - Disc #1

Holy countercultural confluence! For the cause of fundraising for the defense of a trio of legally bound Arkansas headbangers--one of whom is currently on death row on the basis of hearsay testimony--Henry Rollins has resu...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Various Artists
Title: Rise Above: 24 Black Flag Songs to Benefit the West Memphis Three
Members Wishing: 5
Total Copies: 0
Label: Sanctuary Records
Release Date: 10/8/2002
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock, Metal
Styles: Hardcore & Punk, American Alternative, Tributes, Alternative Metal
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 060768457324, 5050159012527, 5050749226426

Holy countercultural confluence! For the cause of fundraising for the defense of a trio of legally bound Arkansas headbangers--one of whom is currently on death row on the basis of hearsay testimony--Henry Rollins has resurrected the sacrosanct songs of his legendary former Los Angeles hardcore band Black Flag. Much as he first joined the popular Flag by jumping on stage and grabbing the microphone, Rollins here assigns lead vocals to a bewildering array of guests, including Iggy Pop, Dean Ween, Corey Taylor of Slipknot, Tom Araya of Slayer, Queens of the Stone Age, and Ice T. The Rollins Band convincingly serves as caustic backing band throughout. Protest music godfather Chuck D. of Public Enemy appears as well, though simply to introduce the album. Many of the singers, whether inspired by the cause itself or the muscular caliber of Black Flag's music, deliver the rebellious message with heartfelt intensity. Motorhead leader Lemmy's ripping version of "Thirsty and Miserable" is a stunning highlight, as is Hank Williams III's psychotic "No Values." Former Flag singers Keith Morris and Chuck Dukowski bring their veteran intensity, and Rollins himself shouts "My War," "TV Party," "Black Coffee," "Annihilate This Week," "Slip It In," and the title track. (Flag guitarist-lyricist Greg Ginn is notably absent, though his trademark clear Lucite guitar joins the West Memphis Three defendants on the cover artwork.) The participating musicians' anger and frustration over the West Memphis Three case, which has been detailed in HBO's Paradise Lost documentaries, is well matched with the giant fury of this band. --Ian Christe

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CD Reviews

A Brutal Benefit for a Travesty of Justice
Dan Nykolayko | Dana Point, CA USA | 10/09/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I first saw the documentary, Paradise Lost, many years ago. While I initially watched it because it had been the first movie which Metallica's music had been featured in (they had donated 3 songs). However, the precense of Metallica's music quickly became overshadowed by the injustice featured in the documentary. I'll spare you the details, since Henry has been so vocal about it, but pick up the book Devil's Knot and read about it yourself.I was pleased to hear that Rollins was backing the West Memphis Three and was surprised to hear about his idea about this benefit record. Since Henry hasn't performed a Black Flag song since 1986, I figured he liked to keep the band in the back of his mind. However, when I first heard about the conception of this benefit album, I was intrigued. When the tracklisting surfaced, I became extremely excited. Mike Patton, Nick Oliveri, Tom Araya, Iggy Pop, and Lemmy all lending their voices to amazing Black Flag tunes. Of course, I wondered how the music would turn out... I love the current incarnation of Rollins Band, but there is always a sense of doubt when you're dealing with something sacred.Let me just say this... this record harnasses the anger of the West Memphis Three case and channels it out tenfold. The Rollins Band perform each song to near perfection. The guitar tone is just right, and the rhythm section delivers constant shots to the kidneys. For the most part, each vocalist delivers. I'm not the biggest fan of Slipknot, but Corey Taylor's 'Room 13' is incredible. Other highlights? 'American Waste' w/ Neil from Clutch, 'Nervous Breakdown' w/ original Flag singer Keith Morris, 'Six Pack' by Mike Patton, 'Jealous Again' by Nick Oliveri, and Henry's look back on 'My War.' Hank III absoultely destroys 'No Values' and Lemmy's 'Thirsty & Miserable' sounds better than the original.This album is required listening for any fan of the Flag and would honestly be a nice introduction to the band, as well. True... Greg Ginn is absent... but his songs are here in full force. Educate yourself on this case and RISE ABOVE!"
English as a second language for Americans
Timothy K. Schwader | Austin, TX United States | 05/30/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"(...) The WM3 were convicted of the crimes. This is true. They were convicted based on hearsay and circumstantial evidence, not to mention a healthy dose of christian (ugh) fundamentalism. The truth is out there, but the ignorant sit in their churches and ignore it because it is easier to do.This a compact disc full of MUSIC, however, and that is the real point here. You can't get much better than this with Henry Rollins being joined by Black Flag alums like Chuck Dukowski and Keith Morris, as well as Hank Williams III (the best REAL country musician working today), Lemmy from Motorhead, Exene from X, Ryan Adams, Tom from Slayer, Nick from Mondo Generator, and plenty more. The music is all provided by Mother Superior, a terriffic caustic rock trio with plenty of CDs of their own out there. They are best known as the Rollins Band, mach II, of course. They became his backing band a few years ago, although this is no longer the case. Henry is set to reveal a new band soon. They tear it up here, and the guitar sound is nearly perfect since the Dan Armstrong guitar donated to the cause was used for the recording, getting close to that classic Greg Ginn sound.Black Flag are one of the ten most important bands in the history of music, and these songs should not be missed. Check this disc out, then check out some of the original releases for a real lesson in rock and roll.And check out the Paradise Lost films for a lesson in how easily the US court system can break down when it is allowed to be placed in the hands of ignorant rednecks who don't understand that church and state are required BY LAW to remain separate and distinct.If the victims in this case were my family, I would want the real killer or killers to be found. I would not want to find the nearest scapegoat and ruin that person (or in this case persons) life. Punishing scapegoats is what the nazis did, isn't it?"
A testament to the surviving power of music
Conrad | 12/24/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I had never heard of the west memphis three case until this benifit CD came out. It wasn't until recently that I bought the CD, and ever since I've purchased it, I've been blown away by the intensity and quality. I think it's a testament to the still surviving power of music, and especially Black Flag style punk rock that so much talent has come together for such a controversial but noble cause. If you're a Black Flag, Rollins Band, Henry Rollins, etc., fan, buy this CD. If you're not a rock fan, at least check out the case, or at least how it's laid out by the CD insert. Without voices like Rollins, there will never be hope for justice in America."