Steven T. (Skeeterlo) from PRNC FREDERCK, MD Reviewed on 5/20/2010...
Classic hardcore punk. Just buy it...I can't see anyone wanting to give it up!
Never Mind the Sex Pistols...
lexo-2 | 03/27/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you've never bought a punk album in your life - well, you must either be very young or extremely old, but either way, you're probably wondering where to start. If you've never heard the Sex Pistols' epic 1977 "Never Mind the Bollocks", you'll only be wondering what that's like, so get that first. Then get this, for the simple reason that Black Flag were a better band.The Flag had been plugging away in southern California since around 1977 or so when their fourth (or was it third?) lead singer Dez Cadena had to abandon the mic because his voice couldn't handle the gruelling touring schedule. They recruited 20-year-old dedicated fan and sometime ice-cream-store manager Henry Rollins to replace him, and the fix was in. This album was recorded within months of Rollins joining, and while he himself loyally claims to prefer the records the band made before his arrival (handly compiled on SST's stonking compilation "The First Four Years"), the rest of us have little doubt that Rollins was the definitive Flag singer, and not just because he lasted longer than anybody else. Rollins became a great singer almost overnight. His voice sounds like the tone of Greg Ginn's guitar - swollen almost to bursting, raw, charging in every direction at once. The songs are short, almost all very fast, and more eloquent and expressive than practically any UK band of the period. (Black Flag blew people off the stage not because they were personally intimidating, although they were, but because they were just better at it than anybody else.) When they're funny, they're very funny, as in the hilarious "TV Party" - when they're not being funny, they're truly frightening ("Depression", "No More", "Rise Above".) The Flag and their numerous alumni went on to make more complex, musically audacious and fascinating albums than this one, but "Damaged" is their straightest-up shot of raw power - allusion intended. It kills. It should be required listening for Berklee students. Whichever way you shake it, it's a great album, and a brilliant record of an unforgettable band hitting its stride. Ten stars. I know you can't give ten stars, but I want to be able to anyway. Make a note, Amazon."
Punk ---old or new--- Does Not Get Better Than This!
K. Brown | Walnut, Ca USA | 09/07/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It seems like yesterday when I picked up the LP that had the sticker reading a record executive's quote: "As a parent, I found this to be an anti-parent record." Being young, that was all the more incentive to pick up the record.
Years later, this album has not aged at all. What's funny is that despite the sticker warning, I found nothing "Anti-Parent" about this album. This is some of the angriest music I have ever heard, and is cathartic for anybody---not just fans of this genre--- in a rotten mood. While geared toward early 80s punks, this is a keen adrenaline rush for the irritable!
Aside from the rawer than raw guitar work, Henry Rollins really makes this album. Whether it's the opening "Rise Above" cries or the short "Spray Paint the Walls," there is something unbridled in Rollins' voice that makes this music an all out celebration of rage. And despite what the TV evangelists said years ago, this album never made me want to go assault my teachers, parents or the Good Humor Man; this is good "venting" music, from whatever walk of life you live in.
And then there is the classic "TV Party," which is one of the funniest punk songs I have ever heard. It's a kick hearing a string of angry odes, followed by a satirical bit in the same key.
There are lots of good punks CDs out there, lots of good Black Flag albums out there, but there is nothing quite like "Damaged.""
Savage, abrasive, blistering, brutal. Not for Blink fans.
MaratsBathing | NY | 06/09/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"(NOTE: If you're not a punk fan at all, this album won't change your mind, so save your time and discontinue reading now. But, if you're interested in punk and you don't have this album yet, READ THIS!!!)As my title suggests, this is one of the most brutal albums of all time. It's brutality isn't measured by its speed (most of the songs are relatively slow compared to say, Minor Threat), but through its sheer POWER. The songs on this album will kick your a$$, no questions asked. This is Black Flag's first album featuring Henry Rollins. While he's not the BEST Black Flag singer (they've had about 4 others), his growling, spitting, and screaming of his words made the Flag so damn ferocious. This reigns as the PERFECT album (with the Germs' M.I.A. at a close 2nd) to show poseurs who like Blink 182, Sum 41, Good Charlotte, etc. and think they're punk rock. The songs are all really hardcore and abrasive, yet you find yourself singing them to yourself all the time. That's part of the genius of the Flag: hardcore as all hell, yet catchy in a way. This goes especially for the "hits": "Six Pack" and "TV Party." There are many other notable songs on Damaged, including "Rise Above" (of course), "Depression", "Thirsty and Miserable", and "Spray Paint." All of the songs are extremely abrasive, yet are very listenable to anyone who likes REAL punk rock. Unfortunately, this album is far from perfect. The album really starts to fall apart during the end and has quite a few stinker songs. Sometimes sheer abrasiveness can't save a bad song. However, it has so many gosh darn punk rock CLASSICS that anyone who's into punk rock or hardcore at all should already own this. It's a staple in any respectable collection of true punk and must be heard to be believed. (ANOTHER NOTE: If you bought Damaged and found it to be too brutal, pick up Black Flag's "First Four Years." It's much easier to get in to, and once you get into it, you'll start to appreciate Damaged more and more)"
They hate us, we hate them
matthewslaughter | Arlington, VA USA | 03/08/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This review will not pit one genre of punk or one historical moment of punk against another, but rather try to elucidate why "Damaged" is such a damn good album. Lyrically, the album focuses predominantly on boredom (think of the "hits" "TV Party" and "Six Pack"), rebellion ("Police Story," "Gimme Gimme Gimme"), alienation ("Depression," "Room 13," "Padded Cell") and poverty ("Thirsty and Miserable," "No More"). But I think the most interesting dynamic on the album is that between Henry Rollins' gut-curdling screams and Greg Ginn's downright abusive guitar playing (particularly on "Thirsty and Miserable," "Depression" and "Life of Pain"). Together, they raise the content imbedded in the lyrics to new levels of aggression. Also, check out the siren-like feedback that opens "Police Story"--it's as brutal as any opening "note" on a punk track since the Ramones' "Chain Saw." Also, the rhythm section of Charles Dukowski and ROBO gives songs like "Gimme Gimme Gimme" and "No More" the impression that they are "epic," rather than the bristling 2 minute songs that they are. "Damaged" represents the culmination of what Black Flag had been working towards in their first four years (check out "The First Four Years" and "Everything Went Black" to see what I'm talking about), and with the lyrical content still dominated by Greg Ginn, Henry Rollins' "spoken-word"isms are kept to a minimum here (which for some is a good thing). It also seems to be the apotheosis of the boredom/rebellion lyrical theme in punk (from the Stooges' debut in 1969 to the Clash's debut in 1977)--this is it! They say things are gonna get better, well all I know is, they don't get much better than "Damaged.""
It's not for everyone, but....
sc_demandred | Irvine, CA USA | 03/01/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Damaged album is one of the most intense pieces of music I've ever listened to. Uncompromising, vitriolic, crushing and thoughtful, Black Flag's first recording featuring Henry Rollins makes today's soft-sounding pop-punks sound like Bing Crosby."Damaged" is all about Greg Ginn's burning riffs blended with the lyrics that denounce social injustice, excess, laziness and every other by-product of taking the easy path. This record is not for everyone. Blink 182 and Green Day fans will probably crumple, whimpering, to the floor through "Rise Above", "Police Story", "Depression" and "Room 13".There are a few bands out there that have the same sound, but few have the relentless ability to stay true to their vision that Black Flag did when recording Damaged."