Thursday, December 1, 2011

Black Face-I Want to Kill You/Monster; 7" vinyl, Hydra Head Records 2011

Billed as a revisiting of songs that Chuck Dukowski wrote for early 1980's Black Flag, only to have been rejected, Black Face has had Disaster Amnesiac intrigued since my good pal Max Sidman told me about them in September. Needless to say, I put a pre-order in at the earliest possible opportunity. It has arrived. I have listened.
Opener I Want to Kill You is a fast paced, stop/start Hardcore rant, featuring excellent, throaty declamations from singer Eugene Robinson. The lyrics are definitely evocative of the Creepy Crawl/My War paranoid vibes that characterised the early 1980's iterations of the Flag. Musically, it reminds Disaster Amnesiac more of SWA than Black Flag, owing to its bass-driven, stuttering feel and more blatantly psych-colored guitar sound from Milo Gonzalez. It seems as though it's very difficult to approximate the physical weight of Ginn's riffing, especially of that within Black Flag.  Drummer Tom Dubrov does a nice job of keeping the quick pace of the song flowing without ever resorting to the standard Hardcore oom-pah-pah blast beat approach.
On the flip side, Monster seems to tell a tale of self loathing and the desired love interest of him doing that self loathing. This song is closer to the then-emerging musical aesthetic of  Black Flag ("let the rhythm ooze"), again with bass-led and psych-fueled sounds from the strings, and heavy rhythmic trudge from the drums. Robinson sounds downright scary on this one. Although he seems to have checked his more manic vocal approach with Oxbow for a more "normal" one within Black Face, it still sounds unsettling as he comes a-courtin'.
This 7" is an impressive opening salvo from what will obviously be a great band. I look forward to seeing Black Face live! 

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