This is likely where the beginning of Grunge came about. Although Black Flag was a very popular hardcore punk band in the early 1980s, this album changed things quite a bit from them. They adopted a slower yet more interesting sound, influenced heavily by Black Sabbath. Is it still worth a listen? Let’s find out.
We begin with the title track, My War. It has heavy guitars and drums to boot, before launching into a proto Kurt Cobain rocker. It’s likely about self-loathing and mental illness, but hey, it is an awesome listen. Some great drum work is here as well. It’s close to the bone for some but is a great start to the album, and a great song. The repeated lyric, “You’re one of them!” is confusing, yet chilling.
Next is Can’t Decide, which is a slow starter before transitioning into another very good song. It’s more laidback than the previous song but still sounds interesting enough and solid. Discordant guitar parts are here as well, making it a captivating listen. The guitar riff is excellent. Is this an unofficial concept album? Perhaps it is.
Beat My Head Against The Wall does what it says. It’s about being frustrated with life and trying to cope with the difficulties that one has in life. It’s very heavy, musically and lyrically.
I Love You is a twisted tale of love. Singer Henry Rollins’s voice suits the music perfectly, and he delivers on this album in a strange, almost shouting fashion. The rest of the band is just as good. This song is a testament to crazy mental behaviour. Good stuff.
Next is Forever Time. It goes bang, straight into it. It’s a very good listen. More of a jam based song than anything, but still listenable. The guitar solo is frenetic and not beautiful at all, but it is not meant to be whatsoever. The fade-out is good.
After that, we come to The Swinging Man. This song is a good mesh of guitars and drums, with Henry Rollins screaming about swinger parties? Whatever that maybe, the song is enjoyable and listenable. It’s a good and solid, rather humourous piece.
Nothing Left Inside starts off with a brilliant drum part, before going into another proto Grunge tune. The guitars here are super sludgy, but that is how it is supposed to be. It sounds rather dramatic. A listenable, although a slow effort. Some great, almost whammy bar parts are in the guitar solo.
Three Nights has a super Black Sabbath sort of intro, with the pounding drum beat. A plucked bass guitar part comes in slowly, and then the sludgy guitars come in again. The subject matter is dark and intense. Henry Rollins perfected screaming at the top of one’s voice on this album. Once again, this could have been cut down lengthwise, but it is a good listen regardless.
The last song on the album is Scream, with the Black Sabbath-like intro again. Bass parts are plucked before the song gradually evolves from its subtle beginning. This is likely another song about mental illness based issues. It has some wicked screaming in it, as you’d expect from the song title.
In short, this album is actually very decent. It is not Black Flag’s best album, nor the best of its kind. However, it is still very listenable. If you want an album that explains the evolution of rock music into grunge, this is your album.