January 2, 2012

Song Review: Black Face's "I Want to Kill You"

Seizing the opportunity to capitalize on the recent '80s hardcore revival, founding Black Flag member and bassist Chuck Dukowski has pulled a Keith Morris and assembled himself a supergroup called Black Face. Their logo looks eerily familiar to that of Dukowski's previous band and their material includes tracks written during Black Flag's My War-era that, for whatever reason, didn't make the final cut. 20 years later, we get our first listen of what has been collecting dust inside Chuck's back catalog in the form of Black Face's first 7" single, "I Want to Kill You." As you've probably already assumed, the music represents the attitude and aggressive feel of a track Black Flag would have recorded during the 1980s, but it's the dynamic of Dukowski's new outfit that ensures this is no carbon copy attempt to recreate the past. For one, Oxbow's Eugene Robinson stepping into Henry Rollins' place behind the mic here makes a huge difference. While the two hardcore vets share a primal aggression in their vocal styles, Robinson sounds slightly less restrained and ups the mania in his repetitive outbursts of "I want to kill you!" Rollins always seemed to convey his words more so as a confrontational state of mind, but Robinson's tone is convincing enough here to make you think he may actually act on his violent desires. As for what Black Face sounds like, the SoCal quartet comes off wielding clanky riffs and skittish drums that bounce around freely and unrestricted here on "I Want to Kill You" which Greg Ginn probably wouldn't have green lit during Black Flag's tightly recorded post-Damaged-era days. Perhaps that's the reason Chuck's songs never saw the light until just now, but being able to appreciate the differences between the past and the present makes for Black Face's arrival well-timed.

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