The Black Flag – Alternative Music & Culture Mon, 29 Jan 2018 20:05:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Review: Waves by Vulgate Mon, 01 Jun 2015 18:54:53 +0000 We’ve been hot on everything the Thrash Metallers from Hastings have been doing recently and with good reason, they represent an uprising of fresh talent working hard to get their music to the forefront in a society where talent is measured by the vastness of your social media following rather than the quality of the sound being produced. In their album Waves we see how a group of lads from a small seaside town can smash out a master piece with little more than passion and a hardcore following in front of the stage not just on Twitter.

Waves has been hard work, that the sense you get when you talk to Ben Taylor about how the album came to be. There’s an overwhelming sense of pride in a creation that has far surpassed any expectations of those waiting for that opening riff. It’s been a labour of love and usually they are the best ones, the trials and hardships of releasing such an iconic album would be too much for some, but when you’re doing what you love, and doing that with your mates, then you can achieve anything, that’s how the best bands started, and that’s what these guys are doing.

If you’ve heard any of their previous releases or even been lucky enough to see the guys live then you’ll be glad to hear that Waves maintains that relentless onslaught started on the EP. We got a taste of how good it was going to be when Vulgate released the first single from the album, The One Who Knocks, and the rest of the album matches this great track in both ferocity and quality, it’s loud and angry, a lightning-paced orgy of beautiful riffs and hellishly powerful drum lines. The vocals produced by William Brown can only be described as demonic in their intensity, spitting each lyric with passionate fury into the mic like the fallen himself declaring the end of days. It’s impossible not to get caught up in the raw emotion of an album that flows seamlessly from track to track with no rest bite or chance to recover, continuously hammering at your skull like a deranged killer. Pushed for a favourite, I think Waters of Judgement, takes my trophy with the single being a very close second place, but that’s a tough call, because each track is faultless in it’s delivery and solid as vegetarian shit.

Waves, to me, represents something more than just one bands talent etched onto a shiny disc, it’s a throw back to the Thrash bands of yesterday, before music videos, and therapy sessions, and rehab, before people felt the need to apologise or worry about offending the immigrant next door. This is an album that says Fuck You to anyone who doesn’t like it, it makes no apologise for what it is, and maintains from start to finish the integrity that is lacking in so many bands today. This, ship mates, is the Bronson of Thrash metal, kicking and fighting it’s way through a myriad of thoughtless cunts to shine bright as the celebrity it was always intended to be, bare knuckles and bloody.

Waves is out now on CD or download from BandCamp, so get on over to FaceBook and tells these guys how much you love what they do and make sure you keep and eye on news for upcoming tours.



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Featured Suicide Girl: Annalee Suicide Mon, 11 May 2015 08:32:30 +0000 We’ve teamed up with to give our readers a featured Suicide Girl. Our featured girl today is Annalee Suicide. To see more of Annalee Suicide check out

Annalee Suicide09

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REVIEW: A Punk Rock Re-emergence: The Rezillos release new album, ZERO Wed, 06 May 2015 15:39:05 +0000 The long-awaited return of Edinburgh-born The Rezillos is finally upon us with the release of ZERO on Metropolis Records. For those of you who haven’t heard, this is the band of rockers’ second album, emerging a cheeky 37 years after their debut, Can’t Stand The Rezillos (now considered to be a classic album from the first wave of British punk). Do they have your attention yet? On listening to their music for five minutes, they will – their music has a loud, cool and utterly unique vibrancy to it which defies any possibility of being ignored. More than this, ZERO has managed to to create the perfect synergy between old and new: it will not fail old fans’ expectations, who remember the band as outlandish punk rockers with little to be shy about, and will enthrall the new with their undeniable energy.

Yes – The Rezillos are a force to be reckoned with.

You might have had an inkling of their re-emergence already, following the band’s return to gigging in support of the release – they toured with The Stranglers last month, taking in 19 dates (if you missed it, don’t kick yourself – all hardcore fans can expect more dates in America throughout the rest of the year. That’s your summer holiday planned…). I can only imagine what power they’d wrangle onstage as ZERO alone has an epic level of presence to it – it’s not music that you can easily sink into the background, and you certainly feel upon listening to it that they might be in the room with you. Or, perhaps a room in the past, for the echoing mishmash of Blondie and The Cramps which prevails throughout implies that The Rezillos have retained a nostalgic attitude within the album whilst simultaneously engaging with today’s angsty youngsters.

ZERO kicks off with “Groovy Room”, a heavy intro which seals the theme for much of the rest of the album. Both frontliners are strong – Eugene Reynolds and Fay Fife both possessing gritty, punchy tones – in particular, you can detect Fife’s Debbie Harry-like influence within the band, her voice often soaring above the punkish choruses and riffs. This is particularly prominent in “Life’s a Bitch”, the third track on the album, which sweetly reminds us that “life’s a bitch, then you die” – a punk-agro message if ever there was one.

The beats, riffs and tempo are, too, all powerful – importantly, the drumming isn’t submerged to the background of any of the tracks, as it often seems to be with many other bands. You can hear the guitars and the drums as clearly as each other, the combination of the two – and, notably, the beating rhythm of the former – helping to keep the listener immersed.


The band takes a diversion from the traditional with the album’s namesake track, “ZERO”, unarguably the most bizarre track out of the twelve (track eight). Both singers speak robotically into the mic (Fife assuring eerily that “although you say you’re zero/to me you’re still a hero”) whilst the guitars and drums keep up a thudding thrum, with occasional “alien-like” twangs and spits occurring throughout. I kind of feel like this song should be played in a film in which the main protagonist finds themselves in some sort of weird danger, perhaps after getting roaringly drunk and fainting in an alley, Sin City style. It’s pretty cool.

Click here to view the embedded video.

The creative punk-style resumes thereafter, particularly noticeable in another favourite, track eleven – “Spike Heel Assassin” (not only my favourite because of its obviously awesome name). This track in particular keeps you on your toes, changing consistently between verses, bridges and the chorus, adding occasional unexpected bars of music. Reynolds also deliciously rolls his “R’s” in this song, conjuring the image of a punkier Adam Ant chewing down the mic. Mmm.

The album has already received a lot of coverage from many reputable platforms, such as Record Collector, Uncut, Mojo, Artrocker and Trebuchet. Well-deserved, in my opinion. In fact, it seems poignant to cite this quote as worthy explanation as to why – “[when listening to ZERO the] listener [is] reminded of [The Rezillos] ability to pick up the corpse of Sixties pop culture and re-animate it in a blaze of dayglo brilliance”.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Words: Laura Demaude

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INTERVIEW: The Black Flag Meets Ella Morgan Thu, 09 Apr 2015 16:00:53 +0000 The name Ella Morgan should be familiar to anyone involved in the Kent music scene. The singer/songwriter originally from New Zealand but now living in Canterbury has a vocal range that could stop traffic, a natural affinity for the guitar and an incredible flair for poetic vocals. As well as playing a slew of regular gigs in venues in and around Kent and the South East, you can usually find her busking to lucky audiences in her adopted town of Canterbury. We managed to catch up with Ella to find out what makes this future Grunge starlet tick….

The Black Flag: Tell us about your early life. What was the earliest music you remember listening to?

Ella Morgan: I was born in Auckland, New Zealand to an artist and a filmmaker. My mum raised me mainly on her own. I was a bit of an awkward kid who liked my friends’ parents better than most of my friends, and found myself most happy drawing pictures of ninja cat girls and other alter egos.

My home would often be filled with Soul music or Reggae, some of the artists being Ella Fitzgerald (who I was probably named after), Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, Louie Armstrong and Bob Marley. And David Bowie! I still love all of this music now.


TBF: You moved to Canterbury from New Zealand when you were quite young, why was this and has it affected your music career?

Ella: I moved with my mum when I was 16. I’ve always had more family in London than New Zealand, like my half-siblings and cousins, but also my dad, who was very poorly. When my mum was offered a Job teaching film at Kent University, we packed up and left as soon as I’d finished my year 11 exams and moved to Canterbury. I’m grateful that we moved when we did.

I’m not sure how this has affected my music career yet, as it’s very early days! I think I’m just a passionate fish in a REALLY REALLY big pond now, rather than the tiny pond that is New Zealand. There are millions more people to play to, but so many thousands more people trying to make it as musicians!

I think moving 18,695 kilometres away from home affected my musical content quite a lot though.


TBF: You are an awesome guitarist and vocalist. Have you had any professional training, or are you self-taught?

Ella: Thank you. Well, when I was 12/13, I had some guitar lessons off a girl called Kimbra who lived in my street. She’s actually made it pretty big now as a singer.

After that, I join the Junior Performing Arts Class in school and had some strange choir classes, alongside some after school lessons where I learnt how to play Pantera and Nirvana songs.

When I got laryngitis a couple of years ago, I had some lessons to improve my technique to sound better and avoid strain. They were really helpful.

As for things like using a pick and learning scales, I only started teaching myself that stuff two years ago.

[soundcloud url=”″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]

TBF: Who would you say are your main influences? Musical or otherwise and why?

Ella: I always find this question hard to answer, as my music is so different to most of what I listen to. I think the Soul music I listened to as a child has really influenced the ways I sing, and the grunge and rock music I’ve been into since has influenced the way I play guitar. As for particular artists, I’d say Alice in Chains, Amy Winehouse, Kill it kid and Janis Joplin are the biggest influences for my style right now. One thing I can’t place is where I got the idea to write almost every song like a poem, using metaphors, plays on words, assonance and alliteration and rhyming. I think most of it goes unnoticed but I have a passion for words and want to communicate with intricacy.

Loss, love, lust, longing and life’s little pleasures are my biggest influences for lyrical content.


TBF: What’s your favourite track to perform live and why?

Ella: It depends on the vibe of the venue. I like to throw out a big belter like Man’s World by James Brown or I Just Want to Make Love to You by Etta James, to really bring up the energy of the audience and to show off a little bit. Truly though, I like to sing gentler songs that really hit a nerve with people, like Bang Bang by Nancy Sinatra, or one of my songs, like River of Air, Poison or Pieces.


TBF: You’re quite well known on the Canterbury busking scene. Is that something you enjoy or just a way to make a few quid?

Ella: Busking has been a huge part of my life since I was 14, starting out in ripped jeans and bare feet, doing Nirvana covers and spontaneous improvised original songs about unsuccessful busking. Now I dress up nice, use an amplifier and sell C.D’s.

I really love busking, but it has been a really useful way to make a few quid over the last 7 years. I’ve had a few jobs, and, per hour, busking is way better!

Click here to view the embedded video.

TBF: What are your interests other than music?

Ella: I am interested in loads of other things. I love Art, and going on bike rides. Most of my time is actually spent cracking jokes, drinking with my friends, playing online Scrabble and observing life and the people around me, trying to understand them thoroughly.


TBF: Got any gigs coming up that we should know about?

Ella: My upcoming dates that I know about are Friday 24th of April at Lock17 in Camden Town and 17th of May at The Smack in Whitstable. They usually spring up randomly a couple of weeks beforehand so the best place to stay updated is my Facebook page.


TBF: Are you going to make any festival appearances this year?

Ella: So far all I have booked is a slot at FestivIsle in Thanet on the 19th of June.


TBF: If you could perform with one person living dead, who would it be and why? Ok you can name a full band if you want as that’s a tough one….

Ella: Well I’d have to say either Layne Staley (he’s dead, but fronted Alice in Chains) or Chris Cornell (Alive, Soundgarden’s front man). They’re my favourite singers ever and I’d just want to sit down with guitars and bust out some beautiful melancholic tunes with loads of vocal harmonies and metaphorical lyrics in a darkly lit, intimate venue… But I can only dream about that.


TBF: Our famous last question. Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

Ella: Five years?! I don’t even know what I’m doing in five days!

I could be ambitious and say I’d be in a band playing really awesome music all over the world, but it’s pretty tricky to even get more than one musician in a room at a time, unless that room is a pub and instead of instruments we’re holding beer and cigarettes, so it might take a little longer to sort out that goal!

In five years, I just want to be playing slightly better music and connecting to more people. Whether it’s taking me around the world or if it’s just something I do alongside a crappy minimum wage job or two, either way, I’ll be staying true to myself and doing what I love.

Go give Ella a like at

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Review: Rites of Passage by Tapewyrm Mon, 23 Mar 2015 17:41:56 +0000 Once again we take a walk on the darker side of Industrial with Tapewyrm and soak in the evil delights of his latest self-produced release Rites of Passage.

Tapewyrm is an old friend of the flag, we loved House of Cards so much that we salivated at the thought of a new release from this forerunner of the UK Industrial scene. We haven’t been disappointed either, Rites of Passage offers more of those dark, hammering riffs that chug through your skull like a ghost train thundering through the gates of hell.

Neighbours staying up late listening to soulless pop toilet food? Chuck this on and see the bastards squirm as demons eat their pets. Rites of Passage is as hypnotic in it’s delivery as it is clean in it’s production, true Industrial as it was intended to be without the tweed neo-goth overtones present in so much of todays “Industrial” work. Tapewyrm offers a raw and refreshingly simplistic take on a genre which is over-run with pretentious over-actors, breaking down the layers of production and delivering an album of pure noise that wraps around you like a prickly blanket, it’s pleasing but very uncomfortable all at the same time.

Tapewyrm has to be congratulated on the quality of this release, the breakdown of a record label often leaves the less commercial acts struggling to keep a foothold, but the loss of Juggernaut records has only fuelled this artist to keep on hammering out the fine work. This is testament once again to the durability of UK artists to endure the hardship and carry on being the best at what they do.

If you want a copy of Rites of Passage or any other Tapewyrm release then head over to the BandCamp page. If you want to feature Tapewyrm in your set list then contact him on FaceBook.

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Review: Regression by Theories Mon, 23 Mar 2015 17:19:35 +0000 It’s a gloomy day ashore for the Black Flag crew, perfect for a spot of rape and pillage. As we know every good rape and pillage needs an equally good soundtrack and for that we chose Theories.

Seattle Death/Grind Metal quartet Theories are credited with creating the perfect soundtrack to my day, that’s because I’m an angry guy, with angry guy problems and I pretty much hate everyone I meet. Regression then is the official soundtrack to the movie of my life. When barreling through life, horns up, head down screaming like a madman it’s important to remember perspective, and this album offers a unique perspective on a range of life’s misfortunes. Being Theories first LP offering there’s pressure on the guys to come out swinging and straight off the start line that’s what they do, kicking off in stunning form like a riot the feeling of sheer aggression is almost tangible.


Regression does what it needs to, there’s no fucking around trying to create artistic empathy and scrambling to keep in touch with the nature of the greater genre. It’s just heavy fucking guitars over heavier fucking drums being serenaded to death by an angry voice. That’s what the people want and by christ is that what people get here. That’s not to say there’s no talent in this, there is a lot of talent, everything melts perfectly together to form a wall of emotive sound which smashes straight through you, the collective symphony of four guys who know their trade inside out and love what they do. It’s no surprise either, given the pedigree of bands these guys were members of and the amount of time they’ve spent touring together perfecting these tracks.

I can’t give you a top track from this album, I love each one but for me Hell in Her Eyes wedged itself in my memory and had me tapping the repeat button a few times. In total the album is ten songs which conclude at a touch less than 30 minutes but it will be the most enjoyable 30 minutes of your life once you stick this album on.

Want it? Of course you fucking do! head on over to BandCamp or follow the links from the bands FaceBook page.

And just in case you were in any doubt of just how good these guys are, here’s drummer Joe Axler.

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Review: The One Who Knocks by Vulgate Mon, 23 Mar 2015 17:00:48 +0000 I hate fucking waiting, I’ve never been good at sitting around twiddling my thumbs knowing that something awesome is about to happen, I’m a big kid really. That’s what happened when we spoke to the Vulgate guys and they told us about their new single, I was excited, I was very excited, and now… I have it.

It was like a little birthday present when I finally held that disc in my hand, I rammed that bastard into my CD player like a 40 year old virgin penetrating his first prostitute. A few seconds later and my world was now a happy place to be, The One Who Knocks was ripping it’s way through my speakers like an Alien out of John Hurt. Four-Piece Thrash Metal outfit Vulgate had done it, I liked the last EP, it was awesome, but this blew that straight out of the water. It’s like the last EP was an awesome girlfriend, sexy, loving, and you have some great memories, and this new track is like dating a fucking supermodel, looks good, sounds good and definitely leaves you smiling. The guys drafted in the vocal talents of Infected Dead frontman Lou Ede for this outing and it’s a brilliant addition to an already great line-up.

It’s a speedy opening with some quick guitars slapped about by a machine gun drum line and then that impressive growl spitting out the “Breaking Bad” inspired lyrics. It all flows effortlessly into a a mix that is seamlessly layered together to form a mighty sound. It’s easy to forget that this is just a little band from Hastings, four guys who get together to play music they love and it sounds like a production you’d expect from a big label. This track was recorded at Yellow Fish Studios and produced by Daniel Crook, a studio which has hosted some massive names in the music world. The combination of great writing, some slick production and an inherent love for the music they play all comes together to make The One Who Knocks a power house of a release this year, the icing on the cake for a young band who pour heart and soul into every gig and have a huge following to prove it.

If The One Who Knocks is this good, and trust me ship mates when I tell you that it really is, then now I have a new waiting game. The long wait for the full album, Waves, which we can expect to grace us fairly soon after the official single release of this track. I urge you to head on over to the Vulgate BandCamp page and have a listen to this, you can pre-order the single, which is released on 26th March, and get yourself a T-Shirt to go with your shiny new disc.

Head on over to FaceBook to let the band know what you think of the track once it’s released and to find out where you can see the guys play live.

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36 CRAZYFISTS PREMIERE VIDEO FOR “SWING THE NOOSE” Wed, 18 Mar 2015 12:20:05 +0000 Alaskan rockers 36 Crazyfists have revealed the video for ‘Swing the Noose’

This song lives on the brand new album Time and Trauma, which is 36 Crazyfists’ Spinefarm Records debut. Upon release, the band enjoyed the best chart numbers of its career, as Time and Trauma bested the first week performance of its predecessor, which came out back in 2010.

Following their recent extensive run of UK tour dates, 36 Crazyfists will continue out on the road, supporting the album with headline shows all over the US.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Time and Trauma is out now via Spinefarm Records.



“Time And Trauma, then, is not only 36 Crazyfists best record since ‘04’s A Snow Capped Romance, it’s their best record, period. KKKKK” – Kerrang!

“Where this album succeeds is in finding that sweet spot between pummelling impact and melodic restraint.” – Rock Sound

“A collection of songs that will make fans very happy to have them back” – Metal Hammer

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Review: Argonautica by Sacred Blood Tue, 17 Mar 2015 16:18:41 +0000 It’s been a busy few weeks for the team here at the Flag so in order to relieve some stress we ordered a hair transplant, squeezed in to our old leather pants and went horns up for the new release from Sacred Blood, Argonautica!!

If you haven’t heard of Sacred Blood then by the gods you should be condemned to an eternity of suffering at Hades hands because these Greek Power-Metal Gods have thrown down against the big boys with every release so far. The previous Album, Alexandros, smashed through your ears like a magic-hammer wielding warrior searching for a glorious death. They didn’t hold back with this release either, using their talents to drum up an atmosphere more exciting than any history class you could find yourself in, in every song you get a real sense of the battle being waged, Polydeykis’s impressive guitar skills likened to that of a swordsman sweeping through a battlefield.


You may have noticed I’ve been making some obvious references to old warriors and greek gods etc. This is because Sacred Blood use these very story lines to create themes for their albums, in this case the story of Jason and The Argonauts searching for the Golden Fleece. Now, if you’re expecting a word by word recreation of the original story don’t hope too hard, the theme is merely a basis for the story and the elements are made up of some truly epic tracks that use both modern and folk instruments to create a backdrop that slams, balls deep, into your skull like a Greek Emperor buggering a stable boy.

Sacred Blood do an excellent job of delivering a stunning performance that leaves you gripped from track to track, it’s hard to pick out a favourite track because of the nature of the recordings but you’d have to look hard to find a bad one. Sacred Blood may not have Luca Turilli’s flare for the dramatic and whether you think that is a bad thing or not it might hinder their progression through the ranks of Epic Metal’s elitist heights. They are definitely doing the right things at the moment, hitting those high notes and telling a compelling story with a catchy melody, we certainly liked it and you will too when it’s released to the public on 13th April 2015.

If you want to have a listen head of to the Pitch Black Records website and have a listen. In the mean time keep up to date with all things Sacred Blood on their website or on the mighty Book of Face.


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ELECTRIC RIVER on tour with Stiff Little Fingers this week Thu, 05 Mar 2015 13:58:44 +0000 Nominated for 3 Pure Rawk Awards

Special EP only available on SLF tour

Kent rocker’s ELECTRIC RIVER head out as guest’s on Stiff Little Fingers  ‘No Going Back’ U.K tour this Friday.

The band have now slimmed down to a 3 piece and are also nominated for 3 gong’s at this Friday’s Pure Rawk Awards – Best Band, Best Guitarist (Will Whisson) and Best Album-‘The Faith And Patience’.

Electric River are releasing a special tour E.P, ‘Besides The Faith And Patience’ of non album track’s that will be available on the tour.

And finally, Electric River will announce their first European tour and U.K festival dates shortly. Keep The Engine Burning…


06/03/15    02 Academy – Bournemouth

07/03/15    02 Academy – Bristol

08/03/15    Solus – Cardiff Uni

09/03/15    Rough Trade Records – Nottingham-Free Show (E.R only)

10/03/15    Waterfront – Norwich

17/03/15    Barrowlands – Glasgow

18/03/15    02 Academy – Leeds

20/03/15    Wulfrun Hall – Wolverhampton

21/03/15    The Assembly – Leamington Spa

22/03/15    Junction – Cambridge

24/03/15    Phoenix – Exeter

25/03/15    02 Academy – Oxford

26/03/15    The Forum – London

27/03/15    The Roadmender – Northampton

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