Home Read Classic Album Review: Various Artists | Rise Above

Classic Album Review: Various Artists | Rise Above

Henry Rollins and an all-star cast remake Black Flag anthems to benefit the WM3.

This came out in 2002 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


Henry Rollins does not screw around. So when the ex-Black Flag singer wanted to help the West Memphis Three — a trio of Tennessee teens many feel were wrongfully convicted of murder — he put his money where his mouth is. And vice versa.

Rollins is the driving force behind the incredible Rise Above, a combination Black Flag tribute album and WM3 benefit disc whose awesome lineup and intense commitment make other discs of this ilk look like the cobbled-together knockoffs they are. Utilizing his formidable backing trio Mother Superior as a house band, Henry enlists a superb slate of outlaws and icons to deliver a powerhouse set of two dozen L.A. punk classics. Iggy Pop sneers Fix Me, Hank III screeches No Values, Mike Patton cuts loose on Six Pack, Ice-T pulls the trigger on Police Story, Slayer’s Tom Araya screams for Revenge, Ryan Adams has a mellow Nervous Breakdown and Lemmy makes you wonder how anybody else in the world could even be allowed to sing Thirsty And Miserable. Best of all, though, Rollins himself steps up to the mic, urgently ripping through primo Flag fare like Rise Above, Wasted, TV Party, Slip It In, Black Coffee and My War for the first time in more than a decade, often with the help of old cronies like Chuck Dukowski, Kira Roessler and Exene Cervenka. In a word: Phenomenal. In another word: Essential.