In March 1984, Black Flag put out "My War". After a long dispute with their record label that prevented them from releasing music, they had plenty stored up. Over the next 18 months, they put out four studio full-lengths, one live album, and one EP. Before they broke up in 1986, they changed the face of not only punk, but also metal. The first half of My War bridged early (terse, punky) and later (torturous, cathartic) Black Flag. Song lengths rose past three minutes, as Greg Ginn's guitar got skronkier, but the band could still write singalongs. The biggest one was the title track. Henry Rollins' vocals obliterate 99% of what passes for "punk" now. He'd jump out the speakers and throttle you if he could. Given such misanthropy, it?s no surprise that black metal would take on Black Flag. Kult ov Azazel recently gave "My War" a nasty, blackened spin. You can hear it here. The other half was the dealmaker/breaker. Sick and slow, its three dirges repelled critics but attracted countless converts. Googling "my war" "side b" influence yields hundreds of hits. It's a touchstone for Scott Kelly of Neurosis. Brian Patton of Eyehategod/Soilent Green told: "We were just into slower bands, like the Melvins and side two of My War "downtuned, noisy crap". Those three songs weren't metal per se. Ginn spent too much time fighting Rollins' vocals with noodly solos. Bill Stevenson was no metal drummer. But the weight was there. Sludge had entered the world : howling, unwanted, and nursing a permanent grudge.