Various Rise Above

Not just another tribute album, Rise Above features 24 Black Flag songs as performed by the current Rollins Band, with different vocalists on most of the songs. The list of names here is jaw-dropping — from Slayer's Tom Araya to Clutch's Neil Fallon, Ryan Adams to Ice-T, the Rancid guys to Mike Patton, and project coordinator Henry Rollins himself, who lays down a number of vocal tracks. Some of the songs aren't as impressive as the names would suggest (Patton, Dean Ween, Casey Chaos), while some are untouchable (Araya, Ice-T, Adams' solo cut). The backing band is topnotch, as they have been through the past couple Rollins Band releases, and the production is great, so Rise Above is a fun chance to explore some of those caustic classics in a new light. Still, this is not much more than a one-listener for all except the extreme Flagheads out there. But, more importantly, the album is a benefit for the West Memphis Three; check out www.wm3.org for more details and pick up Rise Above to support this important struggle. (Sanctuary)