The record begins with the title track, “Slip It In” that is a rapid-fire machine-gun of ripping bass from Kira Roessler and guitar work from Greg Ginn with a screeching Henry Rollins on vocals. Bill Stevenson covers the percussive aspect and is able to create and sculpt some rage behind Slip It In. Through this rumbling bass line that opens the album, Black Flag is immediately a force of nature that becomes both punk in style, but more intricate with instrumentation. Similar to how their record My War was able to form a muscular front and grind down to a halt with the last three tracks, on Slip It In, the album has diversity within the realm of sound.
Many of the tracks on Slip It In follow a plethora of styles that were able to break the action of the record up to more progressive bounces. Tracks like “Rat’s Eyes” are a shuffle and jump into sporadic waters that bust and flex with quarter-note punches. It is one of the simpler tracks present but determines a nice transition into “Obliteration” and “The Bars” which is one of the best tracks coming from Black Flag in a career standpoint. With a familiar bassline and percussive duet to begin “The Bars,” the real beauty of Black Flag comes to the delivery. The guitar from Ginn is just magnificent and while still dirty, is a technical push in the right direction while Rollins is able to shout into this void, almost helpless as he cannot save himself from his own reflection.
He describes, “Every time I see, I got my hands wrapped around the bars. I can’t shut off my mind and now I’ve waited, my hands are wrapped around the bars… My mind hates my body, my body hates my soul. I close my eyes and fight inside my own black hole.” It is poetic, but not entirely removed from the gritted teeth and aggressive knuckles that Black Flag adopts so well. Where Slip It In is able to differentiate itself, is in the melodic standouts that act as transitional periods for Black Flag that sail on rough foundational waters, towards forceful winds.
When the end finally releases the listener from Black Flag’s grasp, there is this Stockholm syndrome to immediately run back into their arms. They may be the aggressor in most situations and capture some hellish burning that lurks inside society, but Black Flag is a great mirror to stare into as emotions drown out the rooms.