The Allmusic review by Thom Jurek awarded the album 4½ stars, and states, "Black Rock is among Blood's strongest records. As tough as Are You Glad to Be in America? and the Music Revelation Ensemble's No Wave, yet more accessible than either. This is a fitting introduction to Blood Ulmer's unique, knotty, and truly original guitar and composition style. Black Rock is all funk, rock, jazz, and punk, indivisible and under a one world groove".
Trouser Press described both Black Rock and the previous Free Lancing as "technical masterpieces, making up in precision what they lack in emotion (as compared to Are You Glad to Be in America?). Working to expand his audience, Ulmer concentrates more on electric guitar flash, and actual melodies can be discerned from the improvised song structures (improvisation being one of the keys to harmolodics)."