Review Summary: One of the most genuinely hateful releases you've heard in a while.1 of 1 thought this review was well written
A lot of bands nowadays come across as contrived when trying to write aggressive music. Agitator succeeds where they fail, simply because they do not give the impression that they are "trying" at all. The Boyertown, PA quartet rips through ten songs of anti-drug, anti-promiscuous sex, and anti-anything-that-could-be-perceived-as-positive hardcore all without breaking a sweat.
The album opens with a metallic riff that pummels you from the get-go. The first thing the listener is exposed to is a thrash-y guitar tone similar to the one found on Merauder's "Master Killer." At this point, you're already too busy car-moshing or office-moshing or walk-moshing to care about anything else on the album; fortunately, everything else delivers. The vocals are some of the most rage-induced, scathing roars of any hardcore band going today. The drumming is straightforward but fits the overall tone of the album fantastically. The guitar work is reminiscent of Slayer and even includes a vicious tremolo riff at the opening of "Natural Selection."
The album is chugging along at a nice, thrash-tastic pace, when... what's this? An overdriven, Southern rock riff? "Shelter," while a change of pace from the rest of the first half of the album, is also one of the best tracks. Not only is the guitar work interesting and catchy, but the lyrics are gripping enough to make you stop your moshing and (for those of a weaker constitution) weep. The lyrics detail two traumatic childhood events the vocalist experienced in a blunt yet easily-empathizable manner; incidentally, they both involve his father and alcohol. The delivery leaves you reeling, but the album remorselessly moves on to five more songs of blistering metallic hardcore re-recorded from their 2009 Demo.
Agitator's "Enter Vice Lords" is an emotional assault encompassing anger, disgust, hatred and a callous contempt for alcohol and drug users. Even if you do not agree with their hellbent representation of straight edge, this is an album that can be enjoyed for its delivery of aggressive metallic hardcore the way it should be. Only two things keep it from being a 5: "Enter Vice Lords" lacks serious replay value as the music is fairly one-dimensional, and the lyrical content can be construed as a bit immature at times. Overall, this is a fantastic album that anyone interested in punk, hardcore or metal should check out.