Agnostic front, known by some as the founders of the NYC Hardcore scene back in the late 70's, early 80's are still going all out today, with their new release set to hit shops late 2004. On this album, they still stick to the tried and tested full on hardcore, lightning fast bursts of music approach, and pull it of really well, even managing to get a single/video out.
As you first put this CD in, probably after hearing some more agnostic front, or maybe the single 'riot, riot, upstart,' u hear some sirens. I was like 'ok...' but then the first brutally fast track 'Police State' comes in, and Roger Miret’s surprisingly deep, loud voice breaks in with 'NEW YORK POLICE STATE, NEW YORK POLICE STATE!' At first I didn’t like this, but after a few listens you realise a lot this album is equally as speedy and short as the opener, and equally as good. You get the pick of the hardcore punk bunch on this album, with tracks such as 'Riot, Riot , Upstart!,' 'Sit and Watch' and 'Trust.' This is about as 'hardcore' as punk gets, with having metal tinges to it. It contains some great drumming, bassing and guitaring (speelcheck" lol), which show that these guys are still talented, even if they make simple music. With solos such as the ones on 'Riot, Riot, Upstart!' and 'Frustration,' being a great slice of guitar riffing.
A lot of this album is based around Miret's voice and Stigma's crunching, stupidly fast rhythm work. Although a lot of it is based around the same, intro, verse, chorus, verse, solo, chorus formula, its very hard to get bored of these songs, alot of them clocking in under 1:30. Drums get repetetive after the first few tracks (as with most punk albums), but some of Colleti's fill work is great. Bass on 'Trust' is extremely cool, and, although you cant hear a lot of his work on the CD, live the bass is amazing, and you wonder how he can jump around so much, sing, and still play his bass lines perfectly.
Vocals and lyrics are great. Miret, especially live, is a very scary man, very well built and musically, you know this guy works out too much, and his brutal shouting is enough to frighten anyone! Lyrically, it’s a lot about unity and injustice, but tracks such as 'Sickness' and 'Rockstar' show a more original flare in his writing.
One last thing I’d like to mention about this is the 'gang' backing vocals. Which are great. Very, very great. In the booklet (which I have misplaced...) they list over 20 people who contributed shouts on this album, even Rancid singer Lars Frederickson, who shouts 'STIGMA!' just before Vinnie's solo on 'Riot, Riot, Upstart.' They have my favourite. OI! and shouts, and if you like music with a lot of shouting energy, check this out. (On 'Its Time' Miret's wife even contribute vocals through out the song!)
Overall, a great burst of hardcore goodness. These 17 tracks clock in at just under 30 minutes, each track lasting about 1:30, but the music still remaining great throughout. Although I do enjoy this album a lot, it is definitely not Agnostic Fronts best, and is not as good as Dead Yuppies in general, or any of their more 'core earlier releases. The music and vocal style can sometimes get boring, and I think the decision to include 17 tracks was a bit of a mistake, so don’t buy this album if you are not familiar with agnostic front already. That said, these guys live are par with Pro-Pain for me. The first ever pit I’d went in was at an Agnostic Front gig, and I got killed. They have an amazing amount of energy live, and the music is great.
Riot, Riot, Upstart!
Sit And Watch
Blood, Death And Taxes
Price You Pay
Bullet On Mott. St.