Agnostic Front – “Get Loud” (Nuclear Blast)
Battle Helm Rating
Back in 1986, Agnostic Front released “Cause For Alarm”, a ground breaking hardcore album that saw one of New York City’s up and coming bands take in more metallic influences. Some 33 years on and Agnostic Front, still with Roger Miret and Vinnie Stigma, are now cemented into the New York sidewalk as godfathers of punk, although with little desire to retire! Indeed, this 12th album is just as fierce and aggressive as I remember them with one noticeable difference – that initial dabble into the street punk formula has been crafted over the decades into a perfected sound with an undoubted hardcore root driving its molten aggression, but equally aspects of metal and punk rock adding their finesse to make “Get Loud” a formidable release, and definitely one of the best hardcore albums this year. The composing is simply incredible, taking in all the socio political angst of the world and rolling it into gripping, rhyming lyrics catapulted into your conscience (not to mention your consciousness!) as the incredible music takes hold of you through equally catchy riffs, tons of memorable licks and huge hooks stomping and kicking you all the way through the 14 deadly songs. Opening with ‘Spray Painted Walls’, the intelligent use of tempo changes and subtle differing styles drawn from the band’s career deliver the knock out by instantly grabbing your hapless soul as Miret’s rapid fire punk vocals shred into you. Drummer Pokey Mo is nothing short of fearsome, not just in his obvious power but equally his impressive precision as he hammers in on ‘Dead Silence’ as guitarists Stigma and Craig Silverman tear and shred you through their aggressive but jaw droppingly catchy work before the classic shouted out chorus does its work brilliantly. On ‘Snitches Get Stitches’ the mix of street violence and rhyming hardcore lyrics is unbelievable, and when the revving riffs and hard back beat get going into a groove of their own, you cannot deny why this band is so legendary. Equally, ‘Isolated’ is very reminiscent of “Cause For Alarm” itself, but again polished oh so well with a skilful mix of fast and slow tempos employing heavier guitars and some very cool melodies lacing them tastefully, not forgetting the perfectly timed shout outs and Miret’s emotionally charged vocals. By all accounts an incredible album with some truly amazing songs, the old school punk of ‘I Remember’ tipped the scale by bringing back all the memories through its thoughtful lyrics along with an old school ‘wailing wall’ chorus – awesome! Agnostic Front are masters at what they do and here they challenge all comers to take on the granddaddy’s of NYHC.