ALBUM REVIEW: Agnostic Front – Get Loud! (Nuclear Blast Records)

Formed in New York City in 1980, it’s fair to call Agnostic Front the Godfathers of NYC hardcore, which just happened to be the title of a recent documentary about the band. This is their 12th studio album, and I’m pleased to report they’re firing on all cylinders.

Like fellow old school NYHC luminaries Sick Of It All, they’ve never made a bad record, even when they introduced elements of crossover thrash to their original skinhead-influenced punk sound.

Their previous album, 2015’s The American Dream Died, was the first to feature new lead guitarist Craig Silverman, who is also in Slapshot. He continues on this album, and some of his shredding on this release is superb as they continue to meld the genres.

Frontman Roger Miret and founding guitarist Vinnie Stigma, now handling rhythm, remain the backbone of the band, complemented by bassist Mike Gallo, who’s got nearly 20 years’ service under his belt, and drummer Pokey Mo, who’s been with AF for a decade now.

Agnostic Front playing at the 2016 Rebellion Festival in Blackpool. Pic: Gary Welford.

It’s clear from opener Spray Painted Walls that this is going to be a classic AF album, full of speed, power and aggression, with huge riffs blended with shredding-style guitar and fast percussive beats.

Anti-Social, clocking in at just over a minute, shows AF have few equals when it comes to old school hardcore. It’s a furious blast of anger, with Miret imploring “just leave me alone!”, while Urban Decay warns of the dangers of violence when people have nothing.

Title track Get Loud! is a swaggering slab of hardcore with huge riffs, bludgeoning drums, and a chorus urging Iit’s time to change, it’s time to get back your life right now, it’s time to get up, it’s time to get loud!”

Conquer And Divide addresses the way the government wants to rule, while I Remember celebrates Miret and Stigma’s friendship, all the way back to their first meeting as kids.

There’s more crossover thrash in songs like Dead Silence, while In My Blood celebrates the hardcore scene, and the closing Devastated makes you want to listen to the whole glorious noise all over again.

Agnostic Front are not for the faint-hearted, but they’re for real, and this album is as good as ever. 8/10.

Gary Welford owner