By on 11 May 2010

It’s almost time for Hellfest, the most kickass of the European mega metal fests and to get ourselves all excited we’re going to be posting blogs and reviews about the bands in store in the run up to the event. Our geeky design guru Darrell even went so far as to print off colour coded schedules for us today, to make sure we don’t miss any of the killer bands on the bill. My highlighter hovering above NY hardcore legends Agnostic Front led me to dig this out of the archives; a never-before published review of two classic albums, recently reissued by Bridge Nine Records, by Graham Ellis.

‘Victim In Pain/United Blood’
25 years after it first smeared the New York punk scene’s artsy nose across its face, the first Agnostic Front album still sounds like the last word in gutter-bound catharsis. Every bit as essential to the evolution of hardcore as Minor Threat or Black Flag, Vinnie Stigma’s scabby-kneed band of thug brothers had no finesse and very little in the way of technical skill, but they meant every last, raging word. As a result, both ‘Victim In Pain’ and the ‘United Blood’ EP that preceded it are exercises in sustained, white knuckle exhilaration, typified by deservedly legendary, short, sharp bursts of aggression and skin-of-their-teeth momentum like ‘Blind Justice’, ‘Your Mistake’ and ‘Traitor’. Given the sweaty-vest parodies that they inadvertently spawned with records like this, it’s close to a miracle that Agnostic Front’s reputation remains unsullied, but then this is an undeniably pure and honest noise: hardcore, from cranium to sole, and as seminal as it gets.


About Miranda Yardley

I'm Miranda. Bite me.

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