Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Agnostic Front


Background information
Origin
New York City, New York, United States
Genres
Hardcore punk
Crossover thrash
Street punk
Years active
1980–1992
1997–present
Labels
Last Warning, Rat Cage, Combat, Epitaph, Hellcat, Nuclear Blast, I Scream Records
Associated acts
Roger Miret and the Disasters, Madball, 25 ta Life, Cause for Alarm
Website
Official website

Agnostic Front is an American hardcore band that formed in New York City in 1980. The band began playing hardcore punk similar to their contemporaries, and were thrust to the forefront of the burgeoning New York hardcore scene in the mid-1980s with their widely regarded 1984 classic Victim in Pain before evolving to incorporate thrash metal elements into their music. By the late '90s, Agnostic Front had signed with Epitaph Records and adopted a street punk sound before growing into a crossover metallic hardcore hybrid similar to bands like Hatebreed and Madball.

Early

Formed by guitarist Vinnie Stigma (formerly of the Eliminators) in November/December 1980, with Diego on bass and Rob Krekus on drums. Agnostic Front went through a few singers, two of them being John Watson and Jimmy "The Mad Russian", before settling with Roger Miret (former bassist of The Psychos). They soon added Ray Barbieri, aka Raybeez (Warzone), on drums and Adam Moochie on bass. Their debut EP United Blood, released in 1983 on an indie label, has since become a collector's item. At this time, the band consisted entirely of skinheads. Although this would change over time, Agnostic Front would continue to feature skinheads as part of their line-up.


The follow-up, Victim in Pain (1984), is regarded as a seminal New York hardcore release. Dave Jones replaced Ray Barbieri on drums and Rob Kabula on bass. In 1984 Jim "the Kid" Colleti from Justified Violence joined on drums as the band went to tour with The Exploited later that year. The album pushed the band to the forefront of New York's fledgling hardcore scene, which was centered around CBGB's, where they played with bands like The Cro-Mags and Murphy's Law. Reger Miret asserts that all the songs on the album "are totally inspired by the streets of New York and my life and what was going on with my friends It was dangerous. We did what we had to do to survive by any means necessary. It was like a war or a battlefield, and we stood our ground".

1986's Cause for Alarm was a difficult album to record, due to constant line-up changes and personnel problems. Released on Combat Records, it added thrash metal influences. With other bands such as Suicidal Tendencies and Stormtroopers of Death, this album would mark AF's foray into the world of crossover thrash.

With yet another new lineup, the band soon released Liberty and Justice for... in 1987. The album featured stripped down punk with a lack of thrash influences, yet it contained many metal-style guitar solos. It did not sell nearly as well as previous releases. Sometime later, Miret was arrested on drug charges after releasing a live album, and spent his time in prison writing new songs while Stigma and the band toured Europe for the first time. The lyrics written by Miret while incarcerated formed most of 1992's One Voice, which featured members of Madball and Sick of It All. Not long after its release, the band decided to call it quits. Their last show was at CBGB on December 20, 1992; Last Warning, which was also released with United Blood E.P on the end of the release. Vinnie Stigma apparently remarked that he hated Last Warning.

Later

Stigma and Miret reformed Agnostic Front in May 1996 and did a few reunion shows in December 1996, signing to Epitaph Records and recruiting Jimmy Colletti on drums and Rob Kabula, who was playing with Against The Grain at the time, on bass. Their latest venture was titled Something's Gotta Give, although Miret announced in the UK the original title would be Today, Tomorrow, Forever. In 1999 they followed up with Riot, Riot, Upstart. They also won an MTV award for the title track music video. Their comeback albums have sold well and been mostly acclaimed by music critics for their pure hardcore punk/oi! sound. In 2001 they released the album Dead Yuppies. Songs from this album were rarely played live, as the band considered it more a product of Loved and Hated, Jimmy Colletti's side-project bands. In 2002 Miret worked on a side project band, Roger Miret and the Disasters, looking for a sound akin to old school punk rock and Oi!. Also that year, the band appeared in Matthew Barney's film, Cremaster 3 along with Murphy's Law.

Agnostic Front came out in 2005 with Another Voice. The album was regarded mainly as a follow up to One Voice. The album, however, did receive some criticism from fans and the press for apparently changing their music to fit the current wave of 'tough guy' bands. Musically, the album bears resemblance to bands that were heavily influenced by Agnostic Front, such as Hatebreed. Miret's vocals on the album particularly seemed to turn off many less hardcore punk oriented fans. Later, the track "Peace" was contributed to the mashup album Threat: Music That Inspired The Movie, where it was remixed by Schizoid and renamed "World At War."

On March 7, 2006 Agnostic Front released their long-awaited DVD "Live at CBGB". This follows the efforts of many bands that tried to save CBGB from shutting down. Even though Merit claims that "We played more shows at CBGB than any band ever, and we played more benefit shows for CBGB than any band ever" when the club did close most nostalgia focused on 1970's punk bands.

On November 6, 2007 Agnostic Front released the album Warriors with the hit "For My Family" which was largely a continuation of "Another Voice"s sound.

For the 25th anniversary of their debut LP Victim in Pain, Bridge Nine Records released remastered versions of said album along with their first EP; United Blood on November 17, 2009.

The band will be performing on the Persistence Tour in Europe in the winter of 2009.

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