Passion, power, honesty, integrity…these are all words which have characterised the attitude and ethos of the New York based Hardcore quintet Agnostic Front since that fateful day in early 1980, when guitarist Vinnie Stigma decided to put the first incarnation of this truly inspirational band together.
During their thirty five year old career, Agnostic Front have been one of the handful of bands which have successfully managed to bring the worlds of Punk and Metal closer together and “The American Dream Died”, their eleventh studio album to date, is another fine example of this fitting musical alliance.
Featuring sixteen compositions which do not to exceed twenty five minutes, “The American Dream Died” is a fast and furious musical affair – the kind of album whose impact is pretty direct and whose intentions are clearly audible from the word go.
With Freddy Cricien once again on production duties, Agnostic Front’s latest offering is yet another family affair – a wise decision, as Roger Miret’s half brother has created a sound that enables each and every performing instrument to make its own case clearly heard while Miret’s trademark vocals continue to dominate and steer the AF ship into well charted waters.
With riffs as dynamic as these and with band vocal themes capable of even raising the dead from their graves, this album ought to be the ideal musical companion for every self-respecting Hardcore fan.
The overall tone and mood of the album are cleverly and appropriately set by a vocal-sampled two minute intro while the follow-up same titled “The American Dream Died” is an energy infused, classic-sounding Agnostic Front tune that sets the standards to which the rest of the compositions will have to adhere.
Brutally fast and with lyrics spewing venom towards the establishment, “Police Violence” is a call to arms for all the like-minded while in “Only In America” the band adds groove to its long list of credentials.
Featuring a massive riff that most modern day Thrash bands would love to have composed, “Test Of Time” is a head banging monster that truly stands out from the crowd while the mid-tempo “We Walk The Line” provides a buffer zone between its predecessor and its rousing/anthemic sing-along successor “Never Walk Alone”.
The first half of the album concludes with “Enough Is Enough” – a forty second blaster whose impact on the album is fairly questionable.
Quite similar in terms of duration but far catchier and enjoyable, “I Can’t Relate” is an interesting Punk-fuelled theme that nicely paves the way for both the anthemic bass lines of “Old New York” and the bombastic riffs of “Social Justice” – compositions which I am absolutely convinced will truly resonate with the band’s devoted old school fans.
While not similar in either quality or importance with these two gems, the remaining five compositions of the album do manage to keep both quality and interest levels reasonably high. “Reasonable Doubt”, “No War Fuck You” and “Attack!” are classic mid-tempo vocally-driven Punk tunes that will appeal if only by their sheer honesty while the groovy riffs melodic bass lines of both “A Wise Man” and “Just Like Yesterday” stand as testament to the band’s strong beliefs and ideas.
Four years since the release of “My Life My Way” Agnostic Front have returned with a sixteen track album similar to those of its predecessor. Is that a bad thing? I personally don’t think so.
While and album like “The American Dream Died” will never manage to openly compete with classics such as “Cause For Alarm” and “One Voice”, the quality of the composition on offer and the passion and sheer energy which characterise them are such that both deserve and demand the attention and support of any committed Hardcore fan.
Roger Miret and Co refuse to give up on the dream and why should they when they’re still capable of recording albums as good as this one?