November 13, 2019

Agnostic Front - Another Voice (2004)

Country: U.S.A
Genre: Hardcore
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© 2004 Nuclear Blast Records
Reviewed by Cory for Lamb Goat.com
Rising from the mean streets of New York City in 1983, Agnostic Front have blazed a trail that literally thousands of bands have followed in the last twenty years. They are among the first real "hardcore" bands ever conceived and among the last men standing of that long-bygone era. They've had their share of success and failure, appreciation and scorn. Two decades after the release of their genre-defining classic Victim in Pain, Agnostic Front has brought us their eleventh studio recording Another Voice, an attempt to prove their continued viability in an ever-changing hardcore scene. With Roger Miret having let out his punk rock urges on the Disasters' albums, AF have recreated themselves in their own image: as a tough-guy NYHC band. While I can't say I'm blown away by the results of this musical rebirth, it's definitely a step in a positive direction.

I had planned on holding my major complaint about this disc until after I had discussed the positive, but as I listen to this disc time and again, it's the thing that sticks out most to me: the vocals. While I've never been a huge fan of Miret's stylings, they are unbearable on this disc. He sounds more like Dave Brockie's costumed counterpart Oderus Urungus (of GWAR) than any sort of hardcore singer I've ever heard. The only hardcore fan I can imagine these vocals appealing to are those who can stomach 25 Ta Life. I suppose it's respectable that Miret is still going strong after all these years, but his attempt at adapting his vocals to their more current style makes this album an unpleasant listening experience out of an otherwise enjoyable album.

While I can't really complain about the musical content of the disc, there is a certain curious irony at work here. For this record, Agnostic Front seem to have been influenced heavily by the bands they themselves influenced. The hand of producers Zeuss and Jamey Jasta is all over this record. Joining AF veterans Vinnie Stigma and Miret are Mike and Steve Gallo of On The Rise. This addition may have something to do with the band's newfound sound as well, but Miret and former guitarist Matt Henderson were behind all the songwriting for the disc. Honestly, if this record had surfaced with Jamey Jasta's vocals on it, I would've believed it was a Hatebreed record minus the pseudo-metal riffs. Jasta does contribute vocals, alongside hardcore legends Karl Buechner of Earth Crisis and Scott Vogel of Buried Alive, Despair and Terror.

The songs are relatively formulaic and the lyrics aren't anything to brag about, but I don't think it's fair to fault Agnostic Front for sounding a lot like an updated version of classic New York hardcore. They did invent it after all. I was a bit disappointed to know that with over fifty years collectively of hardcore living under their belt, Miret and Co. weren't able to offer any sage-like words of wisdom or personal insight to those who carry the torch of hardcore in 2005.

Anyone who's ever heard a record Zeuss produced should know essentially what this sounds like. Some of the usual thickness has been peeled away to let AF's punk rock roots shine through, but other than that, the metalcore double bass click and Hatebreed-esque guitar tone dominate this album.

Bottom Line: It was nice to see that guys who invented hardcore are still interested in keeping it going and contributing to its future, but this record just didn't match up to the classics. If it weren't for the vocals, this disc would've been a much more welcome addition to my music collection. I still recommend this for die-hard Agnostic Front fans and people who aren't easily turned off by terrible vocals, but I can't say a whole lot more.

tags: agnostic front, another voice, 2004, flac,

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