There will be thriving Hardcore scenes in virtually every major city in the world and every one of them will have their own unique voices. Closer to home for me, and Manchester can boast the likes of Broken Teeth and Guilt Trip as its contribution to HC worldwide. But for all the distinctive sounds of the cities, it is the New York Hardcore scene which is widely considered to be the Ground-Zero of the genre. Born from CBGBs, the Ramones and the influence of bands from Washington DC NYHC coalesced in the sounds of the Cro-Mags, Murphy’s Law, Warzone, Sick of It All and the Godfathers of Hardcore themselves, Agnostic Front.
Get Loud! is Agnostic Front’s first new album in four years and the second to feature the line up of Silverman, Gallo and Mo complementing Stigma and Miret. The thirty-five years since the release of Victim in Pain has not seen the band mellow with age and while Get Loud! isn’t the constant barrage of anger the early records are it is still able to hold its own in a spitting-bile competition. Anti-Social, Conquer and Divide and Urban Decay are fast-paced fist-pumpers, with Conquer featuring a variety of guitar sounds, from the Hardcore chug to some high drops down the neck. There are also some moments when a speed-metal sound rears it head and, elsewhere, the merest hint of a solo.
The whole of the album is built on the steady yet at times ferocious drumming of Pokey Mo - Dead Silence and Snitches Get Stitches sees Mo treating his kit like it owes him money - and the bass of Mike Gallo. Often invisible but when it comes through in the heart-beat pulse of Isolated you are reminded of how important it is.
Agnostic Front place in the pantheon of the Hardcore greats is in no small part down to the unique sound of Roger Miret’s vocal and Get Loud! sees him deliver one of his best performance in recent outings. Whether spewing bile or reminiscing with Vinnie on the odes to old New York, I Remember and In My Blood, Miret’s voice is in great shape on this record.
Get Loud! is an album we’ve been waiting a long time for and turns out to be the record we hoped we’d get. All the Agnostic Front tropes are here, from Roger’s voice and Vinnie’s guitar to the breakdowns and gang vocals. Thirty-five years and counting and the gentrification of New York does not seem to have mellowed messers Miret and Sigma one iota. And long may that continue.