Black Flag was once accused of being neo-Nazis, and so were the Ramones. But when NYC hardcore pioneers Agnostic Front came along, maybe the alarm-ringers couldn't be blamed for perceiving racism in the lefty world of punk. After all, the cover of 1984's Victim in Pain is an archival photo of a Nazi officer shooting a prisoner in the back. It is hard to mosh when you're queasy, even when the thrash is as stark, ripping and catchy as anything before or since. But Agnostic Front's next album, Cause for Alarm, probably seemed to seal the case, what with a song carping about "little Maria" on public assistance, and "Shoot His Load," a tribute to Bernard Goetz. Here's the catch: Roger Miret, the band's visionary and mouthpiece -- who, incidentally, has always denied racism -- is Cuban. Could he have just been a Republican? Maybe not, if his vocal disgust for religion means anything. Oh well, there's at least one thing that's certain about Agnostic Front: Not one of the other bands on Friday's bill -- from the metallic Diecast to furious purists Hatebreed -- would exist without it.
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