Though they never achieved the notoriety enjoyed by some '90s Cali punk peers, Face to Face's fans are legion among the punk faithful, particularly skaters. Led by frontman Trever Keith (the quartet's sole remaining original member), Face to Face's songs race like nitrous funny cars fueled on slashing guitar hooks and anthemic sentiments. They formed in '91 and released six studio albums in their first 12 years of existence, as well as a live album and a cool covers album, 2001's Standards & Practices. They returned in 2008 after a five-year hiatus and, this past May, they released their first album in nine years, Laugh Now, Laugh Later, a record rife with catchy guitar crunch and brash attitude, highlighted by the blistering "It's Not All About You." California buddies Strung Out formed a year later than Face to Face but haven't taken a break, releasing eight studio albums over the past two decades. Though their first few albums surveyed hard-charging pop punk reminiscent of NOFX (on whose label, Fat Wreck Chords, they've spent their entire career), their metal influences have gradually come more to the forefront. Their latest album, Agents of the Underground, balances tracks like "Nation of Thieves," whose guitars reference Judas Priest's "Breaking the Law," with punchy, fist-waving hardcore like "Ghetto Heater."
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