Local Wire

Agnostic Front

Around this time last year in these pages, I noted that a shit-ton of ancient hardcore punk bands are still regularly out on the road, and that "if you actually go see some of these crusty, old lifers, more often than not they can bring it like it's still 1983." Since then, I've seen a lot of them play live, and some (Sick of it All, Suicidal Tendencies, D.I.) bring it better than others (Circle Jerks). New York City hardcore legends Agnostic Front definitely fit in the former category — still as loud and confrontational as always, even with their wrinkles, gray hair, and degenerating vision. Well-into-their-50s principals Roger Miret (vocals) and Vinnie Stigma (guitar) — who, inspired by the likes of Black Flag and Bad Brains, formed the band in 1980 — are still at the helm of the ever-changing lineup (the band's gone through nearly two dozen members in its 28 years). Like most hardcore bands, Agnostic Front split up for a number of years (at one point, Miret was in jail for drug offenses), but it's been reinvigorated, active since 1997. And like most hardcore bands, Agnostic Front blends speedy, snotty street punk with thrash-metal and oi! into an aggressive stew that still manages to turn circle pits exceptionally violent.
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Michael Alan Goldberg