Agnostic Front

Another Voice [Bonus Track]

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Although they'll always be considered an '80s phenomenon, N.Y. hardcore heroes Agnostic Front never really went away after their heyday, churning out albums with certain regularity throughout the 1990s and into the '00s. So why does every one of those albums feel like an unexpected return from the brink of certain death? Perhaps this is a trait that's simply inherent to Agnostic Front's music, which, whether realistically or as a matter of perception (who can tell these days?), invariably marks them as underdogs; survivors bearing a "down but never out" grudge against the world that, both torments them no end, and feeds their very need to exist. Whatever the case, it's naturally this same set of qualities instigating this particular episode of that grudge, 2005's Another Voice, which, incidentally, finds Agnostic Front bulked back up to a quintet once again, after the return of Madball guitarist Matt Henderson. Not that this matters much since AF have always been the Roger Miret and Vinnie Stigma show -- the former's Pit bull vocals and the latter's clutched-fist guitar remain as devastating a combination as any in rock. Together, they lead the band into 14 bursts of archetypal N.Y. hardcore rebellion, starting with the caustic taunt "Still Here," and segueing into a number of anthemic shout-alongs ("So Pure to Me," "Dedication," the genre-basics lesson "Hardcore! (The Definition)") before concluding a mere 28 minutes later (as the hardcore gods intended) with the politically-charged title track. Not everything else in-between qualifies as an Agnostic Front classic ("Peace," for instance is catchy enough, but sees Miret adopting an unnecessary death metal grunt at times, which simply is not him), but then Agnostic Front albums have long transcended their simple musical roles to represent an actual mindset: anti-authoritarian, anti-complacency, anti-anti -- always bearing that grudge against the world. [Note: Another Voice's multimedia section features the video clip for "Peace."]

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