Led by singer Roger Miret and guitarist Vinny Stigma, New York's cataclysmic Agnostic Front made quite a name for itself with records like Victim in Pain and Cause for Alarm. As one the first truly pioneering NYHC (New York Hard Core) bands to successfully bridge the gap between metal, punk, and hardcore, the band rose to legendary cult status up and down the East Coast. Recorded in the flesh at New York's punk rock Mecca CBGB's in August of 1988, Live at CBGB captures the band in all its ferocious glory. As Miret announces "this is the title track from our first album Victim in Pain, the song's also called "Victim in Pain,"" the band is off. "Pain" is quickly followed by "Public Assistance" and later a song that calls for unity between punks and skins, "United Blood." The recording contains 19 fast and furious cuts highlighted by the band's hardcore anthem, "Crucified." Prior to "Liberty & Justice," Miret offers, "Since we're an American band, let's recite the pledge of allegiance." This gives way of course to "Liberty & Justice" only to be upstaged by all 35 seconds of "Discriminate Me." Other highlights include Cause for Alarm's "Your Mistake" (later covered by Negative Approach on Total Recall). Beneath all the band's political lambasting and calls for unity (although many of their shows were anything but), there's a good musical lesson to be learned from all of this. Because, if you've ever been just the slightly bit curious about what NYHC is all about, this release is a solid launching point.
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AllMusic Review by John Franck