Agnostic Front's seminal debut, Victim in Pain, arguably remains the ultimate document of the New York hardcore scene -- an early-'80s movement which coincided with some of the most dire social and political crises ever to afflict the metropolis. By taking the rudiments of punk, then injecting enough energy and rage to elevate them to an entirely new level of primal aggression, Agnostic Front's piece de resistance ultimately succeeds because it transcends musical art form to create protest rock not necessarily at its most lucid, but definitely at its most visceral. With 11 tracks clocking in at a mere 15 and a half minutes, Victim in Pain is also a five-round knockout in the most literal terms; from the 45-second blast of the title track through to the last agonized strains of "With Time," there's barely a chance to breathe, much less put up a fight in your defense. Hardcore anthems all, "Blind Justice," "United and Strong," "Power," "Society Sucker," and "Your Mistake" were literal calls to arms for New York City's disenfranchised youth, who faithfully trekked down on a weekly basis to CBGB's legendary Sunday hardcore matinees. Listen closely to these cuts and you can almost hear the hallowed Bowery venue's dilapidated walls sweat, blister, and peel from the onslaught. Also of note from a purely sonic perspective, Victim in Pain is almost entirely rooted in '70s punk rock and the hardcore teachings of similar scenes in L.A. and D.C. -- unlike latter Agnostic Front efforts, which incorporated elements of speed metal in an extreme style known as crossover.
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AllMusic Review by Eduardo Rivadavia