Agnostic Front

The American Dream Died

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The 11th studio long-player from the veteran New York hardcore unit, The American Dream Died opens with a barrage of sirens (both of the air raid and police varieties) before launching fists first into the beefy title cut. The condemnation of greed and corruption is a hardcore punk pantry staple, but here it is well-timed, as the 15-track album (which clocks in at just over 25 minutes) arrives in the aftermath of a flurry of high-profile police brutality cases and an overall malaise regarding governmental infrastructure. Songs like "Social Justice," "No War Fuck You," and "Police Brutality," the latter with its none too subtle, N.W.A-inspired chant of "FTP," manage to transcend the generic outrage that their "a little too on the nose" titles would suggest through sheer sonic tenacity. Agnostic Front has always championed both the fringe dwellers and the everyman, and the band's blue collar roots seep into every palm-muted note and weathered snarl like mink oil into an old combat boot. That penchant for pairing menace with working class soul is best exemplified by the rousing "Old New York" (which opens with a well-placed Travis Bickle-delivered Taxi Driver snippet), a pit-inducing, head-kicking, old-school punk singalong that laments "The greatest city of them all, but it just don't feel the same, I miss the old New York." It's a fitting sentiment for a band that's in their third decade of sticking it to the man, and while Agnostic Front may be feeling a tad more sentimental these days, and are undeniably a little long in the tooth, they've lost little in the way of bite.

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