Get Loud!

Nuclear Blast
rating icon 8 / 10

Track listing:

01. Spray Painted Walls
02. Anti-Social
03. Get Loud!
04. Conquer And Divide
05. I Remember
06. Dead Silence
07. AF Stomp
08. Urban Decay
09. Snitches Get Stitches
10. Isolated
11. In My Blood
12. Attention
13. Pull The Trigger
14. Devastated

There is a lot to be said for stamina. Incredibly, AGNOSTIC FRONT have been hammering away like absolute madmen for nearly 40 years. Ignoring a five-year hiatus in the mid-'90s, the legendary and definitive NYHC crew have been omnipresent as guardians of a style of brutish, metallic hardcore that never seems to grow old or lose its ability to send people into a violent frenzy. After decades of so-called hardcore that sounds unlikely to survive the effects of a sudden gust of wind, there is something hugely reassuring about hearing a new album from Vinnie Stigma and the boys: yes, you know exactly what you're going to get and you also know that virtually no one executes this stuff with the same bug-eyed brio. Some of these guys are in their mid-50s at this point, but you wouldn't know it. Opener "Spray Painted Walls" explodes with the same table-flipping intensity that informed early classics like "Cause For Alarm". "Anti-Social" is a full-pelt screamer, barely over a minute long and an instant classic. "Dead Silence" wears its crossover thrash colours with pride, while "Snitches Get Stitches" lays down some fresh street law across machine-gun D-beats and lurching grooves. It's all stupidly exciting, as expected.

These days AGNOSTIC FRONT are a much sturdier and more precise machine than the chaotic berserkers of 1984's "Victim In Pain". Those decades of hard graft have sharpened the band's songwriting skills too. As short and nasty as they are, the likes of "I Remember" and "Devastated" have big hooks, bigger hearts and all the gang vocals a vest-wearing dude could ever need.

As with 2015's "The American Dream Died", the New Yorkers' 12th album feels like a supremely confident re-stating of musical values, with the added sonic weight of a modern production but more than enough rawness and bite to keep things suitably vicious. If you like balls-out New York hardcore, then "Get Loud!" is as potent and memorable an example of the genre as you will ever hear. As they approach their 40th birthday, AGNOSTIC FRONT are still very much not to be fucked with.

Author: Dom Lawson
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