The American Dream Died

Nuclear Blast
rating icon 8.5 / 10

Track listing:

01. Intro
02. The American Dream Died
03. Police Violence
04. Only in America
05. Test of Time
06. We Walk the Line
07. Never Walk Alone
08. Enough is Enough
09. I Can't Relate
10. Old New York
11. Social Justice
12. Reasonable Doubt
13. No War Fuck You
14. Attack!
15. A Wise Man
16. Just Like Yesterday

Roger Miret and Vinnie Stigma keep AGNOSTIC FRONT's hardcore train rolling full-steam into its third decade, notwithstanding the band's brief hiatus during the mid-Nineties. Though both men have since ceased performing in MADBALL, Miret's half-brother (and MADBALL vocalist) Freddy Cricien remains allied as producer of AGNOSTIC FRONT's seething eleventh album, "The American Dream Died". Cricien also appears in a cameo alongside H20's Toby Morse and SICK OF IT ALL's Lou Koller on "Never Walk Alone". Plus there's a collaboration with former AGNOSTIC FRONT and MADBALL guitarist Matt Henderson on "A Wise Man".

Miret and Stigma are fortified by Mike Gallo (bass),Pokey Mo (drums) and Craig Silverman now in place of departing guitarist Joseph James as AGNOSTIC FRONT begins its campaign in support of the sixteen song "The American Dream Died". The track count shouldn't be too intimidating since AGNOSTIC FRONT plays "The American Dream Died" like a vintage hardcore album, mostly fast in speed and in time. "Enough is Enough", "Reasonable Doubt", "I Can't Relate", "Attack!" and "No War Fuck You" are prime examples.

While a good handful of the songs on "The American Dream Died" delve the tried and true hardcore unification ethos (i.e. "Test of Time", "We Walk the Line", "Never Walk Alone", "Attack!" and "Just Like Yesterday"),expect the equally reliable incendiary tirades against war, the authorities, despotic government, exploitive business and street scum.

"Police Violence" is sure to raise a stink with its horde bellowing of "FTP!" (as in "fuck the police"). The track is reminiscent of old MDC (which changed its acronym connotation numerous times but will always be remembered by hardcore vets as MILLIONS OF DEAD COPS) with its searing pace and hostile backlash in response to recent headlines of American police brutality. "Only in America" and "Test of Time" are equally fast, stuffed with Roger Miret's bellicose squelching, powerful riffs and of course, plenty of gang shouted-choruses.

If it's gang shouts and sing-alongs you're after, "Never Walk Alone" will be your jam. Or perhaps "Old New York", which opens with a quip from "Taxi Driver" and stomps giddily along to the choruses of "The greatest city of them all, but it just don't feel the same, I miss the old New York!" "We Walk the Line"'s menacing chords and marching rhythms are just as infectious as its choruses. Then the reflective ending track "Just Like Yesterday" will have hardcore lions of all ages raging "Death before dishonor!" in tandem with the band.

Roger Miret spitefully snarls "You got what you deserved!" against a child rapist served a citizens' knife party amidst "Social Justice"'s steaming speed. For longtime AGNOSTIC FRONT fans, this album is going to feel like the days of "Victim in Pain", "Cause for Alarm" and the "United Blood" EP with a modern veneer. Miret and company have engineered another blistering, attention-seizing album with nearly as much venom as BLACK FLAG's "My War", still today the angriest song ever laid down by anybody. AGNOSTIC FRONT's acrimonious crusade may ring of the same themes they started out with, but that's sadly testament to the persistent issues they continue to protest. At least they still care. A great deal.

For you vinyl hounds, AGNOSTIC FRONT will be offering a download code inside "The American Dream Died" for another album, "Your Time's Up" by THE ALLIGATORS, which features Roger Miret plus members of INSTED.

Author: Ray Van Horn, Jr.
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