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Friday, August 26, 2011

Agnostic Front: Last Warning


1) Undertow; 2) Your Mistake / Victim In Pain; 3) One Voice; 4) Infiltrate / Strength; 5) United Blood; 6) Public As­sis­tance / Over The Edge; 7) Blind Justice / Last Warning; 8) Crucified; 9) Toxic Shock / United & Strong; 10) Fascist Attitudes; 11) Anthem / The Eliminator; 12) No One Rules; 13) Final War; 14) Last Warning; 15) Traitor; 16) Friend Or Foe; 17) United Blood; 18) Fight; 19) Discriminate Me; 20) In Control; 21) Crucial Changes.

I like this, but let us keep it brief and up to the point. This is yet another live album recorded at CBGB, in December 1992. Although there are 11 tracks altogether, they frequently splice two songs in one whole (perhaps keeping up that way with their newfound metallic image and distan­cing a little from classic hardcore), which brings the total up to 17. The setlist depends quite hea­vily on material from One Voice, apparently quite a treat for fans of all of their stages, because they seem to have been downplaying that period after the next reunion. However, all of the three «classic period» albums are also sampled with proper respect.

As usual, everything blurs together, but I like the overall sound they have going. Metallizing the «classics» transforms the band from a formerly drunk, blundering Godzilla, pulverizing skyscra­pers at random, into a stone cold sober and meticulous Godzilla, demolishing the neighbourhood according to a carefully structured plan. Chaos and confusion remains to be sown by Miret and his usual trachea-style vocalization. In a few million years, I could even learn to love this.

Until that time has arrived, I will just remark that the mix here is totally excellent. The crunch of the rhythm guitar pours out of the speakers, and the speed metal leads wail and whine on top of that in such crisp, clean tones you'd think this was so doctored in the studio... hey wait a minute... oh never mind, I don't even wanna know. Also, this is the first time on record that we hear Miret give out long rants — and his spoken voice is actually quite nice, especially when he talks about helping «abandoned children with AIDS and other terminal diseases» etc. (For some reason, such announcements coming from Agnostic Front sound nowhere near as annoying as when you hear them from Bob Geldof or Bono. Maybe it's just the rich man / poor man effect).

As a bonus, you get to hear, in its entirety, United Blood, the band's debut EP from 1983. For the info, the entire EP consisted of songs that rarely exceeded one minute in length ('Fight' is over in 15 seconds) and is, consequently, considered a lost classic. But if you ask me, there was a reason they still decided to switch to two-minute length on their LPs. For die-hard-core fans only, and historians of the genre.

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