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Friday, August 5, 2011

Agnostic Front: Liberty & Justice For...


1) Liberty & Justice For...; 2) Crucial Moment; 3) Strength; 4) Genesis; 5) Anthem; 6) Another Side; 7) Happened Yesterday; 8) Lost; 9) Hypocrisy; 10) Crucified; 11) Censored.

Ugliness is supposed to be at the heart of hardcore — re­flecting the ugliness of reality — but dumb-sounding ugliness risks missing its mark, and boy, does the band's leader sound ever so ut­terly dumb on this album. This is neither singing nor shouting, it's more like frantic, agonizing attempts at gulping for air, song after song after song: the lyrics lose any sort of relevance, since they are vomited in the listener's direction in slime-covered, stinky, disjointed pieces.

The album was engineered by the guy who worked with Anthrax at the time, meaning that the thrash metal elements, introduced on Cause For Alarm, are in full flight, although this time they are also delivered by an entirely new lineup: the core of Miret and Stigma is augmented by Steve Martin on guitar (no, not that Steve Martin, although doing a gig with a hardcore punk band for diversity's sake probably would not be totally out of question), Alan Peters on bass and Will She­p­ler on drums. The guitar solos do sound a bit flashier and thrashier than they used to be.

I can't remember any of the songs, though, even if opening the record with a bunch of zombiefied schoolchildren pledging allegiance to the flag is a neat trick, and the cover of hardcore brothers' Iron Cross's best-known song 'Crucified' has a catchy chorus. But obviously, that is not the point. The point was that Agnostic Front wanted to become even more wild than on their first two al­bums, and to do that, the guitarists had to further metallize their sound and the vocalist had to consume three pounds of rotten fish before each session. Oh well. At least the lyrics still offer profound, intelligent social critique.

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