AGNOSTIC FRONT: MY LIFE MY WAY (2011)
1) City Streets; 2) More Than A Memory; 3) Us Against The World; 4) My Life My Way; 5) That's Life; 6) Self Pride; 7) Until The Day I Die; 8) Now And Forever; 9) The Sacrifice; 10) A Mi Manera; 11) Your Worst Enemy; 12) Empty Dreams; 13) Time Has Come.
Over the first three or four songs on this record, my nose seemed to smell out a bit more «vocal harmonies» and «catchy choruses» than on Warriors, so, for about five minutes, I was sort of entertaining the thoughts that, perhaps, this would be an attempt at fusing together the band's hopeless «crossover» thing with the old pure-hardcore schtick that worked so much better on Dead Yuppies. That way, I could at least feebly recommend the album, be done with it, and get on with life's more precious chores.
Alas, pretty soon it turned out that I was completely wrong. Joseph James is still in the band, and the overall sound is almost exactly the same as it was on Warriors. The album blurb on their official record label, Nuclear Blast, proudly states that "...the title of their tenth studio album “My Life My Way” underlines perfectly what Hardcore means to Stigma and his bandmates: It’s not just music, it’s an attitude to life!" They almost got it right — simply scrap that "just", and the motto will be word-perfect. (For the record, the same blurb states that Miret considers this to be "our catchiest record to date", so don't go complaining how I only present my opinion on all these albums and nobody else's. Now you know how the band's frontman sincerely feels about his latest record. And he probably felt that way about the previous one, too, and the one before that, and each and every time he must have been completely sincere, and one cannot blame him).
In a brief news release, here is what they do on this album:
(a) first time ever (I think) sing in Spanish ('A Mi Manera'), to broaden their fanbase among illegal Mexican and Puerto Rican immigrants, after a recent statistics poll has shown that these people are chiefly motivated to leave their families and risk their freedom and safety by the enticing opportunities to access indie record stores in L.A., N.Y.C., and other major metropolises;
(b) sing about themselves in the past tense ("It was us against the world... we fought to survive"), apparently, from out of the geriatric refuge of their rocking chairs, enlightening the younger generation, who might otherwise erroneously suppose that it has always been Pink to fight against the world — too bad the nationwide coverage is so reluctant to pick that up;
(c) then suddenly declare that "TIME HAS COME... to show the world this revolution HAS BEGUN" on the last track. Considering the timeline, I can only assume they are referring to the Arab Spring here, which makes me wonder why the song has not been explicitly dedicated to «our blood brothers and sisters in Libya and Egypt» (including The Society of The Muslim Brothers and other merry gentlemen who would gladly watch the N.Y.C. hardcore scene sink to the bottom of the ocean, along with the rest of N.Y.C.).
Actually, though, it's all in the line of work. You can close your eyes, forget all about the cultural and temporal context, and simply kick out the jams with these guys. If there is anything at all admirable, it is how their stamina level never ever decreases through all these years — the only possible motive that could drive me to still pick up their albums when they are in their seventies and eighties, and be happy to learn that the revolution never ever ceases to begin on each subsequent one. Which will hardly prevent each of these albums (unless they decide to drop the metal schtick once again, with Miret reverting to a normal kind of voice) from getting a thumbs down — this one is no exception.
Check "My Life My Way" (CD) on Amazon
Check "My Life My Way" (MP3) on Amazon