Agnostic Front – My Life My Way


Album

My Life My Way

Label

Riot! / Nuclear Blast

Year

2011

Genre

For Fans Of

Madball - Terror - Cro-Mags

Summary

An average effort from hardcore legends.

Rating

70 / 100

Agnostic Front are unquestionably one of the most important hardcore bands ever and are a band who deserve ultimate respect. Their breakout full-length “Victim In Pain” remains a staple hardcore classic along with albums like Bad Brains’ self-titled record or Minor Threat’s 1988 “Complete Discography”. Their name is synonymous with New York hardcore, their members major figures of that iconic scene. They are pioneers of the thrash-influenced, heavy sound that is now stock-standard in the hardcore genre. That said, after almost thirty years, Agnostic Front can’t simply be judged by their legendary punk status.

Judging a book by its cover, even the front of the album shows that this band is a universe away from their early releases. The colourful cover and inoffensive bubble text incorporates their iconic Doc Martin logo but couldn’t be further from the raw, punk imagery of most of their prior records. Equally distant from the acute social commentary and controversial political ethos of earlier releases, “My Life My Way” is preoccupied with themes of personal struggle, hardship and brotherhood. Frontman Roger Miret’s distinctive vocals are unfortunately deteriorating, which will definitely put off a lot of people who dig the heavy hardcore bands that AF have so deeply influenced.

The opener “City Street” isn’t a promising start. The lyrics are clichéd, referring to growing up tough on the mean streets of New York City. The album picks up a bit with songs like “More Than A Memory”, “Your Worst Enemy”, “A Mi Manera” supplying solid, ultra-hard riffs that we’ve come to expect from this band. “More Than A Memory” chugs along like a runaway train, while “A Mi Manera” as a catchy and all-Spanish number pays tribute to Miret’s Hispanic roots. “That’s Life”, a short, fast two-step anthem for which the band has put out a video, is one the strongest tracks on the record. It sees Agnostic Front hint at their classic sound and musical roots, which is definitely refreshing amongst a pool of tracks that very much fit into the metallic hardcore vein. “Self Pride” is a typical hardcore number which sounds uncannily like Madball (in fact musically most of this album may as well be their NYHC counterparts) but admittedly has a pretty catchy breakdown.

Sadly much of this record is pretty uninspiring. The title track “My Life My Way” features some fairly atrocious melodic vocals on the part of Miret, while tracks like “Now and Forever” and “Empty Dreams” just feel like total filler. To top it off, the mediocre closer “Time Has Come” provides a huge anticlimax to what is all up a pretty average effort.

Conclusion

“My Life My Way” has all the standard elements of a New York hardcore album. Hard riffs, tough guy lyrics and some songs in Spanish thrown in for good measure. Sadly after almost twenty releases, however, it seems that Agnostic Front’s best days are behind them. For diehard fans this release will probably hit the spot, and definitely has the potential to attract some new ones. After all, compared to all the rubbish heavy hardcore coming out nowadays, this is quality.

Tracklisting

1. City Street
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

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