AGNOSTIC FRONT — The American Dream Died (review)

AGNOSTIC FRONT — The American Dream Died album cover Album · 2015 · Hardcore Punk Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
Time Signature

Genre: NYC hardcore / crossover

Agnostic Front are one of the most important names on the NYC hardcore scene and also played an important role in establishing crossover thrash when they released "Cause for Alarm". Since then, they have made contributions to both scenes, going back and forth between metallic hardcore and more punky hardcore. Their last three albums, however, leaned more towards the metallic side and are probably among my favorite Agnostic Front albums. But now, they are back with a new album entitled 'The American Dream Died'.

This album is decidedly more punk oriented than the preceding albums, but with enough metal elements to still appeal to metalheads. Moreover, this album ups the social criticism in comparison to the preceding album. After an intense introduction that leaves no doubt that Agnostic Front are going to have something to say on this album, the album kicks into the title track, which is an all out hardcore punk attack, and the intensity is turned even more up in the fast and angry 'Police Violence' in which Roger Miret gives vent to his frustrations with the way that the American police treats the nation's own citizens. After two more punky tracks, 'Only in America' and 'Test of Time' bring into the picture thrash metal elements - in particular the latter is a strong crossover thrasher akin to what can be heard on the excellent "Warriors" album. 'We Walk The Line' is a heavier track with elements of noise rock in the form of some dissonant guitar chords on top of the driving bass. After a handful of darker tracks, the listener is treated to a more uplifting affair in the form of the anthemic punk rocker 'Never Walk Alone'. 'Enough Is Enough' is another angry outburst of 40 seconds, which nonetheless includes a proper hardcore breakdown. 'I Can't Relate' follows the same style, and is impressively dynamic considering that it is only 47 seconds long. While primarily punky, 'Old New York' nonetheless brings metallic chucking guitars back into the picture. 'Social Justice' is another crossover thrasher, although not quite as metallic as the band's "Warriors" and "Cause for Alarm" tracks. The following track 'Reasonable Doubt' takes us back into hardcore territory and oozes in-yer-face NYC attitude, and 'No War Fuck You' is a 37-second ragefest, while 'Attack!' is surprisingly uplifting. The metallic 'A Wise Man' nicely combines heaviness, groove, and anger into a mixture that should appeal to both mardcore fans and metalheads.

Production-wise, "The American Dream Died" is well-defined and better balanced than "Warriors", but slightly rougher than "My Life My Way". Still, it has the unmistakable Agnostic Front punch that characterizes "Another Voice", "Warriors", and "My Life My Way". Roger Miret's voice comes across even more expressive on this album than the predecessor (in particular on the retrospective closing track 'Just Like Yesterday'), and the overall performance by the band is tight.

"The American Dream Died" is intense and more hardcore punky than Agnostic Front's last couple of releases, and has fewer uplifting moments than "My Life My Way", but this makes a lot of sense since "The American Dream Died" is more oriented towards social injustice while "My Life My Way" dealt more with lyrical themes of self-confidence, pride, and personal strength. Although I am more of a metalhead than a hardcore punk rocker, I really like the energy that much hardcore music harnesses, and this album is rich in angry energy and, as I said, still feature metallic elements. I think it will definitely appeal to fans of hardcore and crossover thrash. It strikes me as being a damn good NYHC album.
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