Agents of Man
Count Your Blessings

I’d seen lots of positive press about this New Jersey quintet featuring former members of Sworn Enemy, One 4 One and Train of Thought, but I never knew such a hardcore underground, respected lineup could be responsible for this slab of commercialized, mainstream drivel.

If you took New York Hardcore and put it repeatedly through an MTV blender with acts like P.O.D, Chevelle, Nickelback, 36 Crazyfists, etc you’d get Agents of Man. They make Hatebreed look like Pig Destroyer. This is such a blatant Century Media window dressed effort to ‘core’ up the mainstream it’s sickening. Others may hear aggressive melodies and soaring choruses that mix tough guy hardcore and catchy melodies; I hear a band trying everso hard to keep their street cred while dipping into billboard metal. Thinly veiled hardcore antics liked gang shouts (“Repercussion”), social and personal diatribes (“Blood Money”), power chord punk riffs “(Cant Run”) and burly breakdowns (“Without a Trace”, “Consequence”) only serve to litter the creamy, melodic shuffling of tracks that can’t decide if they are a Killswitch Engage without Howard Jone’s presence or a neutered Madball with acoustics.

Shallow, mainstream choruses litter the tracks with aplomb, and it’s not that I hate clean choruses and such, I don’t, but none of them are very good or commanding preferring to be marchhmallowy and completely bereft of long term commitment. Tracks like “Death of Me”, “No Tomorrow” “Truth You Hide”, the ballad “Be My Savior” and “Headless” scream for ‘edgy’ radio play with hardcore claims of underground toughness to simply gloss what is superficial back street machismo trying to be accepted into the mainstream. I can’t argue with Agents of Man’s choice, this album will get radio play and garner them more popularity outside of hardcore but that seems to go against everything hardcore stands for.

I don’t mind commercial metal, if it’s put out there as just that. Agents of Man are trying to convince me they are a hardcore band with melody, but that is simply a marketing ploy trying to lure in hardcore fans into their façade and pass themselves of as a real ‘hardcore’ band. Bullshit. End the charade, sign to fucking Epic or Warner Bros and just release a single already.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
August 12th, 2005

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