Agnostic Front
Dead Yuppies

In 1989, I brought Agnostic Front’s live Compilation, Live at CBGB’s, based on some review in a British metal magazine.’Being swamped in Iron Maiden, Sabbat and Metallica, I had no idea what New York hardcore was. I was literally blown away ‘ the energy, the unity and the power had me hooked, resulting in me picking up their classic back catalogue. I have bought everything by Agnostic Front since, and they still remain one of my favorites amidst my vast collection of black and death metal.

Ten albums and over 15 years of rage, Agnostic Front have outlasted many of their NYHC contemporaries ‘ even though their last “great” album was 1992’s One Voice,  the band have returned with their most throwback hardcore punk effort since Liberty and Justice. Agnostic Front’s last two albums were good, but were interchangeable as far as the quality of the songs; they seemed to lack the unique sense of rebellious power that permeated their earlier efforts. Dead Yuppies sees a true return to thespeedy 3-chord power riff glory of Victim In Pain. Sporting a classic black cover and bold white labeling, this album reeks of old school. Even the crowd shot on the back is a nod to prior victories. The raw production sounds 10 years old, not the polished metalcore-ish sound they had started leaning to.

Fifteen songs, 30 minutes, spiteful outspoken lyrics, chanted choruses and those super simple yet oh-so-catchy riffs is true NYHC at its best. The songs on Dead Yuppies drip with energetic, tattooed anger. Second song “Out of Reach” brings “Power” to mind and rips along with timeless abandon, which then seamlessly changes into “Everybody’s A Critic,” another rage-filled minute of “Fuck You” street tough attitude. The song easily throws off the Roadrunner-era throes of commercialization. “Urban Decadence” is the kind of sweaty mosh pit rousing anthem that just begs for a live audience and a live album.

The core of Agnostic Front, vocalist Roger Miret and guitarist Vinnie Stigma, ensure that the album retains its old school feel throughout. Miret even sounds 10 years younger, and Stigma’s solos are still thankfully rare and chaotic. As ever, Agnostic Front’s lyrics range from personal vendettas, political tirades, and chest-pounding self-proclamation. They’re all delivered with Miret’s trademark scowling throat. 

Another area that emphasizes the ‘Front’s return to glory are the breakdowns.”Rather than the crisp, crunchy metallic groove of Sick Of It All, Agnostic Front’s slower moments are rawer heartfelt expressions of anger or pride. And its a thing of nostalgic beauty.”Alright’s” rousing ending is a prime example of how Agnostic Front have regressed, which is certainly more beneficial than detrimental. 

At its heart, Dead Yuppies is far more abrasive punk than metal; it has a lot more residual elements from the band’s past, and could possibly revive a genre thought long dead outside New York. You could consider this a comeback album as it sounds so wonderfully dated, but the beaten down charm of this style is that it always sounds good, especially when done with the kind of conviction on display here.

This might be Agnostic Front’s strongest effort in a decade, and further proves that the New Yorkers are true to the scene-today, tomorrow and forever.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
October 9th, 2001

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