The American Dream Died
Nuclear Blast Records
Release Date: Out Now
Review by Sam Sweeney
Agnostic Front was one of the pioneering bands of my appreciation and enthusiasm for hardcore punk from the very beginning, and I am delighted to report that 35 years after their initiation, the band’s eleventh release ‘The American Dream Died,’ is profoundly reflective of their quintessential hardcore/thrash sound. Released through Nuclear Blast Records, the album is 27 minutes of content that would shake the foundations of your ordinary conservative patriot, and I enjoyed every single second of its tirade against social injustice.
Agnostic Front are amongst the true veterans of unexpurgated, politically charged hardcore punk, and their latest release ‘The American Dream Died,’ is no different. The album opens with commentary of reports pertaining to police and institutional corruption layered over distinct background sirens to introduce the audience instantaneously to themes of political, judicial and law enforcement corruption that underscore the entire album. Opening track, ‘The American Dream Died,’ offers the classic hard and fast sound that Agnostic Front executes so well, before the dominating thrash elements of ‘Police Violence,’ ensure you are well and truly paying attention. ‘Never Walk Alone,’ and ‘I Can’t Relate,’ are two songs that I particularly enjoyed, with the first a dynamic ode to solidarity and passion, and the latter a 48 second ball of hardcore energy that punches you right in the face.
‘Old New York,’ opening with additional commentary that promises to “wipe all the scum off the streets,” features a massive chorus of gang-vocals and guitar strong enough to carry the concrete jungle of New York itself. The following track ‘Social Justice,’ comments on exactly that – “you got what you deserved / justice has been served” – and is permeated by unexpected yet delightfully skilful guitar solos. At this point it is well worth mentioning the breakneck drumming that carries most of the tracks on ‘The American Dream Died,’ and the masterful combination of this rhythmic component with the immensity of the guitars; something only a band with the experience of Agnostic Front could achieve.
The tail end of the album is comprised of songs that are equally, if not more, aggressive and anarchistic in their content in relation to the first half of the release. ‘No War Fuck You,’ and ‘Attack!’ exemplify this through their apt titles, while ‘Just Like Yesterday with its progressive drumming, domineering gang vocals and chugging guitar reminds you that Agnostic Front really have mastered their art.
Holistically, ‘The American Dream Died,’ represents everything the realm of punk rock stands for: rebellion, anarchy and advocacy for change. Agnostic Front knows exactly what they want and this album is their catalyst for their expression. If you’re a fan of any of their previous albums, or indeed any hardcore punk at all, this album will well and truly satiate the little anarchist that lies inside each and every single one of you.