Our top ten Agnostic Front songs list looks at the catalog of an American band known for its impactful role in the development of the New York hardcore scene. The band’s formation was spearheaded by the avid guitarist Vinnie Stigma with the band’s musicianship cemented a short later after the addition of Roger Miret to the band’s lineup. Often regarded as one of the godfathers of the New York hardcore scene, Agnostic Front also made a significant influence in the thriving of the crossover thrash genre.
Agnostic Front’s Career Beginnings
Let’s wind back our clocks to the 1970s in New York, a city whose culture has led to the sprouting and development of multiple music genres. During these years, New York harbored diverse flourishing talents—From the likes of Kiss, Billy Joel, and Simon & Garfunkel, to Blondie, Talking Heads, and The Ramones.
It is these changes that led to the birth of the New York hardcore scene spearheaded by American skinheads and punk aficionados such as Vinnie Stigma and Roger Miret. Inspired by The Ramones, Agnostic Front went ahead to shape the New York hardcore sound, upping the speed and rage of the then-flourishing punk rock sound. Agnostic Front was joined by Cro-Mags, Murphy’s Law, and Sick of It All in taking the New York hardcore scene to the mainstream. The endured presence and success of Agnostic Front have made it one of the most indispensable hardcore acts from New York.
Agnostic Front’s Major Releases over the Years
In 1983, Agnostic Front issued a seven-inch extended play by the title United Blood. The six-minute EP served as a perfect stepping stone towards Agnostic Front’s success with the band’s debut studio album Victim in Pain. Issued in 1984 through Rat Cage Records, Victim in Pain has been cited to be a seminal record in the development of the New York hardcore scene. The fifteen-minute album saw the band work with Don Fury, a record producer known for his audacious work with multiple acts including Quicksand, Madball, Sick of It All, and Into Another. Victim in Pain is home to some of the best Agnostic Front songs including “Power,” “Fascist Attitudes,” and the album title track.
Agnostic Front returned in 1986 with its sophomore studio album Cause for Alarm. While Cause for Alarm was primarily a hardcore punk record, the album signaled Agnostic Front’s venture into crossover thrash influences. “The Eliminator,” “Your Mistake,” and “Public Assistance” are the most popular songs by Agnostic Front from the album. The song “Your Mistake” has been covered by noteworthy bands such as Hatebreed, Fear Factory, and Pro-Pain.
Liberty and Justice For…, issued in 1987, marked the band’s third studio album. Working on the production of this album was Norman Dunn, a record producer known for his work with Carnivore, Anthrax, Quincy, Raven, and Flipper. Liberty and Justice For… saw Agnostic Front blend its signature hardcore punk sound with crossover thrash and thrash metal influences. “Crucified” and “Anthem” are the biggest songs by Agnostic Front off the band’s third studio album.
In 1992, Agnostic Front returned with its fourth studio album One Voice. The album was issued a short while after vocalist Roger Miret’s release from jail, having been incarcerated on drug charges. “Over the Edge,” One Voice,” and “New Jack” are the top musical gems by Agnostic Front from the album. Unfortunately, Agnostic Front went on hiatus after the release of this album, reuniting again in 1997.
Something’s Gotta Give, issued in 1998, marked the band’s fifth studio album (first since its hiatus in 1992). Co-producing the album alongside Roger Miret was Billy Milano, a musician known for his contribution as a member of Stormtroopers of Death and Method of Destruction. “Gotta Go,” “Pauly the Dog,” and the album title track are some of the best Agnostic Front songs from the album.
In 1999, Agnostic Front returned with its sixth studio album Riot, Riot, Upstart. The album was produced by Lars Frederiksen, a musician known for his contribution at Rancid, and his band Lars Frederiksen and the Bastards. Lars has also produced albums for The Forgotten, Dropkick Murphys, Marky Ramone and the Intruders, and The Business. Riot, Riot, Upstart featured popular songs including “Police State” and the album title track. In late 1999, the band would team up with Dropkick Murphys to release a split album entitled Unity. Songs by Agnostic Front from the split album include “9 Seconds Remaining” and a demo version of “Sit and Watch.”
Dead Yuppies, issued in 2001, marked the band’s seventh studio album. The album was issued through Epitaph Records with its production work handled by the band’s lead vocalist Roger Miret. Dead Yuppies featured outstanding hardcore tracks including “Love to be Hated” and the album title track. This album was the last record by Agnostic Front issued through Epitaph Records.
Agnostic Front returned in 2004 with its eighth studio album Another Voice. The album was the band’s first record issued through Nuclear Blast, (once) home to As I Lay Dying, Carcass, Behemoth, Amorphis, HammerFall, Fear Factory, and Voivod among others. Another Voice is home to some of the best Agnostic Front songs including “Peace,” “All is Not Forgotten,” and “So Pure to Me.” James Jasta of Hatebreed co-produced this album with Zeuss, a record producer known for his prodigious work with Hatebreed, All That Remains, Sworn Enemy, Emmure, and Shadows Fall.
Warriors, issued in 2007, marked the band’s ninth studio album and second record issued through Nuclear Blast Records. Working on the production of this hardcore punk/crossover thrash album was Freddy Cricien, Roger Miret’s half-brother and Madball’s frontman. The album is home to some of the most popular songs by Agnostic Front including “For My Family,” “Addiction,” and “Dead to Me.” Four years later, the band issued its tenth studio album My Life My Way through Nuclear Blast Records. My Life My Way was quite a momentous album too featuring musical gems such as “That’s Life,” “Now and Forever,” “Us Against the World,” “A Mi Manera,” and the album title track.
Later in 2015, Agnostic Front issued the album The American Dream Died. The album is home to some of the best Agnostic Front songs including “Police Violence,” “Old New York,” “A Wise Man,” and “Never Walk Alone.” Get Loud! issued in 2019, is the most recent record by Agnostic Front. The record is home to musical gems such as “I Remember,” “Conquer and Divide,” “Spray Painted Walls,” and Urban Decay.”
Agnostic Front’s Legacy
Agnostic Front remains a treasure in the history of the New York hardcore scene. The band has cited The Ramones as a major influence on its career. However, we cannot forget to credit Bad Brains and Black Flag for their impactful role and influence in the later development of the New York hardcore scene. Agnostic Front’s lead vocalist was also a member of Madball (fronted by his half-brother), and still a member of his street punk band Roger Miret and the Disasters. Here we present the ten best Agnostic Front songs of all time.
#10 – Never Walk Alone
Ushering us to the top ten Agnostic Front songs list is the rip-roaring hit “Never Walk Alone.” The song is featured on the band’s eleventh studio album The American Dream Died. “Never Walk Alone,” like most of the songs on The American Dream Died serves as an emblem of Agnostic Front’s endured reign in the hardcore punk scene. The song’s lyrics are evocative of the lifestyle, passion, and unity of the New York hardcore scene which is a movement (rather than an image), bound by honesty and loyalty.
There was no better way to talk about the unity in the New York hardcore scene than featuring extra members of other New York hardcore bands. With this song, Agnostic Front proved that they will “Never Walk Alone,” having Freddy Cricien of Madball, Toby Morse of H2O, and Lou Koller of Sick of It All featured on the backing vocals. This was enough proof of the brotherhood of the New York hardcore scene.
#9- The Eliminator
It feels like a crime to have ranked “The Eliminator” this low! “The Eliminator” is the best Agnostic Front song off the band’s sophomore studio album Cause for Alarm. This song is a lyrical masterpiece and an emblem of the band’s musicianship on Cause for Alarm. Almost every band member’s input to the song can be felt. The hard-hitting drums, the impressive guitars, and the killer basslines complement Roger Miret’s punchy yet on-point vocal delivery.
Coming in at number eight on our ten best Agnostic Front songs is the pulsating hit “Addiction.” This fast-paced hit is featured on the band’s ninth studio album Warriors. “Addiction” finds Roger Miret going hard on a person who seems to be destroying his//her life and poisoning his/her mind with lame addictions.
The singer calls upon the person to save his/her life since they are running out of time. “Addiction” is a purely aggressive song from the lyrical content, Roger’s vocal delivery, and instrumentation. The song is among the tracks that bring out Agnostic Front’s excellence at crossover thrash, a subgenre heavily played by other hardcore punk bands such as Warzone, Cro-Mags, and Murphy’s Law.
#7- My Life My Way
My Life My Way found Agnostic Front still going hard in the hardcore scene and still remains by all standards a fair New York hardcore album. The album title track serves as the archetypical song to Agnostic Front’s musicianship on this record. This song’s hard riffs and punchy lyrical content oozing self-awareness at its best adds to the song’s ultimate hardcore feel. “My Life My Way” features brutal yet melodic vocals by Roger Miret.
The song was produced by Roger’s brother Freddy Cricien with the mixing done by Erik Rutan of Cannibal Corpse and Hate Eternal. Erik has also worked as a producer/mixing engineer with multiple bands including Morbid Angel, Six Feet Under, Madball, Malevolent Creation, Avulsed, and Belphegor. While “My Life My Way” is the only song from the band’s tenth studio album on our list, it receives fair competition from the band’s Spanish hit “A Mi Manera,” whose delivery feels a tad bit more brutal.
#6- Old New York
Hardcore punk lovers from the ‘70s and ‘80s will definitely vibe with this hit owing to its lyrical content that reminisces the adrenaline rush that came with the “Old New York.” The music video for this song was directed by Brian Darwas. Brian has also directed the music videos for other Agnostic Front songs including “That’s Life” and “Urban Decay.”
#5- Peace ft. Jamey Jasta
Number five on our ten best Agnostic Front songs list is the intoxicating hit “Peace.” The song is the most sought-after track off the band’s eighth studio album Another Voice. “Peace” finds Agnostic Front’s frontman Roger Miret joined by Jamey Jasta of Hatebreed on the vocals. The two offer an unadulterated vocal delivery that crowns “Peace” a masterpiece hard to leave out on Agnostic Front’s best songs. “Peace” finds Agnostic Front addressing the need for harmony amongst the society members at the time of war.
Most of the songs on our top ten Agnostic Front songs feature original songs by the band. However, our fourth pick brings us to one of the most significant cover hits by Agnostic Front, “Crucified.” “Crucified” was initially issued by the Washington D.C. punk rock band Iron Cross on the EP Skinhead Glory. Agnostic Front covered this hit featuring it first on the 1987 album Liberty and Justice For…
The band went ahead to issue the cover song once again on the 1998 album Something’s Gotta Go. “Crucified” had its lyrics inspired by Sab Grey’s experiences of intolerance in Washington D.C. The song became a hit after Agnostic Front covered it and has since become an anthem for skinheads all over the world.
#3- Victim in Pain
The third pick on our ten best Agnostic Front songs list is the ferocious hit “Victim in Pain.” “Victim in Pain” serves as the album title track to the band’s debut studio album. Spanning just forty-eight seconds, “Victim in Pain” has proved to be a seminal hardcore punk release. Of course, there were several momentous hardcore punk bands in the New York scene by 1984.
However, very few would make fast and truly hardcore hits such as Agnostic Front as showcased in “Victim in Pain”. The song tackles the sad reality of the singer’s day-to-day life. “Victim in Pain” was covered by several bands including Ruckus, 88 Fingers Louie, and Caninus.
#2- For My Family
One thing we have to credit the New York hardcore scene with is its brotherhood! As the lynchpins of the New York hardcore scene, Agnostic Front has fought hard to keep the NYC hardcore punk alive—From its endured reign in the hardcore scene to culture-reminiscent songs like “Old New York.” Agnostic Front went even harder releasing a hardcore anthemic hit “For My Family” on the band’s ninth LP Warriors.
“For My Family” is an anthemic hit by Agnostic Front that celebrates the progenitors of the New York hardcore scene from the Lower East Side of New York including Cro-Mags and Warzone among others. Roger Miret went ahead to call “For My Family” a dedication to the New York hardcore forerunners calling them Agnostic Front’s family while citing that they are always together at heart.
Members of Madball, Hatebreed, Brutal Truth, and Rancid are featured on the music of “For My Family.” The music video was directed by Mike Pecci and Ian McFarland, a duo that has worked with other artists including Meshuggah, Killswitch Engage, Fear Factory, and Wu-Tang Clan among others.
#1- Gotta Go
Number one on our ten best Agnostic Front songs list is the excellent hit “Gotta Go.” The song serves as the band’s signature hit and most sought-after hit off Agnostic Front’s fifth studio album Something’s Gotta Give. “Gotta Go” has for a long time served as one of the most memorable hardcore punk anthems from the ‘90s. The song’s lyrics showcased the brotherhood among the member of the New York hardcore scene setting the template for the hardcore culture and course of action.
“Gotta Go” had its music video directed by Drew Stone who also had some impact as a singer in several hardcore acts. Drew Stone has also directed music videos for other bands including Madball, Sick of It All, and Fury of Five. “Gotta Go” was covered by Austrian Death Machine and Millwall Roi.
Top 10 Agnostic Front Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023
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