Monday, June 28, 2010

Review #134: Agnostic Front - United Blood (EP) (1983)


Year: 1983
Genre: Punk Rock
Sub-Genres: Hardcore
Label: Last Warning Records
Tracks: 10
Length: 6 Minutes
Style: Angry/Political
My Rating: 5/8

Agnostic Front is one of the most famous New York hardcore punk bands and the group was formed by a bunch of skinheads in 1981. "United Blood" was the first release the band ever came out with, and for a long time, it was extremely rare. Roger Miret's voice sounds very different, and not as raspy as on "Victim in Pain" as much as just some chanting and yelling type vocals, here. This EP is pretty short, so let's listen, shall we?

1. No One Rules
This song goes off on the upper class telling them that they have "no right and no balls" to tell them what to do. Very fast. The chorus contains a little bit of lead guitar.

2. Final War
Even faster! This song declares "the Final War" as being citizens against the [American] government.

3. Last Warning
One of the best Agnostic Front songs ever. Great guitar riff in both parts. The verse is slow, and the chorus is extremely fast. In the chorus, the riff is very raging and frantic. This song would later be re-recorded for "Victim in Pain". That version's even better than this one.

4. Traitor
This song is about a backstabber who pretends he's your friend and then becomes your enemy when you're not around.

5. Friend Or Foe
Wow, a song over a minute long! Pretty much elaborates on the same theme as the song before it. I like the intro. End of Side 1.

6. United Blood
Another slow song. The verse is, at least. The chorus goes into the very fast mode. Similar to "Last Warning" in that way. The verse section starts out with only bass until the other instruments cut in. It's got a very dark tone to it.

7. Fight
Shortest song on the EP. Very fast, also (but you probably already knew that). It's about people rioting, fighting, stabbing, and killing eachother. Yep.

8. Discriminate Me
A song that manages to be fast without being too fast. The first section is fast. The mid-section is slow, and has a really good riff. The guitar really brings out the crunch in that part. In the last section it repeats one segment of the first part. This song points out the hypocrisy in people who call the song's protagonist a "bum", when they're the ones denying him any opportunities to get anywhere in life.

9. In Control
Another one of my favorites on this album. The chorus section just has a nice roll to it. I think it's the drums or something. It kinda holds back the pent up energy which is released in the verse parts. Anyways, I like this one.

10. Crucial Changes
By this point, there's not too much I can say about this track that I haven't already said for other songs... it's a problem I run into a lot when reviewing generic-sounding hardcore records. At the end, Roger makes a "bleeaagh" sound. Hehe!

The best song on the 7", "Last Warning", made it onto the band's first LP, and deservingly so. For some reason, this EP has always been kinda scarce. Therefore, it has been re-released many different times. First, the original pressing in 1983. Then it was re-released in 1989 (with new cover art) to raise money for Roger Miret (who was in court because of drug charges). Then the band included the EP at the end of the live album "Last Warning" in 1993. Then recently, the band re-released the EP in its original form around 2009 or so (and also included it at the end of the CD re-issue of "Victim in Pain"). So now, hopefully you can get your hands on the 7" version. I dunno. It's probably still rare. I grabbed the only CD of "Victim in Pain" the moment I saw it in the store. And it has this EP at the end for a bonus. So yeah, it's not extremely great, but it's good enough, so check it out if you're interested. Seeya later!

Top 3 Favorites:
1. Last Warning
2. In Control
3. Discriminate Me

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