Agnostic Front’s music typified the sound and fury of the New York hardcore scene in the early 80s. Incorporating the simplicity and speed of punk acts the Dictators, Ramones, and the Dead Boys, the band provided a compelling soundtrack for a city that’s mired in crime and debt.
The band’s early classics, Victim in Pain (1984) and Cause for Alarm (1986), were considered massive influences in the American hardcore scene. Something’s Gotta Give, their first album released under Epitaph Records, showcased a more refined effort but still showed their muscle and rage.
Agnostic Front was founded by guitarist Vinnie Stigma, a skinhead and first-generation punk rocker and then vocalist John Watson. After a few months, Watson was replaced by Roger Miret, who had strong views about politics and firsthand experience with social injustice. Drummer Ray Beez and bassist Adam Moochie completed the band.
In 1983, the band issued United Blood, their first independent release. It was followed by Victim in Pain, their career-defining 1984 album. Victim in Pain confirmed the band’s brief status as leaders of the cresting movement alongside Murphy’s Law and the Cro-Mags.
Their album Cause for Alarm was released in 1986 and was considered a travesty and betrayal by their early supporters. Liberty & Justice For . . . was released the year after and was considered the band’s act of compromise. In 1989, they released Live at CBGB, a collection of their best-loved materials.
Soon after, Roger Miret was arrested on drug charges and sentenced to two years in prison. Their overtly metallic comeback album One Voice was released in 1992 but did not get a warm reception. This can be attributed to the fact that most of their followers have moved on to other things during their extended absence.
After releasing To Be Continued, their greatest hits set, the band decided to part ways. However, in 1997, their long-rumored reunion became a reality. While only a few fans cared about their return, the band continued to record occasional albums like Working Class Heroes, The American Dream Died, and Dead Yuppies.