Saratoga County

Hardcore pioneers to ‘get loud’ in Waterford

Genre’s elder statesmen Agnostic Front plays Chrome Food & Spirits on Sunday
Agnostic Front
Agnostic Front

A ragtag group of disenfranchised punks rose from the New York City streets in the early-1980s and channeled their anger over urban decay into short bursts of punk rock dissonance. 

In doing so, they entered the history books: The result was an entirely new genre of music, hardcore, and Agnostic Front have gone from early pioneers to elder statesmen of the genre. 

Now the band is hitting the road to commemorate the 35th anniversary of their landmark debut LP, “Victim In Pain.” 

The band arrives at Chrome Food & Spirits in Waterford on Sunday, Sept. 29 with groove-metalers Prong in tow. 

Singer and longtime frontman Roger Miret said the band is active, vital and relevant as ever.

“We’ve been really busy and we’re going to be really busy,” Miret said.

The band will play “Victim in Pain,” 15 minutes of biting social commentary barked over paint-peeling guitar riffs, in its entirety — “unless I forget a song,” he laughed.

“It’s held its own. It’s a classic, it’s nostalgic,” Miret said.

The call-to-arms gave young punks a sense of empowerment and belonging when the city was mired in crime and fiscal problems.

“It’s very relevant, raw — it’s very New York at the time,” Miret said. “Take those lyrics, throw them in a bottle in the ocean. Someone 100 years from now could pick it up and feel the same way I did, so it’s very inspirational.”

The city has changed since then, a shift Miret lamented in 2015’s “Old New York.”

“It ain’t my party anymore,” he said.

Over time, the band’s sound also morphed: They added elements of meatier metal guitar riffs and technicality to create crossover thrash, which brought metalheads into the punk scene and spun metal in a faster direction. 

Miret is now 55 and decades removed from performing afternoon hardcore shows at legendary now-shuttered Bowery haunt CBGB.

But his lyrics are as biting as ever, zeroing in on gentrification, income inequality and police brutality.

“Just turning on TV and turning on the news — that’s inspirational right there,” he said.

While paying homage to their roots, the band is continuing to map out their future:

Their new record, “Get Loud!,” is due out Nov. 8 on Nuclear Blast.

The full-length since 2015 is “typical Agnostic Front stuff,” Miret said.

For lyrical inspiration, he dipped into the well of his own personal story.

After fleeing from Havana, Cuba with his mother and siblings, he grew up in poor New Jersey neighborhoods, and later fell into the Lower East Side’s punk scene.

Later, he spent several years in jail on a drug possession charge, a story he mapped out in his autobiography, “My Riot: Agnostic Front, Grit, Guts & Glory.

“I wanted to do this one based on some content of my book,” Miret said. “A lot of it is some of my past childhood and past walks of life.”

Miret continued: “I’m lucky enough to have traveled the world, and lots of my writing is tapping into the past and having a good life — it’s amazing after 37 years how we can put so much passion and impact and make these powerful recordings.”

Agnostic Front

With Prong
WHEN: Sunday, Sept. 29; doors open 6 p.m.
WHERE: Chrome Food & Spirits, 405 Hudson River Road, Waterford
MORE INFO: General admission tickets, $18, at Chrome Food & Spirits Facebook page.

Categories: Entertainment, Life & Arts

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