Agnostic Front – My Life My Way (Music Review)

My Life My Way cover

Agnostic Front - My Life My Way

When I reviewed the new album from Roger Miret And The Disasters a few weeks ago, I didn’t realize that Miret also had a new release with his original band, Agnostic Front. It’s been four years since their last release, making it the longest gap in the group’s two decades of existence. Maybe that’s to be expected. All these years removed from the youthful energy that pushed them to the top of the New York hardcore scene, what does the band still have to sing about?

In some ways, My Life My Way is a very safe take on what Agnostic Front should be in 2011. The music is almost as intense as ever, though the songs are now consistently two minutes long instead of one. The lyrics focus once again on the punk scene and Miret’s life on the streets, with the difference that his stories are now in the past tense instead of the present.

So is this a retread, or a return to form? Given that Agnostic Front had evolved to cover other topics in the past decade, and that The Disasters seemed to be Miret’s outlet for stories about his youth, one could be forgiven for assuming that it’s the former. The music supports that cynical position: Music has never been Agnostic Front’s strong point, but this album takes their sludgy, undifferentiated metal riffs to a new extreme. After 15-20 listens, I don’t think there’s a single song I could identify with the vocal track removed. (Take out the drums as well, and I don’t know that I’d ever learn to tell them apart, except for the extra-intense “That’s Life” that sounds lifted from their defining Victim In Pain era.)

On a closer listen, though, the lyrics do justify this album. Miret seems to have grown into a more contemplative, adult outlook on life, and his takeaway from a violent youth turns out to be a heartwarming philosophy of self-determination and the power of friendship. True, songs like “Self Pride” and “More Than A Memory” (an ode to a fallen friend) would have fit in at any point in Agnostic Front’s career, but Miret hits those points more than ever in this album. Then he goes a step farther, with life lessons like “sometimes you have to walk away from everything to get a new start” and the acknowledgment on “The Sacrifice” that he hasn’t lived up to the standards set by his heroes. It’s not deep, but it’s heartfelt, and more introspective than you can usually expect from hardcore. The songs are honest, enjoyable, and keep the band moving forward rather than treading water.

It seems that Miret is trying to impart some fatherly wisdom to the next generation of punks. He has enough credibility, and couches the message in vicious enough music, that he may get his message through where actual fathers are failing. If so, good for him. There aren’t many elder statesmen of punk, and Miret’s one of the few possible contenders.

Grade: B-

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: