Agnostic Front - Victim in Pain (Cover Artwork)

Agnostic Front

Agnostic Front: Victim in PainVictim in Pain (1984)

Reviewer Rating: 5
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Contributed by: ChemicalWarfareChemicalWarfare
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Picture this. It is 1984 in New York City, more specifically Lower East Side, New York City. The streets literally look like a warzone. To say times were tough back then would be an understatement. Blocks were littered with bums, not a care in a world, just wasting way on the street corner..
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Picture this. It is 1984 in New York City, more specifically Lower East Side, New York City. The streets literally look like a warzone. To say times were tough back then would be an understatement. Blocks were littered with bums, not a care in a world, just wasting way on the street corner. Prostitutes and junkies everywhere you look. Gang fights as common as graffiti in an alleyway. So what were 4 middle class kids in a band called Agnostic Front to do? Move to the suburbs? Not likely.

Local scenes were developing at rapid pace in the mid-eighties. L.A. and D.C. were at the top of the heap, but there was still no scene for New York. Sure there were bands aroud like Bold, Kraut, and Straight Ahead. (Even Agnostic Front had released United Blood e.p. in '82.) But there was no definitive band or release to mark the scene around yet. Victim in Pain would change that.

This is the record that kickstarted the whole scene, no question about it, Agnostic Front was the band, Victim in Pain the album, and CBGB the venue. Many say it was one of the first true hardcore releases. Of couse there were many bands playing hardcore before AF even formed, many of which were even better than AF, but nobody made music as hard and fast as Agnostic Front in 1984. Bitter music from the streets, about the harsh reality seen everyday.

To back it up, if you didn't believe the record, you just had to waltz down to CBGB (Back during the beloved Sunday Matinee days) where you could see for yourself shows that could easilly match the albums intensity. Agnostc Front toured all over the U.S. spreading what was going on in New York and helping to establish the scene, 20 years after they formed, they still play small clubs and still put on amazing shows.

As far as the record goes. Victim in Pain is just pure short, fast, raw, angry bursts of angst ridden New York hardcore at its finest. Words of politics, and disillusionment (Back before it was cool to sing about these things in hardcore) Every track is a hardcore classic, from "Last Warning" to "Your Mistake" The album is far from what they are doing on epitaph now, this is the music that made them legends. Sure I may be bloating up Agnostic Fronts legacy a bit, but there are many people that don't know anything about this scene or city other than just band names and many east-coast bands deserve more recogniton than they get.

On a final note, to clear the air on the internet gossip/rumor mill, any ideas of racism you may have about Agnostic Front, just forget it, listen to the lyrics, talk to the band themselves. The Nazi rumors and racist rumors are complete lies. Maybe Agostic Front gives off bad first impressions, as some sort of macho skinhead band that just care about pounding people smaller than them. That is far from the truth, None of the band are even skinheads(With the exception of the drummer) and you will always see members of the band, particularly Roger, at tons of local shows supporting bands and just hanging out with fans.

Again, I'm not saying Victim in Pain is the best hardcore album of all time, it might not be the best album from the whole New York scene, this might not even be your cup of tea, but there is no denying that Agnostic Front started it all for New York and were a major player for the East-Coast.


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
publichousing (March 27, 2010)

I regret the way I worded my previous comment. I sounded like one of those board shorts, tank top, yankees cap wearing, tattooed neck and fists kinda hardcore guys. For that I recant my previous statement. This is a really great album though.

cheddar (September 2, 2009)

you know... its a damn shame this band has gone so down hill... this record along with the first one is amazing. I think this record was a hardcore masterpiece for its time. for any fan of the old schole dischord 7 inches, this one is for you!

PublicHousing (May 6, 2009)

A defintive moment in hardcore, fo' sho'! Pushed hardcore to the limit (which they continue to do). And I do not understand what the fuck the reviewer means by calling them "middle-class kids"?! They were street kids, to call a hardcore band "middle-class" is a huge insult to hardcore and punk. But, anyway, rants aside, great album, first true hardcore album I heard. Changed my life for the better.

Anonymous (January 27, 2005)

Listen to the mp3 radio show argument between Born Against and Sick Of It All and the guy from Agnostic. The dude from SOIA basically threatens to break Sam and Adam in half.

However, Victim In Pain is a fucking GREAT album.

Anonymous (March 25, 2004)

bold, sick of it all, & gorilla biscuits were much later in the ny scene. they all came out around later 80's. but in all fairness, it was reagan youth that kickstarted the scene, unfortunately they're album was released way after their prime and no one cared by then.

but it was AF that got ny recognized outside the east coast.

also, AF weren't affluent middle class kids. they all grew up around the lower east side.

Anonymous (May 12, 2003)

Well put. But please don't say that there were no bands in 1984 that didn't play as fast as AF. D.R.I, Infest, Deep Wound, Siege, the list is endless, these bands were all FASTER than AF. When it comes to hardness, that's another story.

Anonymous (April 13, 2003)

One flaw here. AF has declared themselves skinheads, non racist skins, but they hold true to skinhead culture and late 70s english oi. So yeah AF are skinheads, but NON racsits.

Also some people say hardcore "died" in '84 when bands started playing speed metal. While there is some truth in that statement about speed metal, Victim in Pain proves HC was alive in 84, 85, 86 and even now in 03.

sXe_nick (December 27, 2001)

yeah boywhocriedangle is a fucking tool, what the hell does he know. I bet he is just a dumb fuck who is trying to be cool but is really failing and looking dumb. I wonder if anyone agrees with that fuck.

Anonymous (December 27, 2001)

Well once again boywhosucksass chimes in with his worthless two cents a couple of posts down, with another "i have no clue comment". This coming from someone who thought radiohead was one of the best releases of the year. Go listen to your modern rock radio boywhosucksass and leave this site once and for all. (and take your buttmuncher in crime jimi with you. Oldpunker-

Anonymous (December 22, 2001)

killings my business and business is fine...dashboard confessional is frying your mind.

Anonymous (December 20, 2001)

Bah, when this album came out AF were still a bunch of skinny kids. Angry, yes, but can you name me any punk or hardcore band from New York that wasn't angry or agressive (Especially during the early 80's) And contrary to what some shithead on the internet says (Macho nazi jocks, blah blah), they all are really nice guys, always have been.

theboywhocriedangel (December 20, 2001)

okay, maybe i'll give agnostic front a break. i'm sure there are worse examples of machismo in the scene today (cough) biohazard (cough).

theboywhocriedangel (December 20, 2001)

ooh, tough-guy rock, yay.

Anonymous (December 14, 2001)

Eh, Bold weren't even that big, could the guy have meant to have said Reagan Youth or Cause for Alarm? They were around. Straight Ahead was around in '84 as well, but I think they were still pretty new. Either way Agnostic Front was at the top of the heap and Victim in Pain is their crowning moment.

Anonymous (December 14, 2001)

I believe you're mistaken about Bold being around. Those guys were probably like 8 years old at the time. Their band Crippled Youth wasn't until a couple of years after this ('87?) and they were super young at that point. Straight Ahead was a bit later as well.

Other than that, Victim in Pain was a sick fucking record. It is still one of those records that you can just flip over and over all day long. The whole thing is so good that 1 or 2 or 3 listens just isn't enough.

Anonymous (December 12, 2001)

The Bad Brains were D.C. Of course the Stimulators(Harley Flannagans old band) brought them to NYC, but they're a D.C. band at heart. I will say that the Bad Brains did practically start up the NYC scene. (Their was some good bands around like Reagan Youth, Kraut, and Urban Waste) but nothing very new or great. It was developing damn slow until the Bad Brains came here, kicked everyones ass, and created a monster in NYC (Cro-Mags, Agnostic Front, Murphys Law, Warzone, Cause for Alarm, Sick of it all, Gorilla Biscuits, Youth of Today) all great NYC bands.

Anonymous (December 12, 2001)

This is a great album. To bad their new stuff isn't as good. GB is good but don't forget about BAD BRAINS

Anonymous (December 12, 2001)

GB fuckin rock. "Start Today" is so damn good. do i have to review that one too? Agnostic Front has never appealed to me. i bought on of their older albums a while ago and didn't like it. anyway, that was a good review man.- fathead

Anonymous (December 11, 2001)

I agree to that, the Gorilla Biscuits were amazig, though old Agnostic Front is just as good too. Victim in Pain is definitly their best.

Anonymous (December 11, 2001)

I was five years old during the Sunday Matinee days, so I really don't know what the scene was like... although I've seen a lot of pictures. I like Agnostic Front, although they've turned into an OI! band instead of a hardcore band in recent years. Oh well.... listen to Gorilla Biscuits.

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