sean12179 | Washington, DC USA | 04/03/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This was supposed to be the last Agnostic Front performance (12-20-1993). But even though it wasn't, it's still one of the best live performances they've done, and it would have been a great way to go out. The live portion had a good mix of songs from all of their releases, and guest vocals from Jimmy (of Murphy's Law), Raybeez (of Warzone, R.I.P), and Evan (of Biohazard). The studio portion is the rare "United Blood" EP, which is a fairly good mix and classic NYHC, although the best mix is on Raw Unleashed."
AGNOSTIC FRONT - "United Blood" 7" EP (1983) *****
Tom P. the Underground Navigator | Park Forest, IL USA | 11/14/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've admittedly never been a big fan of live albums. I am however a huge fan of early Agnostic Front, and this CD just happens to be the sole digital pressing (and even it too is now out of print) of the band's rare debut 7" EP "United Blood." I am going to go out on a limb and just review that portion of this "Last Warning" disc since that's all I ever really listen to on it.
Recorded during the winter of 1982 and released independently the following year on Rat Cage Records, "United Blood," as rare as the original vinyl pressing is, was enough to establish Agnostic Front as the leading New York hardcore band for years to come.
You have to remember that most of the action in American punk had previously taken place on the west coast and in particular California. Agnostic Front and "United Blood" however are clearly products of New York's seedy and notoriously dangerous Lower East Side. Don Fury's studio, where this was recorded, was probably a basement in an abandoned building somewhere and the total cost of this recording and subsequent pressing onto vinyl couldn't have exceeded a few hundred dollars. So it was a truly D.I.Y. project, as most of the absolute greatest underground music from the early '80s was.
Agnostic Front's line-up fluctuated from year to year but here in 1982 it consisted of founding member and guitarist Vinnie Stigma, recently recruited Cuban born vocalist Roger Miret, bassist Adam Moochie and drummer Raybeez (later of Warzone fame).
"United Blood," as cheaply produced and distributed as it was, remains a truly brilliant recording. Listening to it you can hear just how underground and dangerous the band's surroundings were at this time. Their area was after all very impoverished and riddled with drugs and crime. From the moment one sets the needle onto the groove of the record and lets this 7" play, you are brought into this world and literally assaulted with arguably the most extreme music of its time.
Sure bands like Boston's S.S. Decontrol had been fast, but Agnostic Front were FAST. The drumming of Raybeez, who would depart after this release, I feel is one of the earliest recorded examples of blasting in music, predating Siege by a couple of years and Napalm Death and the British grindcore movement by several. The longest song on this EP is "Friend or Foe" at 1:17, but the average song length hovers around 30 seconds for a grand total of six minutes and 25 seconds for the whole record. That was the great thing about hardcore, it got straight to the point and there was rarely any time for filler. This CD was clearly mastered from a mint copy of the original vinyl, as one can hear a couple crackles and pops characteristic to vinyl here and there, and thus it retains the sound of the original recording pretty well.
The band would go onto new heights the following year with their '84 debut full length "Victim in Pain," a masterpiece in itself, but "United Blood" marked the beginning for New York's premiere hardcore band and remains an essential release that helped shape the sound of hardcore and extreme music in general for years to come."