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Agnostic Front

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With Death by Stereo, Killer Ape and U.Y.U.S., 7 p.m. Sunday, January 24, at Walter's on Washington, 4215 Washington, 713-862-2513 or www.hatetank.org.

While NYC hardcore is certainly not everyone's genre of choice, it represents what might eventually be seen as the watershed moment when metal started to, just maybe, be cool. Of course, that wasn't the perception at the time. In fact, bands like Agnostic Front largely alienated their dyed-in-the-wool heritage-punk audiences when their heavy, aggressive approach shifted gears toward the speed-metal end of the heavy-as-shit spectrum. Nonetheless, 1986's Cause for Alarm, in retrospect, looks a lot like the Rosetta Stone of punk/metal assimilation, creating one of the first documents to openly investigate and embrace the possibilities of bringing the weight and crunch of metal to the frenzied aggression of hardcore and, by extension, all of punk's rapidly branching tributaries. Combined with its penchant for politically super-charged rants fueled by the growing unease of a young urban population living in a city increasingly filled with crime and devoid of positive choices, the metal-friendly Agnostic Front was quite literally a galvanizing force in the undercurrents of the underground. Now on its 30th anniversary tour, AF would simply be considered a great heavy band today; back then, it was nothing short of revolutionary.
 
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