Another reliably solid slab of New York metallic hardcore

There’s a welcoming sense of familiarity about inserting My Life My Way into the drive of your CD player or computer/pressing play on your iPod/dropping the needle on your record player (delete where applicable).

That sensibility lasts less than 20 seconds of opening track ‘City Streets’, as a bulldozing rhythm, blistering guitars and Roger Miret’s distinctive vocals combine in an aurally pleasing cacophony of intensity that embraces you, then promptly belts you in the face.

It’s not a career standout or a revelatory musical statement, but My Life My Way is another reliably solid slab of New York metallic hardcore. Miret’s nasal, heavily accented yet decidedly intense vocals still brim with conviction, offering up street sermons that the uninitiated may find difficult to swallow, but ring true, even after three decades of doing this schtick. Assisted by producer and Madball frontman Freddy Cricien, Erik Rutan’s extreme metal pedigree also lends a more brutal edge, yet without removing or detracting from the beloved key elements. In case you were wondering, there’s a lot of talk about “pride” and “respect”, as well as numerous gang chants. The title track immediately stands out as a pit anthem, the thrashed up ‘More Than a Memory’ and ‘Your Worst Enemy’ seethe, ‘Now and Forever’ bristles with more a straight up punk feel and on ‘A Mi Manera’, Miret pays tribute to his Cuban heritage. Close your eyes throughout and you can almost envision the sweat dripping off the walls and bodies piling on top of each other at the band’s now defunct hometown haunt the CBGB.

Some will find the band’s sentiments cheesy and clichéd, but detractors are listening to the wrong band if they expected anything different than what they get with this record. Besides, much like those mainstream critics lambasting Iron Maiden’s recent Australian performances for supposedly being filled with clichés yet seemingly unaware of their influence, what said folks likely fail to understand is as one of hardcore’s founding fathers, Agnostic Front invented many of the so-called clichés modern day bands are still copying. If anything, they’ve earned the right to stick to their guns.

1. City Street
2. More Than a Memory
3. Us Against the World
4. My Life My Way
5. That’s Life
6. Self Pride
7. Until the Day I Die
8. Now and Forever
9. The Sacrifice
10. A Mi Manera
11. Your Worst Enemy
12. Empty Dreams
13. Time has Come