AGNOSTIC FRONT's Roger Miret: My 10 favorite hardcore albums | Revolver

AGNOSTIC FRONT's Roger Miret: My 10 favorite hardcore albums

NYHC icon weighs in on his all-timers
Roger Miret Agnostic Front live 2022 getty 1600x900, Aldara Zarraoa/Redferns
Roger Miret
photograph by Aldara Zarraoa/Redferns

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You don't have to know much about hardcore to know that Agnostic Front are legends. New York's early 1980s scene actually took a few years to crystalize compared to L.A., D.C. and Boston's, and it was Roger Miret, Vinnie Stigma and their ragtag group of street rats who defined the city's cold, gritty sound with their early releases, United Blood and Victim in Pain

That makes Miret not only a godfather of NYHC, but one of the most influential and unparalleled vocalists in the genre's history. He was there for the genre's development, and has both a Smithsonian-level record collection and an encyclopedic knowledge of hardcore's foundational years. 

We asked Miret to make the hard choices and select his 10 favorite hardcore albums of all time (not seven-inches, just LP's). His list consisted only of albums from the 1980s, but his selections covered a wide range of material from all over the U.S. See his picks below. 

Agnostic Front - Victim in Pain

I can't leave that record out of the list. I know it's weird because it's my own, but I think it's a very important record for the time.

It's weird because, as we were creating it, we were just playing and doing our thing. But then, every time I go back and listen to it — leaving myself out of it — I'm like, "This is a great record front to back." It's one of those records that it's hard to find a bad song on.

At the time, I think that record really put New York hardcore on the map and introduced what was going on in New York City. Prior to that, there was some other great records. You had Kraut's [Adjustment to Society]. You had that Reagan Youth record that's on this list, too. 

But, for some reason, Victim in Pain really touched people's heart. It spoke to people internationally. I guess it's because it's all about oppression and overcoming oppression.

That's one of those records that you could throw the lyrics in one of those bottles in the ocean, and 100 years from now it'll wash up, somebody will take that note out, and they'd probably feel the same way I was feeling when I wrote it. 

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Black Flag - Damaged

Damaged is a great record. I remember when Henry [Rollins] was auditioning for Black Flag. He was doing all that in New York City.

I love all the singers of Black Flag, I really do. I love all their singles and all the different singers they had. I was a little weary about when Henry, because I loved Henry with [his previous band] SOA. But he did a phenomenal job.

Damaged was always on somewhere. Anywhere you went in any one of those underground clubs in New York City in 1982, that record was playing. There was something about it that really touched me.

That angst that he put across. He was like a biting dog along with the biting music. It was awesome.

Circle Jerks - Group Sex

That thing, you can't take off your turntable if you put it on, you know? Another one of those records that, front to back, it's a classic. It's a banger. There is not a bad song in that record.

Crucifix - Dehumanization

That is one record that a lot of people say is a direct influence to Agnostic Front, or there's a lot of similarities, which I agree when I hear them side to side. We did play with them in, I think it was 1983, and Victim in Pain did come out in 1984.

We were best of friends for sure. If you would say say, "Well, is there anything that really directly influenced you?" It would probably be that Crucifix record because the similarities are insane on that record. But it wasn't done deliberately.

I think what was going on is everybody was influencing everybody, not deliberately. It was just like no different than when the metal kids got into the hardcore stuff. We were just unintentionally inspiring each other and influencing each other.

Minor Threat - Out of Step

Another flawless record. Really, top to bottom, that's a phenomenal record from D.C. itself. There's so much you can say about that record, but it's definitely, I think, in just about almost everybody's top five list.

Minor Threat was a big influence on us, especially being just a few hours away. There was always that connection. Agnostic Front did play with Minor Threat, and SS Decontrol, and all those bands. 

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Misfits - Walk Among Us

I love the Misfits. I was originally from New Jersey and moved into New York when I joined Agnostic Front. The Misfits to me were phenomenal for many reasons.

Musically, I loved them. Live back then, it was super chaotic. It was like a controlled train wreck. It was just loud, obnoxious, and somehow Glenn [Danzig] kept it together. He was a controller of the train wreck, and they were great with theatrics. It was like watching a very amateur Kiss playing punk or something like that.

So, to me, it was the combination of the horror, the theatrical thing, and the music was phenomenal. I remember when those records came out and then I'd go see them live. They never sounded that good, but it was always good to go back to the record.

Like, "Wow, that sounds really good." But live, you're going to expect some craziness for sure. Fights with the crowd, all kinds of stuff. But that's a great record. Walk Among Us is one of my favorite records.

It was a hard choice for me to put which one because I do like Beware a lot. Earth A.D. grew on me, but, by the time Earth A.D. came out, there was a lot of great hardcore records already. They were trying to get faster to get with the times, but Walk Among Us is a classic.

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Necros - Conquest for Death

They were always great. That Process of Elimination tour with Negative Approach was phenomenal. I could see where there was a little bit more favoritism towards Negative Approach. If I had to put one next to the other, I think I prefer Negative Approach for sure.

But I do love Sex Drive, The Necros' first seven-inch. I love the Necros, man. Conquest for Death is a phenomenal, phenomenal record. 

Negative Approach - Tied Down

Yes, another great one from Detroit. If you ask me if I prefer the seven-inches over the LP, of course I do. But you asked me for LPs. I love Negative Approach. We always had so much in common with them.

We shared same song titles oddly, and it wasn't deliberately. It's weird. We have a "Friend or Foe," they have a "Friend or Foe." There's one or two others.

We always have felt a really deep connection to Negative Approach. I don't know. I guess they spoke to us on our level. Living on the streets of New York City, it was hard to find bands that were directly speaking to us because we lived differently than a lot of other people did. For some reason, they were and they did.

Reagan Youth - Youth Anthems for the New Order

That's a great record, man. That's another band, like the Necros, who never really got their share of the pie. A lot of it had to do with, of course, the passing of Dave [Rubinstein] and all that stuff.

They did quickly change. As soon as that record came out, they started becoming a little bit more hippie-ish. It was just this combination of the hippies infiltrating the scene and too much flower love, too much of that. 

Youth Anthems for the New Order is a great, phenomenal record. That record, it's probably my favorite on this damn list.

SS Decontrol - The Kids Will Have Their Say

I'm a huge SSD fan. Personally, a lot of my vocal influence came from Springa, just his wildness, the way he just moved. I just loved SSD's guitar, and Vinnie always loved Al Barile's guitar playing.

We were going at the same time as SS Decontrol. And to this day, we still remain friends with them. And they know that. They know how much we've always loved that band, and we've played together and stuff like that. It was always great.