Agnostic Front's early work was fast and hard enough to earn it a permanent spot in the hardcore limelight, though conflicting fan factions argue whether the New York legend is the music's equivalent of Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, or Buster Douglas. The band grew up brawling on the streets, had an epiphany when it discovered Oi!, and gave the blue-collar movement a new intensity, perfecting the shout-along gang chorus. At around 20 minutes, 1984's revolutionary Victim in Pain combined metal intensity and punk simplicity, creating a sound that hit like a steel-toed boot.
The group began outsourcing its creative work with 1986's very metal, love-it-or-hate-it Cause for Alarm. Following well-received work in the early '90s, the band has floated in the backwaters of zeitgeist. Rancid's Lars Frederiksen produced 1999's Riot, Riot Upstart, helping the working-class skins sound like the modern punks of NOFX. Hatebreed frontman Jamey Jasta produced the new Another Voice, placing the band at the top of a new and growing metalcore subgenre: Hatebreed Albums by Bands That Aren't Hatebreed. (Supporting act Full Blown Chaos also ranks high in this field.) But Agnostic Front practices hardcore as a lifestyle, and even when its music is questionable, its cred isn't.