Agnostic Front – Victim Of Pain Cassette – Ratcage Records 1984

Victim In Pain / Remind Us / Blind Justice / Last Warning / United And Strong / Power

Hiding Inside / Fascist Attitudes / Society Suckers / Your Mistake / With Time

Scorching debut LP by New York’s lower eastsiders, Agnostic Front, clocking in at around twenty minutes or so.

The band formed in 1980 and had numerous line up changes. This was the hardcore line up, other line up’s, after this release, were much more metal influenced. The lyrics got rather more conservative and patriotic as the years went on I understand, this is the only material I have, so I am only writing on that hearsay, so could be wrong. At the time of this Ratcage Records release the band certainly seemed more peace punk inspired though.

  1. Chris
    May 8, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    haha, he’s got good ‘nutter’ tattoos. Is the one on the right a nuclear mushroom cloud with a face in it? funny as fuck!

  2. Nic
    May 8, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    I think a ‘crucified clockwork skinhead’ backpiece would really suit you, Chris…

  3. Bryan Swirsky
    Bryan Swirsky
    May 8, 2008 at 10:35 pm

    peace punk? nah! but at least it was honest! agnostic front were a very controversial and misunderstood band at the time. amazingly, they are still going and are better than ever. early on, agnostic front were very much identified with the more conservative branch of the new york hardcore skinhead scene. whether they held any serious right wing views is a matter of speculation but to be honest, a lot of it was middle class art school peace-punk grousing as the punk scene was definitely becoming more blue-collar working class. regardless, it certainly weren’t racist. the singer is cuban and the guitarist is italian and over the years, the band have had a myriad of members of all different backgrounds, including a middle-eastern bassist. and if they were a bit right of center, so what? they had their own ideals and they held there ground and they stood for something. which is why they are still around today.

    the ‘victim in pain’ cover caused a bit of a stink the summer it came out. especially for some of the more extremist jewish groups like the jewish defense league, who found a the use of a picture of a nazi sending a jew to his death in an open mass grave to sell records to be an anti-semitic statement and threatened to organize protests in front of record shops that sold the album and to shut down gigs. as a jew who was very much on the scene at that time, i admit the cover made a crude point, but i never saw it – or them – as making a racist statement. the lyrics inside certainly do not reflect any more than your garden variety anomie and they expressed exactly that in the manner they knew how: direct and to the point!

    consider this: their label, rat cage records. rat cage was allied with southern distribution and john loder and by extension, crass records. the head of the label was a guy named dave parsons, the same man who put out the beastie boys’ 1st two independent records and gave the bad brains a visual identity with that ‘capital lick’ image, the one with the american capital dome being struck by lightening. kinda says it all, doesn’t it?

  4. Nic
    May 9, 2008 at 9:11 am

    You don’t have to be a “middle class art school peace-punk” to dislike a group who advocate vigilante murders (‘Shoot His Load’), make explicit references to ‘minorities’ and ‘little Maria’ (Public Assistance’), and were managed by a man who wrote a song called ‘Speak English or Die’…

    They may have expressed anti-fascist / nazi sentiments on this LP, but their overall stance is the same old Skinhead nonsense: right wing / conservative…
    It’s not ‘working class’, it’s drivel…

  5. chris
    May 9, 2008 at 11:31 am

    Totally agree with Nic. If the ‘scene’ wasn’t so supine, fuck-wits like AF would have been kicked right into touch.

    Wasn’t it that Soldiers of Destruction band who did ‘Speak English or Die’ – i remember there was lots of controversy in the mainstream music papers about that (NME/Sounds) and thinking it a bit weird that, given the amount of punks i noticed wearing SOD t-shirts, there seemed to be less more opposition to them within punk circles.

    That said, I never liked any of those american thrash bands and never had the slightest bit of interest in or contact with any of the hardcore scene so it means nothing to me. I remember a year or so after i had basically lost interest in punk (which would probably be around the time this lp came out) picking up a copy of maximum rock ‘n’ roll in rough trade, looking at all the photos of a thousand identical bands and thinking “Oh well, that’s certainly the last nail in the coffin of punk if ever there was one”

  6. Nic
    May 9, 2008 at 11:44 am

    The S.O.D. (Stormtroopers of Death) thing was very strange as they were indeed embraced by the majority of ‘Punks’ despite the lyrcial content…I can only assume that people privileged musical form over political content (not the first time that that has happened), and also perhaps that the fact that they were listening on tapes (in the main) may have actually obscured the lyrcial content…

    Chris – I’ve told you before, and it looks like I’m going to have to tell you again: DISORDAAAAAARRRRRRGGGGHHHHHH!!!!
    Thrash the system!

  7. John No Last Name
    John No Last Name
    May 9, 2008 at 6:29 pm

    Soldiers of Destruction was Morat’s band (Morat used to live opposite us at Petherton Rd in a house he shared with Sniper (yes that Sniper), Spit and an older hippy guy named Jay. He later went on to become a writer photographer for Kerrang and is still a top bloke. Absolutely nothing to do with the Stormtroopers of Death.

    Stormtroopers of Death was Billy Milano and the guys from Anthrax (the American Anthrax) joking around, the record isn’t really racist, it’s funny! The whole thing is a joke and not meant to be taken seriously (half of Anthrax/ SOD are Jewish!).

    None of the original (and best) line up of Agnostic Front were in the slightest bit racist, but where this whole rumour comes from is that the second AF album has a bunch of lyrics on it written by Pete Steele (from Type-O Negative/Carnivore) who seems to exist solely for the purpose of winding people up. I don’t know Pete enough to know if this particular era of his lyric writing when he was writing clearly racist lyrics (mainly for Carnivore) was genuine, or in fact a Borat type joke so I can’t comment, but Roger from AF was married for years to Amy Keim (from the ‘Peace punk’ band Nausea) and marrying a Jewish peace punk is hardly the act of a racist is it.

    Some of the American ultra politically correct bands would talk about how the NY hardcore scene was racist, but in reality, it was a lot more about the fact that the Cro-mags/AF scene was way more popular and way better.

  8. Nic
    May 9, 2008 at 11:48 pm

    Yadda yadda yadda, “oh, they only complained because that band was better than them” – same old tired conservative bullshit excusing the actions of conservative bigots…Endlessly tiring…

    When Agnostic Front put out this boring skinhead album, Siege were absolutely destroying their third-rate third-hand English-skinhead-meets-Exploited sound both formally and in terms of content…

    Here’s a funny joke: people with conservative views turned human beings into soap…write a song about it and give us all a laugh (Anal Cunt have)…

  9. chris
    May 10, 2008 at 11:33 am

    Hmmm…i’d never heard of this Pete Steele character and really don’t know much about SOD (yes, sorry, got them mixed up with ‘Soldiers of Destruction!’) but if – as you say – he was the ‘Andy Martin of American hardcore’ I just think, as I said till i’m blue in the face to Andy “Why?” – “Why write this shit when so many other fuck-heads are coming out with the same sentiments for real, you’re only making the views more palatable”. It’s not parody or lampoon as that element is clearly lost on the majority of their audience. It’s just reaffirmation and rehabilitation of attitudes that have no place in a movement that is about free expression as their whole raison d’etre is to SUPPRESS free expression.

    How many fans of AF/SOD went on to become right wing skinheads/homophobic straight edgers I wonder? And how many fans of, say, Poison Girls or The Mob did?

  10. John No Last Name
    John No Last Name
    May 10, 2008 at 1:22 pm

    More like the John Belushi of hardcore.

  11. Rice
    February 7, 2009 at 3:04 am

    Really? Political satire from bands the likes of S.O.D. are just unacceptable? That album came out when I was 16. I listened to it all the time, but I understood it was a joke, a total fucking farce. You all need to lighten up. Hardcore was a different scene then than it is now, it has evolved for some people. I used to love Agnostic Front and I am not a racist or a patriot. Furthermore the reference to Nazi activities in WWII is disturbing. You trivialize the atrocities committed every time you liken someone to the Third Reich. Live and let live, Chris and Nic seem to be quite the PC finger pointers, what have you done that is so important? Are all straight edge kids homophobes? Are all skinheads horrible? Who gave you the right to judge and point fingers? Peoples actions are what counts, not what “brand” they subscribe to. I have met some really nice skins (and I’m not talking about silly neo-nazi/aryan brotherhood types) in my days, we don’t share the same opinions but that doesn’t make them bad people. Not everybody has to have all the same opinions as you, and if they don’t that is their right. Your place is not to judge and talk shit, but maybe to educate and help change peoples minds. Also if the movement is about free expression then why are you trying to suppress the free expression of these bands? Does this rule not apply to you? You have to be careful not to become the beast you abhor. I may be playing devils advocate on some level, but the comments left here sound like you average super PC coffee shop/armchair revolutionary rhetoric. I really just don’t understand what you guys have done that is so impressive that you get to call “bullshit” on everybody else. I do not support hate (sexism/homophobia/racism) in any forms as it appears to me solely as stupidity on someones part, but I will always speak my mind to these people, let them know that what they have said is logically flawed. Waiting until they are gone and talking a bunch of shit solves nothing. You are no better than anyone else, we are all in this together, and we are all equals.

  12. John No Last Name
    John No Last Name
    February 7, 2009 at 4:38 am

    seconds out round two….

  13. Penguin
    Penguin • Post Author •
    February 7, 2009 at 11:57 am

    Thanks for the comment Rice,

    Nic and Chris are both regular browsers and commentators on this site, with all the hundreds (1000’s?) of other browsers and commentators (inc yourself) makes this site what it is today.

    The discussion and thoughts of all browsers are absolutely welcome assuming the body of the text is not filled with hatred towards any particular person / race / religion etc etc.

    Some folk have views on certain bands / scenes / politics that others may not agree with 100%. That situation could arise through discussions at any time anywhere, at someones house, a gig or on a public forum here at KYPP.

    Public forums are exactly that, and opinions are opinions and generally I think the browsers on this site are decent folk that have grown up with generally good attitudes.

    All browsers should keep all comments as respectful as possible to each other on any post that I upload.

  14. chris
    February 7, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    Rice, my response is this: WHY do these bands feel a need to ‘satirise’ right wing / racist / homophobic attitudes when there are, lamentably, enough bands espousing the same bigotry without a shade of post-modern irony. Rather than emasculating such attitudes they can in fact legitimise them. You just have to think of the number of anti-war songs that are misinterpreted by gung-ho soldiers on duty in Iraq to recognise that not everyone appreciates the satire in many songs and context and presentation is often an important factor in a ‘message’ and how it is ‘received’. The ‘hardcore’ scene you speak of, which SOD were part of, is the same scene that has spawned the straightedge / hardline scenes –, where a bunch of reactionary fuck-wits like ‘Vegan Reich’ can sing of homosexuals being degenerate and hanging abortionists! Would YOU defend the ‘free speech’ of Brutal Attack, Razor’s Edge, Stormfront? Because I most certainly do NOT believe in supporting the ‘free expression’ of those whose goal is the ideological and PHYSICAL suppression of those they oppose. And, personally, I find it a baffling anomaly that such views can even exist or be tolerated within the punk scene and certainly can’t think of many other music scenes where such attitudes are extolled, let alone defended.

    But over you you Nic, i’ve got to get packing for Tokyo tomorrow 🙂

  15. SoundHound
    February 8, 2009 at 5:24 am

    The Hardline record label also put out an EP by Statement, the same Statement that had the split LP & 7″ with The Apostles.
    I have nothing else to say – it’s near 4:30 am and I wanted to see my name up there, while I wait for the phone to ring…

  16. andus
    February 8, 2009 at 11:25 am

    Chris. Why bother with punks anyway, why not join The Liberial Democrats, thats what I am doing, frankly, they are a cuddly bunch of dudes, They may not get very many votes, but one thing they have got is body heat, and they give you a tremedous horn, especially that Lorely Burt, Shadow Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Minister; Chair of the Parliamentary Party. With a title like that who would not get a bit excited. Jesus !!

  17. andy martin
    andy martin
    February 9, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    “I received an excerpt of this dialogue from Andus and while I don’t normally waste my time contributing to sites like this, I simply have to congratulate Rice for providing a rare and extremely welcome voice of sanity and reason amid all the petulant bleating from boring white middle aged middle class purveyors of political correctness who seem to populate this chat-room thingie. Note: not once have I ever used this or any other public forum to ridicule or otherwise denigrate ‘Nik’ or ‘Chris’ whoever they may be – yet they believe it is perfectly acceptable to try to blacken my name in a public forum. Why? Because I am not a socialist, I formulate my own political beliefs and I support freedom of speech so therefore I do need to have my life ruled by political correctness. Better still, I do not find it expedient to castigate or censor people who hold different belief systems to my own. In any case, my reputation is so utterly beyond the pale (I set up Column 88, Combat 18 and the BNP, I used proceeds from Apostles records to finance Lady Thatchers’ 3rd electoral campaign, I run 3 different international paedophile networks, I test Loreal cosmetics on Panda bears and, worst of all, I was even once rude about Crass) that any feeble attempts to sully my character are utterly futile. So thank you, Rice, for trying to educate these people – but I fear you’re wasting your time and energy!”

  18. Nic
    February 9, 2009 at 6:39 pm


    If you could find the ‘excerpt’ in this thread where I have mentioned ‘Ann Dee Martian’ (whoever he may be), I would love to see it because I can’t see his name in any post I made…

  19. alistairliv
    February 9, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    Rather than arguing about the past, shouldn’t we be educating ourselves about the future? By reading this 22 page article for example:

    “The Canary in a Coalmine? Explaining the Emergence of the British National Party in English Local Politics”

  20. Nic
    February 10, 2009 at 7:56 pm

    Cheers for that Chris: Shane Skillz representing!

  21. slyme68
    February 11, 2009 at 8:52 pm

    as the band has been brought up, a mention for mark rennie (shark) and paul thwaites of soldiers of destruction, now both at the 100 club in the sky. paul stabbed on morningside estate in 86, mark from hiv related in 93. soldiers were a great laugh.

  22. andus
    February 17, 2009 at 12:31 pm


    If you could find the ‘excerpt’ in this thread where I have mentioned ‘Ann Dee Martian’ (whoever he may be), I would love to see it because I can’t see his name in any post I made…

    Nic. I think he is refering to another thread on this website were you suggest that he revels in violence and that it excites him or words to that effect….

  23. brs
    September 11, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    HAHA right…

    I don’t know who this band are as I just browsed by, but you gotta love the ridiculous statement by Rice that “just because you’re a skinhead doesn’t mean you’re a bad person” oh and they were nice to you? Cool.
    Well, lucky you are white then. Perhaps if you did not have the ‘safety’ of that, but most importantly A BRAIN too, you would realize how stupid such a statement is and shut up. Whatever point it was you were trying to make anyway…

  24. marvelousmarv1982
    October 20, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    Pff… NYC Hardcore was always full of faggots like AF and Cro-Mags. That’s why Massachusetts will always beat the living shit outta any NYC fagcore band. Must I bring up Anal Cunt? Or Gang Green?

    Come at me, NYC skinfaggots.

  25. Simon
    October 22, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    Just seen this 3 yr thread has come alive again so thought i’d add to it.
    I actually like the music on this Agnostic Front LP (and their second for that matter) but it falls into the trap that a lot of the music/ bands from the NY hardcore scene fell into – that of misunderstood irony and contradiction.
    After reading many early 80’s ‘zine interviews with bands like Agnostic Front and Cro-Mags, much of the dialogue seemed to be of a positive, open-minded, passive nature yet, in time, there seemed to be an equal number boasting of violence, incidents of ‘fag bashing’ , muggings, gang assaults etc (Harley Flanagan and John Joseph/Cro Mags gained a reputation for such activity but also simultaneously preached the teachings of Krishna).
    Many NY hardcore bands had flyers depicting cartoons of big booted skinheads ringing some poor weaker person’s neck whilst seemingly stomping over other faces and the whole message was of aggressive domination and ‘kicking someone’s ass’.

    I agree with a lot of the comments regarding the S.O.D ‘Speak English or die’ LP. I would argue the very existence of that band and record (plus Milano’s next project M.O.D.) was purely for political satire and irony but, with a target audience of between ,say,16 – 21 , the ‘joke’ was completely lost on those who knew no better. In fact, much of the buying audience were thrash metal fans, eager to suck up anything extreme that was crossing over the punk/metal divide at the time (1985) and i’m sure they (thrash metal fans) took ditties such as ‘fuck the middle east’ as S.O.D.’s political viewpoint verbatim. Whether this lead people to the right wing- who knows- but at the time, i firmly remember the band riding the wave of controversy ,leaving it until years later to finally admit it was a ‘joke’.

    Finally, is the hardline movement dead now ? God I hope so.

    February 20, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    Awww the link is down … 🙁

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