Godfathers of Hardcore (Agnostic Front Documentary) – Director Ian McFarland

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Godfathers of Hardcore (Agnostic Front Documentary) - Director Ian McFarland
Godfathers of Hardcore (Agnostic Front Documentary) – Director Ian McFarland

April 2019
Released: Currently showing on Showtime
Rating: 3.5 / 5.0
Reviewer: John Haseltine

“UPROXX’s “The Godfathers Of Hardcore” trailer shows the history of New York’s Hardcore (NYHC) scene through the relationship of Agnostic Front founder Vinnie Stigma and singer Roger Miret. This Agnostic Front Doc was made by Ian McFarland. Roger Miret and Vinnie Stigma are lynchpins of New York Hardcore (NYHC), and their band Agnostic Front played a key role in defining, shaping and establishing the sound and cultural code of conduct for the still-thriving movement. Unlike the dozens of bands that have come and gone, leaving their indelible footprint along the way, Agnostic Front are still going strong, 11 studio albums into their 30-plus year career. In a landscape of increasing apathy and complacency, the messages Agnostic Front presents are as relevant today as they were in the ‘80s when the band members were impoverished, scrappy and ambitious, often fighting for their very survival as well as the perseverance of their volatile but highly inspirational band. Roger and Vinnie remain the very embodiment of hardcore, representing endurance, perseverance, brotherhood, strength against oppression and the will to keep going, obstacles be damned. Agnostic Front exist on a level all their own. . . a level of their own creation.”

Going into this documentary, I was looking forward to learning more about Agnostic Front as a band, how they came to be, persevered and how they helped create and mold an entire genre. I was to say the least, a bit disappointed. Still a good documentary, just a little bit off from what I was expecting. Or shall I say wanting to see.

This is a very well-produced film. It is structured and has a beginning, middle, and an end to it. Meaning that it does not jump all over the place and stays its course the entire time. What I would have liked to see in this doc is more of a focus on the band as it started back in the day musically, the scene, the shows, the lifestyle and the creative process. McFarland does touch on a couple of these areas a bit but not by much.

AF’s music is almost non-existent throughout the film until the ending credits. There is a bit of their upbringing by coming from the Lower East Side which was a pretty bad area in New York at the time. That and what it meant to be in a hardcore band back in those days. But that only takes up a few minutes. What you get however, and I’m sure it was meant to be this way is the following of Roger Miret and Vinnie Stigma. You are basically submerged into their personal lives with the trials and tribulations of their past as well as their present.

It is great to get to see this side of a band. Especially a band with the stature of Agnostic Front, but to me here, it was a bit overdone. I can honestly say that I am an Agnostic Front fan. I own 5 of their releases and they get play from time to time. So I was a bit excited to watch this a couple weeks ago to learn more about the band in general and more of that New York hardcore scene. At the end I was a bit confused and touched at the same time. Roger and Vinnie really open up about events that happened in their lives over the years. I know will look at these guys in a different light than before. And maybe that is what to outcome was supposed to be.

There are some very brief moments when some former members are interviewed and McFarland shows tidbits of these players from the past as well as current members. I think maybe the title threw me. I do not in any way want to deter you the fans from watching this. It is a good film. Just don’t expect too much into the actual hardcore scene. It is more of an in-depth with the family sort of documentary.

Still, mad respect goes out to Agnostic Front as they may be huge within the hardcore community, but never really broke out much bigger into the metal community. Something that I, a fan of heavy music, do not understand. The band is content with the success and careers they have and seem to truly enjoy the more intimate settings while out on tour.

For you die-hard fans, if you have not seen this yet, you are in for a treat. It will be coming out on DVD soon. For the rest of you, take a gander at this and see the lives of THE GOD FATHERS OF HARDCORE!


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