Review: Agonista ‘Grey And Dry’

Next up through the review portal we have Grey And Dry, the debut album from Agonista, a blazing, d-beat, crust, hardcore punk and roll band that calls both San Diego, California, and Tijuana, Mexico home.

Made up of longtime veterans of both the San Diego and Tijuana hardcore and punk scenes, boasting members from bands like Bumbklaat, Run For Your Fucking Life, Swing Kids and the awesomely-named Sweep The Leg Johnny, among many others.

Agonista 'Grey And Dry' Artwork
Agonista ‘Grey And Dry’ Artwork

Here, on their debut, the band come out guns blazing with the, written-in-Spanish, opener Larvas that’s a pummeling, angry hardcore face ripper, allegedly about the Narco scene in Mexican popular culture and its effects on the youth. Agonista do not let their collective foot off the gas for one solitary second as they instantly rip into the title track Grey And Dry which, to my ears, is a clinic in modern d-beat, crust and hardcore as the pissed-off vocals, angry riffs and thumping rhythms will have the listener diving into the imaginary circle pit in their living room.

Moving through the album, Agonista pretty much stick to this sonic attack throughout, the songs come fast and furious as they tear through d-beat and crust ragers like Abuse Diffuse, which features the perfect slam-pit starting middle bridge as they slowly wind down with some heavier riffage. Eyes of Despair was a favorite of mine, recalling the best of Swedish hardcore punk ‘n’ roll bands like Disfear and Wolfbrigade, while adding a, dare-I-say, melodic touch both in the riffery and the vocals.

a clinic in modern d-beat, crust and hardcore…

Bazofia is an immediate, downstroke, punk-riff rager, before giving way to MMXXlll, a well sequenced instrumental, featuring some cool rhythms, nice riffery, and just a tad of spacey weirdness for good measure. Medication gets us right back to the d-beat assault but also features some pretty killer riffs and guitar work, unleashing it all in the middle breakdown chug which shows they have a sense of dynamics in their music.

Both In Haste and Muertos recall the best of late ‘80s hardcore, as the band tear through the tracks with a vicious and urgent energy that feels all at once nostalgic and fresh. The penultimate Wrecked Inside features some great riffing and rhythm pummeling, before Grey And Dry comes to its conclusion with Agonista revisiting the instrumental approach with MMXLlII, serving as a nice wind-down and is a great album closer after the aural punch to the face that makes up the majority of Grey And Dry.

I’ve made no secret over the years that I believe the San Diego area to be one of the very best and most underrated areas of the United States and maybe even the world for rock and roll of all genres, as some of my all-time favorite bands hail from there. The area seems to consistently produce killer bands and we can add Agonista to that list, as Grey And Dry is not only a fantastic punk rock debut, it’s also a worthy addition to that region’s stellar musical legacy.

Label: Armageddon Label
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram

Scribed by: Martin Williams