Monday, September 7, 2009

Agnostic Front - Victim In Pain

Back in the mid 1980's, I bought a magazine that professed to be the definitive encyclopedia of Thrash Metal bands. The thing is, there were way more than thrash bands. In addition, there were lots of crossover bands and some straight up hardcore bands like Youth of Today and Black Flag. It was so cool to see all these bands I liked in one place.
I was enthralled by the full page ads, one of which was for Combat Records. On page 13 was an ad for the reissue of Agnostic Front "Victim In Pain" and also their third lp "Liberty and Justice For..."
I had heard Agnostic Front a few times but to be truthful I was more intrigued with what I read about them. The Lower East Side, NYHC, Stigma, CBGB's, squats, the works. Nothing could be further from life in Calgary, Alberta.
Of course I bought Victim In Pain as soon as I could - on cassette.

It would be years later that I would start hunting down the vinyl. At the top of my list was the original version on Ratcage.

The shocking imagery and relative difficulty finding this before the internet days made this a taboo record. Let's just say I wasn't showing it off to mom when I got it through a penpal deal.
This is the second press as it has the added Important Distribution label on the back cover.
There are a lot of represses of this but you can tell the original by the red lettering on the front cover.

That is some serious dead wax! More than half the side is blank.

For years I ignored the Combat repress. I felt it was second tier at best to the original. Over time though, I have found it near impossible to find one in good shape. AF fans must really beat the shit out of their records. Either the vinyl is scratched all to hell or you have huge corner creases (like mine).

But the main claim of infamy for this record is the ringwear. I am nominating it into the ringwear hall of fame alongside Ozzy Osbourne/Randy Rhodes - Tribute. The black cover doesn't help but every other copy I have seen has a huge ring on it.

Besides the killer embossed cover, the reissue also came with a sticker on the shrinkwrap telling you what the record was. Like this was going to be a problem at the mall with dad buying it for his daughter or something.

What is kind of crazy is that the reissue was released 2 years after the original. Two years! It hardly makes it a cheap money grab. Now 23 years later, I would say having either of them is a good score.
Oh yeah, the music rules too. But you knew that.


  1. Like you, I originally had this on cassette from Combat. It wasn't until a few years ago, after I had started collecting vinyl, that I discovered that the black cover wasn't the original album cover. I was shocked! Yeah, I'm a little slow sometimes....

  2. I have this album on Ratcage but it is not a gatefold. Does anyone know anything about this? If it is a bootleg it is the most faithful I have ever seen. Everything is exact even down to the labels and insert which looks exactly like the inside of the gatefold version. It is so exact that if it is a bootleg I wonder why the manufacturer didn't just make it a gatefold since they were clearly trying to pass it off as an original. The only thing missing is the Important distro label. I really hate bootlegs of studio releases...I'd rather have a CD version than a bootleg LP...

  3. don't have any version of this. as you say, it seems impossible to find a copy of either version in anything like good condition.

  4. that first press is ill it'd look great next my first press cause for alarm oh well i guess ill have some fun finding that

  5. Hey Heavy Metal Librarian... Have you already find out about this bootleg? Because a guy on ebay is selling this and i'm curious.... Is the first pressings only gatefold?