Hardcore punk (often abbreviated to hardcore) is a punk rock music
genre and subculture that originated in the late 1970s. It is
generally faster, harder, and more aggressive than other forms of punk
rock. Its roots can be traced to earlier punk scenes in San
Southern California which arose as a reaction against
the still predominant hippie cultural climate of the time. It was also
inspired by New York punk rock and early proto-punk. New York punk
had a harder-edged sound than its
San Francisco counterpart, featuring
anti-art expressions of masculine anger, energy and subversive humor.
Hardcore punk generally disavows commercialism, the established music
industry and "anything similar to the characteristics of mainstream
rock" and often addresses social and political topics with
"confrontational, politically-charged lyrics".
Hardcore sprouted underground scenes across the United States in the
early 1980s, particularly in Washington, D.C., New York, New Jersey,
and Boston—as well as in Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom.
Hardcore has spawned the straight edge movement and its associated
submovements, hardline and youth crew. Hardcore was heavily involved
in the rise of the independent record labels in the 1980s and with the
DIY ethics in underground music scenes. It has also influenced various
music genres that have experienced widespread commercial success,
including alternative rock, thrash metal, emo and metalcore.
While traditional hardcore has never experienced mainstream commercial
success, some of its early pioneers have garnered appreciation over
time. Black Flag's Damaged, Minutemen's
Double Nickels on the Dime
Double Nickels on the Dime and
New Day Rising
New Day Rising were included in Rolling Stone's list of
The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time in 2003 and
Dead Kennedys have
seen one of their albums reach gold status over a period of 25
years. In 2011,
Rolling Stone writer David Fricke placed Greg Ginn
of Black Flag 99th place in his 100 Greatest Guitarists list. Although
the music genre started in English-speaking western countries, notable
hardcore scenes have existed in Italy, Brazil, Japan, Europe and the
1 Origin of term
2.1 Musical characteristics
4 Clothing style
6.1 Late 1970s-early 1980s
6.1.1 United States
184.108.40.206 Los Angeles
220.127.116.11 San Francisco
18.104.22.168 Washington, D.C.
22.214.171.124 New York
126.96.36.199 Other American cities
6.1.3 United Kingdom
6.1.5 Other countries
6.3 Late 1980s
6.3.1 Youth crew
7 Subgenres and fusion genres
Emo and post-hardcore
7.1.3 Heavy hardcore
7.2 Fusion genres
8 Influence on other genres
8.1 Alternative rock
8.3 Electronic music
8.4 Sludge metal
9 See also
Origin of term
Steven Blush states that the Vancouver-based band D.O.A.'s 1981 album,
Hardcore '81 "...was where the genre got its name." This album
also helped to make people aware of the term "hardcore".
Konstantin Butz states that while the origin of the expression
"hardcore" "...cannot be ascribed to a specific place or time", the
term is "...usually associated with the further evolution of
California's L.A. Punk Rock scene", which included young
skateboarders. A September 1981 article by
Tim Sommer shows the
author applying the term to the "15 or so" punk bands gigging around
the city at that time, which he considered a belated development
relative to Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington D.C.
Steven Blush said that the term "hardcore" is also
a reference to the sense of being "fed up" with the existing punk and
new wave music. Blush also states that the term refers to "an
extreme: the absolute most Punk."
Kelefa Sanneh states that the term "hardcore" referred to an attitude
of "turning inwards" towards the scene and "ignoring broader society",
all with the goal of achieving a sense of "shared purpose" and being
part of a community. Sanneh cites Agnostic Front's band member
selection approach as an example of hardcore's emphasis on "scene
citizenship"; prospective members of the band were chosen based on
being part of the local hardcore scene and being regularly in the
moshing pit at shows, rather than based on a musical audition.
Joy de Vivre
Joy de Vivre from the influential UK anarcho-punk band
Crass at a 1984
An article in Drowned in Sound argues that 1980s-era "hardcore is the
true spirit of punk", because "after all the poseurs and fashionistas
fucked off to the next trend of skinny pink ties with New Romantic
haircuts, singing wimpy lyrics", the punk scene consisted only of
people "completely dedicated to the
DIY ethics". One definition of
the genre is "a form of exceptionally harsh punk rock." Like the
Oi! subgenre of the UK, hardcore punk can be considered an internal
music reaction. Hardcore has been called a "...faster, meaner genre"
of punk that was also a "stern refutation" of punk rock; a "rebellion
against a rebellion".
Steven Blush states that even though punk
rock had an "unruly edge", "Reagan-era kids demanded something even
more primal and immediate, with speed and aggression as the starting
According to one writer, "distressed by the 'art'ificiality [sic] of
much post-punk and the emasculated sellouts of new wave, hardcore
sought to strengthen its core punk principles." Lacking the
art-school grace of post-punk, hardcore punk "favor[ed] low key visual
aesthetic over extravagance and breaking with original punk rock song
patterns." Hardcore "...disavows...synthetic technological
effects...[and] the recording industry." Around 1980, as punk
became "moribund" and radio-friendly, angry "shorn-headed suburban
teenagers" discarded new wave's artistic statements and pop music
influences and created a new genre, hardcore, for which there were no
places to play, which forced the performers to create independent and
DIY venues. Music writer
Barney Hoskyns compared punk rock with
hardcore and stated that hardcore was "younger, faster and angrier,
full of the pent up rage of dysfunctional Orange County [(Los
Angeles)] adolescents" who were sick of their life in a "bland
Republican" area. While the hardcore scene was mostly young white
males, both onstage and in the audience, there are notable
exceptions, such as the all-
Bad Brains and
notable women such as
Joy de Vivre
Joy de Vivre and Black Flag's
second bassist, Kira Roessler.
Steven Blush states that Minor Threat's
Ian MacKaye "set in motion a
die-hard mindset that begat almost everything we now call Hardcore"
with his "virulent anti-[music] industry, anti-star, pro-scene
exhortations." One of the important philosophies in the hardcore
scene is authenticity. The pejorative term "poseur" is applied to
those who associate with punk and adopt its stylistic attributes but
are deemed not to share or understand the underlying values and
philosophy. Joe Keithley, the vocalist of D.O.A. said in an interview:
"For every person sporting an anarchy symbol without understanding it
there’s an older punk who thinks they’re a poseur."
Singer Nuno Pereira performing at a
A Wilhelm Scream
A Wilhelm Scream show.
In the vein of earlier punk rock, most hardcore punk bands have
followed the traditional singer/guitar/bass/drum format. The
songwriting has more emphasis on rhythm rather than melody. Critic
Steven Blush writes "The
Sex Pistols were still rock'n'roll...like the
craziest version of Chuck Berry. Hardcore was a radical departure from
that. It wasn't verse-chorus rock. It dispelled any notion of what
songwriting is supposed to be. It's its own form." According to
AllMusic, the overall blueprint for hardcore was playing louder,
harder and faster. Hardcore was a reaction to the "cosmopolitan
art-school" style of new wave music. Hardcore "eschew[ed] nuance,
technique, [and] the avant-garde", and instead emphasized "speed and
rhythmic intensity" using unpredictable song forms and abrupt tempo
The impact of powerful volume is important in hardcore. Noisey
magazine describes one hardcore band as "...an all-encompassing,
full-volume assault" in which "...[e]very instrument sounds like it's
competing for the most power and highest volume." Scott Wilson
states that the hardcore of the
Bad Brains emphasized two elements:
"off-the-charts" loudness which reached a level of threatening,
powerful "uncompromising noise" and rhythm, in place of the typically
focused-on elements in mainstream rock music, harmony and pitch (i.e.,
Hardcore vocalists often shout, scream or chant along with the
music, using "vocal intensity" and an abrasive tone.  The
shouting of hardcore vocalists is often accompanied by audience
members who are singing along, making the hardcore vocalist like the
"leader of a mob".
Steven Blush describes one early Minor Threat
show where the crowd was singing the lyrics so loud they could be
heard over the PA system. Hardcore vocal lines are often based on
minor scales  and songs may include shouted background vocals from
the other band members. Hardcore lyrics expressed the "frustration and
political disillusionment" of youth who were against 1980s-era
affluence, consumerism, greed, Reagan politics and authority. The
polarizing socio-political messages in hardcore lyrics (and outrageous
on-stage behaviour) meant that the genre garnered no mainstream
Youth of Today
Youth of Today at a 2010 show. A large 8x10" bass amp speaker stack
can be seen onstage.
In hardcore, guitarists frequently play fast power chords with a
heavily distorted and amplified tone, creating what has been called a
"buzzsaw" sound. Guitar parts can sometimes be complex,
technically versatile, and rhythmically challenging. Hardcore
guitarists use some approaches that are similar to their thrash
counterparts: "...very high output pickups", "lots of upper midrange",
"a full, bass-heavy" tone and the use of both guitar amp distortion
and a "
Tube Screamer or similar overdrive pedal", but without speaker
distortion. Guitar melody lines usually use the same minor scales
used by vocalists (although some solos use pentatonic scales).
Hardcore guitarists sometimes play solos, octave leads and grooves, as
well as tapping into the various feedback and harmonic noises
available to them. There are generally fewer guitar solos in hardcore
than in mainstream rock, because solos were viewed as representing the
"excess and superficiality" of mainstream commercial rock.
Hardcore bassists use varied rhythms in their basslines, ranging from
longer held notes (whole notes and half notes) to quarter notes, to
rapid eighth note or sixteenth note runs. To play rapid bass lines
that would be hard to play with the fingers, some bassists use a
pick. </ref> Some bassists play fuzz bass by overdriving
their bass tone.
Hardcore drumming, with the drummer hitting the drums hard, has been
called the "engine" and most essential element of the genre's
aggressive sound of "unrelenting anger".  Two other key elements
for hardcore drummers are playing "tight" with the other musicians,
especially the bassist (this does not mean metronomic time; indeed
coordinated tempo shifts are used in many important hardcore albums)
and the drummer should have listened to a lot of hardcore, so that she
or he can understand the "raw emotions" it expresses. Lucky
Lehrer, the drummer and co-founder of the
Circle Jerks in 1979, was an
early developer of hardcore drumming; he has been called the
"Godfather of hardcore drumming" and Flipside zine calls him the best
punk drummer. According to Tobias Hurwitz, '[h]ardcore drumming
falls somewhere between the straight-ahead rock styles of old-school
punk and the frantic, warp-speed bashing of thrash." Some hardcore
punk drummers play fast
D beat one moment and then drop tempo into
elaborate musical breakdowns in the next. Drummers typically play
eighth notes on the cymbals, because at the tempos used in hardcore it
would be difficult to play a smaller subdivision of the beat.
See also: Punk ideologies
Punk fans burning a United States flag in the 1980s.
Hardcore punk lyrics often express anti-establishment,
anti-militarist, anti-authoritarian, anti-violence, and
pro-environmentalist sentiments, in addition to other typically
left-wing, anarchist, or egalitarian political views. During the
1980s, the subculture often rejected what was perceived to be "yuppie"
materialism and interventionist American foreign policy. Numerous
hardcore punk bands have taken far left political stances such as
anarchism or other varieties of socialism and in the 1980s expressed
opposition to political leaders such as then US president Ronald
Reagan and British prime minister Margaret Thatcher. Reagan's economic
policies, sometimes dubbed "Reaganomics", and social conservatism were
common subjects for criticism by hardcore bands of the time.
Jimmy Gestapo of Murphy's Law, however, endorsed Reagan and even went
as far to call then former-president
Jimmy Carter a "pussy" in a 1986
New York Magazine
New York Magazine cover story. Shortly after Reagan's death in
Maximumrocknroll radio show aired an episode composed of
anti-Reagan songs by early hardcore punk bands.
Certain hardcore punk bands have conveyed messages sometimes deemed
"politically incorrect" by placing offensive content in their lyrics
and relying on stage antics to shock listeners and people in their
audience. Boston band the F.U.'s generated controversy with their 1983
album, "My America", whose lyrics contained what appeared to be
conservative and patriotic views. Its messages were sometimes taken
literally, when they were actually intended as a parody of
conservative bands. Another act from Massachusetts, Vile, were
known to insult women, minorities and homosexuals in their lyrics and
would even go as far as putting their albums on the windshields of
people's cars. On the other hand,
Tim Yohannan and the influential
punk rock fanzine
Maximumrocknroll were criticized by some punks for
acting as the "politically correct scene police" and having what
was perceived to be "a very narrow definition of what fits into Punk"
and apparently being "authoritarian and trying to dominate the scene"
with their views.
During the 2001–2009 United States presidency of George W. Bush, it
was not uncommon for hardcore bands to express anti-Bush messages.
During the 2004 United States presidential election, several hardcore
punk artists and bands were involved with the anti-Bush political
activist group PunkVoter. A minority of hardcore musicians
have expressed right wing views, such as the band Antiseen, whose
guitarist Joe Young ran for public office as a North Carolina
Libertarian. Former Misfits singer
Michale Graves appeared on an
episode of The Daily Show, voicing support for George W. Bush.
Conservative Punk was an American website that attempted to merge
right-wing politics with the punk subculture.
Further information: Moshing
The early 1980s hardcore punk scene developed slam dancing (also
called moshing), a style of dance in which participants push or slam
into each other, and stage diving.
Moshing works as a vehicle for
expressing anger by "represent[ing] a way of playing at violence or
roughness that allowed participants to mark their difference from the
banal niceties of middle-class culture."
Moshing is in another way
a "parody of violence," that nevertheless leaves participants
bruised and sometimes bleeding. The term mosh came into use in the
early 1980s American hardcore scene in
Washington, D.C. A performance
by Fear on the 1981
Halloween episode of
Saturday Night Live
Saturday Night Live was cut
short when slam dancers, including
John Belushi and members of a few
hardcore punk bands, invaded the stage, damaged studio equipment and
used profanity. Those band members included John Joseph and
Harley Flanagan of
John Brannon of
Negative Approach and
Ian Mackaye of Minor Threat. Other early examples of American
hardcore dancing can be seen in the documentaries Another State of
Mind, Urban Struggle, The Decline of Western Civilization, American
Hardcore, and 30 Years of Northwest Punk.
Mike Watt, formerly the bassist for the Minutemen in a 2013 show.
Many North American hardcore punk fans adopted a dressed-down style of
T-shirts, jeans, combat boots or sneakers and crewcut-style haircuts.
Women in the hardcore scene typically wore army pants, band T-shirts
and hooded sweatshirts. The clothing style was a reflection of
hardcore ideology, which included dissatisfaction with suburban
America and the hypocrisy of American culture. It was essentially
deconstruction of American fashion staples—ripped jeans, holey
T-shirts, torn stockings for women, and work boots. The style of
the 1980s hardcore scene contrasted with the more provocative fashion
styles of late 1970s punk rockers (elaborate hairdos, torn clothes,
patches, safety pins, studs, spikes, etc.).
Siri C. Brockmeier writes that "hardcore kids do not look like punks",
since hardcore scene members wore basic clothing and short haircuts,
in contrast to the "embellished leather jackets and pants" worn in the
punk scene. Lauraine Leblanc, however, claims that the standard
hardcore punk clothing and styles included torn jeans, leather
jackets, spiked armbands and dog collars and mohawk hairstyles and DIY
ornamentation of clothes with studs, painted band names, political
statements, and patches. Tiffini A. Travis and Perry Hardy
describe the look that was common in the
San Francisco hardcore scene
as consisting of biker-style leather jackets, chains, studded
wristbands, multiple piercings, painted or tattooed statements (e.g.,
an anarchy symbol) and hairstyles ranging from military-style haircuts
dyed black or blonde to mohawks and shaved heads.
Circle Jerks frontman
Keith Morris wrote: "the ... punk scene was
basically based on English fashion. But we had nothing to do with
that. Black Flag and the
Circle Jerks were so far from that. We looked
like the kid who worked at the gas station or sub. shop." Henry
Rollins stated that for him, getting dressed up meant putting on a
black shirt and some dark pants; Rollins viewed an interest in fashion
as being a distraction.
Jimmy Gestapo from Murphy's Law describes
his own transition from dressing in a punk style (spiked hair and a
bondage belt) to adopting a hardcore style (shaved head and boots) as
being based on needing more functional clothing.
UK and US zines
In the pre-Internet era, fanzines, commonly called zines, enabled
hardcore scene members to learn about bands, clubs, and record labels.
Zines typically included reviews of shows and records, interviews with
bands, letters, and ads for records and labels.
Zines were DIY
products, "proudly amateur, usually handmade, and always independent"
and in the "’90s, zines were the primary way to stay up on punk and
hardcore." They acted as the "blogs, comment sections, and social
networks of their day."
In the American Midwest, the zine Touch and Go described the Midwest
hardcore scene from 1979 to 1983. We Got Power described the LA scene
from 1981 to 1984, and it included show reviews and band interviews
with groups including D.O.A., the Misfits, Black Flag, Suicidal
Tendencies and the Circle Jerks. My Rules was a photo zine that
included photos of hardcore shows from across the US. In Effect, which
began in 1988, described the
New York City
New York City scene. By 1990, Maximum
Rocknroll "had become the de facto bible of the scene." Maximum
Rocknroll is a thick, monthly, newsprint magazine with subscriptions
in many countries all over the world. MRR had a "passionate yet
dogmatic view" of what hardcore was supposed to be, while HeartattaCk
and Profane Existence were "even more religious about their DIY
ethos." HeartattaCk was mainly about emo and post-hardcore. Profane
Existence was mostly about crust punk. The Bay Area zine Cometbus
"captured an entire dimension of ’90s punk culture that provided
necessary roughage compared to the empty calories of mainstream
Warped Tour narrative."
Other 1990 zines included Gearhead, Slug and Lettuce and Riot Grrrl.
 In Canada, the zine Standard Issue chronicles the Ottawa hardcore
scene. With the arrival of the Internet, some hardcore punk zines
became available online. One example is the e-zine chronicling the
Australian hardcore scene, RestAssured.
Late 1970s-early 1980s
Michael Azerrad states that "[b]y 1979 the original punk scene [in
Southern California] had almost completely died out." "They were
replaced by a bunch of toughs coming in from outlying suburbs who were
only beginning to discover punk's speed, power and
aggression";"[d]ispensing with all pretension, these kids boiled the
music down to its essence, then revved up the tempos...and called the
result "hardcore", creating a music that was "younger, faster and
angrier, [and] full of...pent-up rage..." Hardcore historian
Steven Blush states that for West coasters, the first hardcore record
Out of Vogue
Out of Vogue by the Santa Ana band Middle Class. The band
pioneered a shouted, fast version of punk rock which would shape the
hardcore sound that would soon emerge. In terms of impact upon the
hardcore scene, Black Flag has been deemed the most influential group.
Michael Azerrad, author of Our Band Could Be Your Life, calls Black
Flag the "godfathers" of hardcore punk and states that even "...more
than the flagship band of American hardcore", they were "...required
listening for anyone who was interested in underground music."
Blush states that Black Flag defined American hardcore in the same way
Sex Pistols defined punk. Formed in Hermosa Beach,
California by guitarist and lyricist Greg Ginn, they played their
first show in December 1977. Originally called Panic, they changed
their name to Black Flag in 1978. Black Flag's sound mixed the raw
simplicity of the
Ramones with atonal guitar solos and frequent tempo
Black Flag performing live in 1984
Sample of Black Flag "Nervous Breakdown" from Nervous Breakdown EP
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By 1979, Black Flag were joined by other Los Angeles-area bands
playing hardcore punk, including Fear, the Germs, and the Circle Jerks
(featuring Black Flag's original singer, Keith Morris). This group of
bands was featured in Penelope Spheeris' 1981 documentary The Decline
of Western Civilization. By the time the film was released, other
hardcore bands were making a name for themselves in
Los Angeles and
neighboring Orange County, including The Adolescents, Angry Samoans,
Bad Religion, Dr. Know, Ill Repute, Minutemen, New Regime, Suicidal
Tendencies, T.S.O.L., Wasted Youth, and Youth Brigade.
Whilst popular traditional punk bands such as the Ramones, The Clash,
Sex Pistols were signed to major record labels, the hardcore punk
bands were generally not. Black Flag, however, was briefly signed to
MCA subsidiary Unicorn Records, but were dropped because an executive
considered their music to be "anti-parent". Instead of trying to
be courted by the major labels, hardcore bands started their own
independent record labels and distributed their records themselves.
Ginn started SST Records, which released Black Flag's debut EP Nervous
Breakdown in 1979. SST went on to release a number of albums by other
hardcore artists, and was described by Azerrad as "easily the most
influential and popular underground indie of the Eighties." SST
was followed by a number of other successful artist-run
BYO Records (started by Shawn and Mark Stern of
Epitaph Records (started by
Brett Gurewitz of Bad
New Alliance Records (started by the Minutemen's D.
Boon)—as well as fan-run labels like
Frontier Records and Slash
Bands also funded and organized their own tours. Black Flag's tours in
1980 and 1981 brought them in contact with developing hardcore scenes
in many parts of North America, and blazed trails that were followed
by other touring bands. Concerts in the early Los Angeles
hardcore scene increasingly became sites of violent battles between
police and concertgoers. Another source of violence in LA was tension
created by what one writer calls the invasion of "antagonistic
suburban poseurs" into hardcore venues. Violence at hardcore
concerts was portrayed in episodes of the popular television shows
CHiPs and Quincy, M.E.
Jello Biafra performing with the Dead Kennedys
Shortly after Black Flag debuted in Los Angeles,
Dead Kennedys were
formed in San Francisco. While the band's early releases were played
in a style closer to traditional punk rock, In God We Trust, Inc.
(1981) marked a shift into hardcore. Similar to Black Flag and Youth
Dead Kennedys released their albums on their own label, which
in DK's case was Alternative Tentacles. While not as large as the
scene in Los Angeles, the
San Francisco Bay Area hardcore scene of the
1980s included a number of noteworthy bands, including Crucifix,
Flipper, and Whipping Boy.
Additionally, during this time, seminal Texas-based bands The Dicks,
MDC, Verbal Abuse, and
Dirty Rotten Imbeciles (D.R.I.) relocated to
San Francisco. This scene was helped in particular by the San
Francisco club Mabuhay Gardens, whose promoter, Dirk Dirksen, became
known as "The Pope of Punk". Another important local institution
was Tim Yohannan's fanzine, Maximumrocknroll, as well as his show on
Berkeley, California public radio station
KPFA Maximum RocknRoll Radio
Show, which played the younger
Northern California bands. One of those
bands was Tales of Terror from Sacramento. Many, including Mark Arm,
cite Tales of Terror as a key inspiration for the then-burgeoning
Washington, D.C. hardcore
Bad Brains at 9:30 Club, Washington, D.C., 1983
The first hardcore punk band to form on the east coast of the United
States was Washington, D.C.'s Bad Brains. Initially formed in 1977 as
a jazz fusion ensemble called Mind Power, and consisting of all
African-American members, their early foray into hardcore featured
some of the fastest tempos in rock music. The band released its
debut single, "Pay to Cum", in 1980, and were influential in
establishing the D.C. hardcore scene. Hardcore historian Steven Blush
calls the single the first East coast hardcore record.
Pay to Cum
Sample of Bad Brain's "Pay to Cum"
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Ian MacKaye and Jeff Nelson, influenced by Bad Brains, formed the band
Teen Idles in 1979. The group broke up in 1980, and MacKaye and Nelson
went on to form Minor Threat, who became a big influence on the
hardcore punk genre. The band used faster rhythms and more aggressive,
less melodic riffs than was common at the time. Minor Threat
popularized the straight edge movement with its song "Straight Edge",
which spoke out against alcohol, drugs and promiscuity.
MacKaye and Nelson ran their own record label, Dischord Records, which
released records by D.C. hardcore bands including: The Faith, Iron
Cross, Scream, State of Alert, Government Issue, Void, and DC's Youth
Flex Your Head
Flex Your Head compilation was a seminal document of the
early 1980s DC hardcore scene. The record label was run out of the
Dischord House, a
Washington, D.C. punk house.
Boston hardcore bands included Jerry's Kids, Gang Green, The
F.U.'s, SS Decontrol, Negative FX,
The Freeze and Siege. A faction of
the scene was influenced by D.C.'s straight edge scene. Members of
bands such as DYS, Negative FX, and
SS Decontrol formed the Boston
Crew, a militant straight edge group that frequently assaulted punks
who drank alcohol or used drugs. The controversy surrounding this crew
and their antics sparked a debate about violence within the hardcore
scene. In the late 1980s,
Elgin James became involved in the militant
faction of the Boston straight edge scene, and he later helped found
the organization Friends Stand United, which would eventually be
classified as a street gang. In 1982, Modern Method Records
released This Is Boston, Not L.A., a seminal compilation album of the
Boston hardcore scene. The compilation included songs by The
Proletariat, The Freeze, The F.U.'s, Jerry's Kids and Gang Green.
Taang! Records was also pivotal in releasing material
by bands from this era.
Main article: New York hardcore
Facade of the music club
CBGB in New York City
New York City
New York City hardcore scene emerged in 1981 when
Bad Brains moved
to the city from Washington, D.C. Starting in 1981, there was
an influx of new hardcore bands in the city, including Beastie Boys,
Agnostic Front and Warzone. A number of bands associated
New York hardcore
New York hardcore scene came from New Jersey, including Misfits,
Adrenalin OD and Hogan's Heroes.
Steven Blush calls the
Misfits "crucial to the rise of hardcore."
New York hardcore
New York hardcore had
more emphasis on rhythm, in part due to the use of palm-muted guitar
chords, an approach called the NY hardcore "chug".  The New York
scene was known for its tough ethos, its "thuggery", and club shows
that were a chaotic "proving ground" or even a "battleground". 
In the early 1980s, the
New York hardcore
New York hardcore scene centred around squats
and clubhouses. After the squats were closed down, the scene was
headquartered in a small after-hours bar, A7, on the lower east side
of Manhattan. Later, New York's hardcore scene was centered around the
bar CBGB, whose owner, Hilly Kristal, embraced hardcore punk. The Dead
Boys, originally from Cleveland but gained popularity in New York
played at Hilly's club often and he even managed them. For several
CBGB held weekly hardcore matinees on Sundays. This stopped in
1990 when violence led Kristal to ban hardcore shows at the club.
Agnostic Front performing.
Early radio support in New York's surrounding
Tri state area
Tri state area came from
Pat Duncan, who had hosted live punk and hardcore bands weekly on WFMU
since 1979. Bridgeport, Connecticut's
WPKN had a radio show
featuring hardcore called Capital Radio, hosted by Brad Morrison,
beginning in February 1979 and continuing weekly until late 1983. In
New York City,
Tim Sommer hosted Noise The Show on WNYU. In 1982,
Bob Sallese produced
The Big Apple Rotten To The Core
The Big Apple Rotten To The Core compilation on
S.I.N. Records, featuring The Mob, Ism and four other bands from the
early A7 era. The album gained notoriety on the commercial radio
station WLIR, and nationally on college radio. The LP was followed by
The Big Apple Rotten To The Core, Vol. 2 in 1987 on Raw Power Records.
Other American cities
"Martha Splatterhead", the mascot for Washington state band The
Minneapolis hardcore consisted of bands such as
Hüsker Dü and The
Chicago had Articles of Faith,
Big Black and Naked
Detroit area was home to Crucifucks, Degenerates, The
Meatmen, Necros, Negative Approach, Spite and Violent Apathy. JFA and
Meat Puppets were both from Phoenix, Arizona;, 7 Seconds were from
Reno, Nevada; and Butthole Surfers, Big Boys, The Dicks, Dirty Rotten
Imbeciles (D.R.I.), Really Red,
Verbal Abuse and MDC were from Texas.
Portland, Oregon hardcore punk bands included Poison Idea, Final
Warning and The Wipers. Hardcore bands in Washington state included
The Accüsed, The Fartz, Melvins, The Dehumanizers, Subvert, and 10
Hardcore punk from
Raleigh, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina included
Corrosion of Conformity.
Hardcore punk from South Carolina included
Bored Suburban Youth (Columbia), Scott Free (Myrtle Beach), Bazooka
Joe (Myrtle Beach), Sex Mutants (Florence), Civilian Chaos Corps
(Charleston), and Uncalled Four (Charleston).
Dayton, Ohio had Toxic
Main article: Canadian hardcore punk
D.O.A. formed in
Vancouver, British Columbia
Vancouver, British Columbia in 1978 and were one of
the first bands to refer to its style as "hardcore", with the release
of their album Hardcore '81. Other early hardcore bands from British
Columbia included Dayglo Abortions, the Subhumans and The Skulls. In
Dayglo Abortions became the center of national media
attention when a police officer instigated a criminal investigation of
the band after his daughter brought home a copy of Here Today, Guano
Tomorrow. Obscenity charges were laid against the Dayglo Abortion’s
record label, Fringe Product, and the label's record store, Record
Peddler, but those charges were cleared in 1990.
Nomeansno is a hardcore band originally from Victoria, British
Columbia and now located in Vancouver.
SNFU formed in
Edmonton in 1981
and also later relocated to Vancouver.
Bunchofuckingoofs (BFGs), from
Kensington Market neighbourhood of Toronto, Ontario, formed in
November 1983 as a response to "a local war with glue huffing Nazi
Fucked Up is a
Toronto band which won the 2009 Polaris
Music Prize for the album The Chemistry of Common Life. One early
Montreal hardcore band is The Asexuals, a mainstay of the Montreal
punk scene in the 1980s.
The UK anarcho-punk and
Antisect playing in Brighton in
In the United Kingdom a fertile hardcore scene took root early on.
Referred to under a number of names including "U.K. Hardcore", "UK
82", "second wave punk", "real punk", and "No Future
punk", it took the previous punk sound and added the incessant,
heavy drumbeats and heavily distorted guitar sound of new wave of
British heavy metal bands, especially Motörhead. Formed in 1977
in Stoke-on-Trent, Discharge played a huge role in influencing other
European hardcore bands.
AllMusic calls the band's sound a "high-speed
noise overload" characterized by "ferocious noise blasts." Their
style of hardcore punk was coined as D-beat, a term referring to a
distinctive drum beat that a number of 1980s imitators of Discharge
are associated with. Formed in 1976, the hardcore
UK Subs were an
early example of street punk which would become very visible
throughout the 'Eighties, with its distinctive mohawks, tattoos,
studded vests and leather jackets, and clothing adorned with political
slogans. The following year saw the emergence of Crass, with their
politicised and creative anarcho-punk thrust. Conflict, formed a few
years later in '81, were another standard bearer of this sub-genre.
Another UK band, The Varukers, were one of the original D-beat
bands, and Sweden in particular produced a number of
during this time period including Anti-Cimex, Disfear, and Totalitär.
The Exploited were also influential, with the term "UK
82" (used to refer to
UK hardcore in the early 1980s) being taken from
one of their songs. They contrasted with early American hardcore bands
by placing an emphasis on appearance. Frontman Walter "Wattie" Buchan
had a giant red mohawk and the band continued to wear swastikas, an
approach influenced by the wearing of this symbol by 1970s punks such
as Sid Vicious. Because of this,
The Exploited were labeled by others
in the scene as "cartoon punks". Other influential UK hardcore
bands from this period included Broken Bones, Chaos UK, Charged GBH,
Dogsflesh, Disorder, Anti-Establishment, English Dogs, and grindcore
innovators Napalm Death.
Main article: Australian hardcore
Australian hardcore bands began appearing in the mid-1980s. Massappeal
Sydney began performing in 1985 and released its first album in
Where's the Pope? formed in 1985 and released
their first album in 1987. Other
Australian hardcore bands
Mindsnare (formed in 1993),
Break Even and
50 Lions (formed in
2005), Iron Mind (formed in 2006), and Confession (formed in 2008).
Australian hardcore is played on the national
Triple J network on the
Veganism and straight edge beliefs are
becoming more prominent in the hardcore scene, particularly in
Adelaide. Labels that release hardcore include Broken Hive
Records, El Shaddai Records,
Resist Records and
Hardcore scenes also developed in Italy, Spain and other European
countries, Brazil, Japan, and the Middle East.
The Kominas at a
Chicago show in 2007.
There was a dynamic
Italian hardcore punk scene in the 1980s. Inspired
by UK bands such as
Crass and Discharge, many Italian groups had
lyrics that were anti-war and anti-NATO. Groups included Wretched, Raw
Power, and Negazione. The
Last White Christmas festival, held in Pisa
on Dec. 4, 1983, was an important concert for Italian groups (CCM, I
Refuse It!, Raw Power, Purid Fever, War Dogs). Sweden developed
several influential hardcore bands, including
Mob 47 and Anti Cimex,
whose music has also inspired many foreign bands. Since the early
1990s, many Swedish groups were
D-beat "tribute bands" to groups such
as UK's Discharge. A hardcore scene that emerged in
Umeå and other
northern cities in the 1990s, with bands such as
Refused (Umeå) and
Raised Fist (Luleå). Finland produced some influential hardcore
bands, including Terveet Kädet, one of the first hardcore groups to
emerge in the country. In Eastern Europe notable hardcore bands
Galloping Coroners from 1975, Yugoslavia's
Niet from Ljubljana,
KUD Idijoti from Pula, and KBO!.
In Brazil, the hardcore scene was jump started with the opening of a
punk record shop called Punk Rock Discos in São Paulo in 1979. By the
early 1980s, the store was bringing records from British bands like
Discharge and Disorder as well as Swedish and Finnish hardcore. Around
1981, punk gigs were happening often around São Paulo, where there
were already dozens of active bands, mostly playing hardcore punk and
similar styles, most importantly
Cólera and Inocentes.
Japanese hardcore scene arose to protest the social and economic
changes sweeping the country in the late 1970s and during the 1980s.
The band SS is regarded as the first, forming in 1977. Bands such
The Stalin and
GISM soon followed, both forming in 1980. Other
Japanese hardcore bands include: Balzac,
Disclose (a D-beat
band), Garlic Boys, Gauze, SOB, and The Star Club.
In recent years, Muslim hardcore bands have emerged in the US, Canada,
Pakistan, and Indonesia. The development of Muslim hardcore has been
traced to the impact of a 2010 film Taqwacore, a documentary about the
Muslim hardcore scene. Bands include "
The Kominas from Boston, the
Secret Trial Five
Secret Trial Five from Toronto,
Al Thawra (The Power) from
Chicago and even a few bands out in Pakistan and Indonesia."
Corrosion of Conformity
Corrosion of Conformity playing in Denver in 1986
The mid-1980s were a time of transition for the hardcore scene. Bands
such as Hüsker Dü, Articles of Faith, and new bands formed by
members of bands like
Deep Wound and Minutemen experimented with other
genres and were embraced by college radio, coining the term "College
Rock". Many Boston bands such as SS Decontrol, Gang Green, DYS, and
The F.U.'s, as well as Midwestern hardcore bands Necros, Negative
The Meatmen moved in a slower, heavier hard rock
Crossover thrash was another influential movement in
mid-1980s hardcore, with bands like D.R.I., Corrosion of Conformity,
Suicidal Tendencies, Los Cycos, Cro-Mags, Fang, Agnostic Front, Rich
Kids on LSD,
The Accüsed and
Cryptic Slaughter embracing the thrash
metal of bands like Slayer. Most of the
Washington, D.C. hardcore
scene eschewed hardcore in favor of a college rock-influenced style of
By the mid to late 1980s, many of the most prominent early hardcore
punk bands had broken up.
Bad Religion made a progressive rock album
with Into the Unknown, the
Beastie Boys gained fame by playing
hip hop, and
Bad Brains incorporated more reggae into their music,
such as in their 1989 album Quickness.
Social Distortion went on
hiatus after its first album was released, due to Mike Ness's drug
problems, and returned with a sound based more on country music, which
was referred to as cowpunk.
During the late 1980s in New York City, influenced by original
straight edge bands 7 Seconds, Minor Threat, Bl'ast, and Uniform
Choice, bands spearheaded a youth crew movement. An extension to the
original pioneers' groundwork of lyrically expressing views against
drugs, alcohol and promiscuous sex, this rebirth also focused on
issues such as vegetarianism or veganism. In the late 1980s, NYC
bands associated with youth crew included Bold, Gorilla Biscuits, Side
by Side, and Youth of Today, and in Southern California, bands such as
Chain of Strength and Inside Out.
Mathcore band Dillinger Escape Plan
In the beginning of the 1990s, bands such as Born Against, Rorschach,
Drive Like Jehu
Drive Like Jehu took the 1980s styles of hardcore and pushed
them into more contemporary sounds. Many of the bands from this era
were strongly influenced by other genres, such as heavy metal,
alternative, pop, and even rap. Hardcore subsequently became a broad
term, as a variety of different genres arose, such as melodic hardcore
(Avail, Lifetime, Kid Dynamite), emo (Endpoint, Saves the Day), D-beat
(Avskum, Aus Rotten, Skitsystem), powerviolence (Spazz, Dropdead,
Charles Bronson), thrashcore (What Happens Next?, Voorhees, Vivisick),
mathcore (The Dillinger Escape Plan, Botch, Converge), screamo
(Heroin, Antioch Arrow, Portraits of Past, Swing Kids) and rapcore
While the 1990s had many different sounds and styles emerging, the
genre primarily branched into two directions; new school metallic
hardcore (also referred as metalcore), which incorporated aspects of
thrash metal and death metal for a heavier and more technical sound,
and old school, reminiscent of the classic beginnings of hardcore
punk. "New school" bands such as Strung Out, Earth Crisis, Snapcase,
Strife, Hatebreed, 108, Integrity and
Damnation A.D. dominated the
scene in the early 1990s, but towards the end of the decade, a
new-found interest in "old school" had developed, represented by bands
like Battery, Ten Yard Fight, In My Eyes, Good Clean Fun, H2O and
Better Than a Thousand. As usage of the Internet
became a mainstream tool, music festivals such as Hellfest were born.
Many of the bands during this time wrote lyrics about abstinence from
drugs, politics, civil rights, animal rights and spirituality.
With the increased popularity of punk rock in the mid-1990s and the
2000s, some hardcore bands signed with major record labels. The first
was New York's H2O, who released its album Go (2001) for MCA. Despite
an extensive tour and an appearance on Late Night with Conan O'Brien,
the album was not commercially successful, and when the label folded,
the band and the label parted ways. In 2002, California's AFI signed
DreamWorks Records and changed its sound considerably for its
successful major label debut Sing the Sorrow. Chicago's Rise Against
were signed by Geffen Records, and three of its releases on the label
were certified platinum by the RIAA.
Rise Against gradually
diminished hardcore elements from their music, culminating with 2008's
Appeal to Reason, which lacked the intensity found in their earlier
albums. Notable independent label
Bridge 9 Records have seen
several of their artists rise to prominence, including Defeater, Verse
and Have Heart, who had a Billboard chart entry with their second
album, 'Songs To Scream At The Sun'.
United Kingdom band Gallows were signed to
Warner Bros. Records
Warner Bros. Records for
£1 million. Their major label debut
Grey Britain was described
as being even more aggressive than their previous material, and the
band was subsequently dropped from the label. The UK has also
seen a flurry of melodic hardcore bands in the 2010s, including
Landscapes (who have signed to notable Californian label Pure Noise
Records, Bridge 9 Records' Dead Swans, and Heart in Hand).
Los Angeles band The Bronx briefly appeared on Island Def Jam Music
Group for the release of their 2006 self-titled album, which was named
one of the top 40 albums of the year by Spin magazine. They
appeared in the
Darby Crash biopic What We Do Is Secret, playing
members of Black Flag. In 2007, Toronto's
Fucked Up appeared on MTV
Live Canada, where they were introduced as "Effed Up". During the
performance of its song "Baiting the Public", the majority of the
audience was moshing, which caused $2000 in damages to the set.
Partly due to developments in digital communications, there has been a
rise in interaction between hardcore scenes in different places and
subgenres, particularly in Europe. In September 2017,
wrote that Fluff Fest, which has been held in Czechia since 2000 and
features an international lineup of independent bands ranging in style
from crust punk to screamo, "has established itself as the main DIY
hardcore punk event in Europe".
Subgenres and fusion genres
See also: List of hardcore genres
Hardcore punk has spawned a number of subgenres, fusion genres and
derivative forms. Its subgenres include D-beat, emo, melodic
hardcore and thrashcore. Important fusion genres include crossover
thrash, crust punk, grindcore, and metalcore, all of
which fuse hardcore punk with extreme metal. Key derivatives include
post-hardcore and skate punk, and hardcore punk has also influenced a
number of heavy metal sub genres.
Main article: D-beat
D-beat (also known as discore or kängpunk) is a hardcore punk
subgenre, developed in the early 1980s by imitators of the band
Discharge, after whom the genre is named, as well as a drum beat
characteristic of this subgenre. The bands Discharge and The
Varukers are pioneers of the
D-beat genre. Robbie Mackey of
Pitchfork Media described
D-beat as "hardcore drumming set against
breakneck riffage and unintelligible howls about anarchy,
working-stiffs-as-rats, and banding together to, you know,
Guy Picciotto of
Rites of Spring
Rites of Spring and Fugazi
Emo and post-hardcore
The 1980s saw the development of post-hardcore, which took the
hardcore style in a more complex and dynamic direction, with a focus
on singing rather than screaming. The post-hardcore style first took
shape in Chicago, with bands such as Big Black,
The Effigies and Naked
Raygun, while later developed in Washington, DC within the
community of bands on Ian MacKaye's
Dischord Records with bands such
as Fugazi, The Nation of Ulysses, and Jawbox. The style has
extended until the late 2000s. The mid-80s Washington, D.C.
post-hardcore scene would also see the birth of emo. Guy Picciotto
Rites of Spring
Rites of Spring in 1984, breaking free of hardcore's
self-imposed boundaries in favor of melodic guitars, varied rhythms,
and deeply personal, impassioned lyrics dealing with nostalgia,
romantic bitterness, and poetic desperation. Other D.C. bands
such as Gray Matter, Beefeater, Fire Party, Dag Nasty, also became
connected to this movement. The style was dubbed "emo",
"emo-core", or "post-harDCore" (in reference to one of the
names given to the
Washington, D.C. hardcore scene).
Main article: Heavy hardcore
Heavy hardcore (also known as tough guy hardcore) is a style of
hardcore punk which has deep, hoarse vocals, down-tuned electric
guitars, blast beats, and slow breakdowns. American Me,
Madball, Biohazard, Hatebreed, Sheer Terror, 25 ta Life, and Killing
Time all are heavy hardcore bands.
Often confused with crossover thrash and sometimes thrash metal, is
Thrashcore (also known as fastcore) is a
subgenre of hardcore punk that emerged in the early 1980s. It is
essentially sped-up hardcore punk, with bands often using blast
beats. Just as hardcore punk groups distinguished themselves from
their punk rock predecessors by their greater intensity and
aggression, thrashcore groups (often identified simply as "thrash")
sought to play at breakneck tempos that would radicalize the
innovations of hardcore. Early American thrashcore groups included
Cryptic Slaughter (Santa Monica), D.R.I. (Houston), Septic Death
Siege (Weymouth, Massachusetts).
Thrashcore spun off into
powerviolence, another raw and dissonant subgenre of hardcore
punk. Notable powerviolence bands include
Man is the Bastard and
Grindcore is an extreme genre of music that began the early–mid
Grindcore music relies on heavy metal instrumentation and
eventually changed into a genre similar to death metal. Grindcore
vocals, according to AllMusic, range "from high-pitched shrieks to
low, throat-shredding growls and barks".
Grindcore also features
blast beats, According to Adam MacGregor of Dusted, "the
blast-beat generally comprises a repeated, sixteenth-note figure
played at a very fast tempo, and divided uniformly among the kick
drum, snare and ride, crash, or hi-hat cymbal." The band Napalm
Death invented the grindcore genre; their debut album Scum was
AllMusic as "perhaps the most representative example of"
Metalcore is a fusion genre that merges heavy hardcore punk with
Metalcore has screaming, growling, heavy guitar riffs,
breakdowns, and double bass drumming. Heavy metal-hardcore punk
hybrids arose in the mid-1980s and would also radicalize the
innovations of hardcore as the two genres and their ideologies
intertwined noticeably, resulting in two main genres one being
metalcore. The term has been used to refer to bands that were not
purely hardcore nor purely metal such as Earth Crisis, Integrity and
Metallica and Slayer, pioneers of the heavy metal
subgenre thrash metal, were influenced by a number of hardcore bands.
Metallica's cover album
Garage Inc. included covers of two Discharge
and three Misfits songs, while Slayer's cover album Undisputed
Attitude consisted of covers of predominately hardcore punk bands.
During the 2000s, many more metalcore bands became known. Bullet for
My Valentine, Killswitch Engage, Atreyu, Shadows Fall, and As I Lay
Dying all had some popularity during the 2000s.
Influence on other genres
Some hardcore bands began experimenting with other styles as their
careers progressed in the 1980s, becoming known as alternative
rock. Bands such as Minutemen, Meat Puppets, Hüsker Dü, and The
Replacements drew from hardcore they had played earlier in their
careers, but broke away from its "loud and fast" formula.
In the mid-1980s, northern West Coast state bands such as Melvins,
Flipper and Green River developed a sludgy, "aggressive sound that
melded the slower tempos of heavy metal with the intensity of
hardcore," creating an alternative rock subgenre known as grunge.
Grunge evolved from the local Seattle punk rock scene, and it was
inspired by bands such as The Fartz,
10 Minute Warning
10 Minute Warning and The
Grunge fuses elements of hardcore and heavy metal,
although some bands performed with more emphasis on one or the other.
Grunge's key guitar influences included Black Flag and The
Melvins. Black Flag's 1984 record My War, on which the band
combined heavy metal with their traditional sound, made a strong
impact in Seattle.
Digital hardcore is a music genre fusing elements of hardcore punk and
various forms of electronic music and techno. It developed
in Germany during the early 1990s, and often features sociological or
left-extremist lyrical themes. Nintendocore, another musical
style, fuses hardcore with video game music, chiptunes, and 8-bit
The Washington state band Melvins, aside from their influence on
grunge, helped create what would be known as sludge metal, which is
also a combination between Black Sabbath-style music and hardcore
punk. This genre developed during the early 1990s, in the
Southern United States
Southern United States (particularly in the New Orleans metal
scene). Some of the pioneering bands of sludge metal
were: Eyehategod, Crowbar, Down, Buzzov*en, Acid
Bath and Corrosion of Conformity. Later, bands such as Isis
and Neurosis, with similar influences, created a style that
relies mostly on ambience and atmosphere that would eventually be
named atmospheric sludge metal or post-metal.
List of hardcore punk bands
List of hardcore punk genres
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List of hardcore genres
List of hardcore punk bands
List of musicians in the second wave of punk music
Punk subculture (includes section on hardcore)
Pub rock (United Kingdom)
New wave of British heavy metal
New wave of British heavy metal (NWOBHM)
Scottish Gaelic punk
United States (California)
People and groups
First wave punk musicians
Second wave punk musicians
List of punk bands
Women in punk rock
List of punk compilation albums
List of punk rock festivals
Punk visual art
Punk films (List of punk films)
Timeline of punk