Hardcore Punk

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Hardcore punk is a punk rock subgenre - or rather a set of punk rock subgenres - which is closely related to heavy metal music, because many hardcore artists include several elements from metal in their music, and many metal artists, likewise, include several hardcore elements in their music (several metal subgenres have their roots in hardcore punk music such as thrash metal, grindcore, metalcore, Stockholm death metal, sludge metal, and nu metal). In fact, hardcore can be said to form a continuum from pure punk to primarily metal-oriented music, and many metalheads consider hardcore to be, if not a metal genre, then at least part of the universe of heavy metal music.

Hardcore arose in the late 1970s and gained considerable popularity in the 1980s. It was originally a reaction against the adoption of mainstream society of the aesthetics and lifestyle associated with punk rock as well as the intellectualization of punk rock in Europe. Inheriting the rock instrumentation of punk rock (vocals, guitars, bass, and drums), hardcore musicians would infuse more aggression into their music, speeding up the tempos considerably and inserting heavy and groovy breakdowns into their compositions. Although a global phenomenon, there are two important geographical centers in the development of the genre - namely, the USA and the UK. American hardcore was inspired by the likes of The Dead Kennedys and The Ramones, fusing it with influences from overseas. There were, and still are, several local hardcore scenes in the USA, with the NYC hardcore scene (which often includes the New Jersey scene) probably being the most influential one, spawning bands like Agnostic Front, Misfits, Warzone, Kraut, Mucky Pup, and The Undead, many of which are of crucial importance to metal music as well. Other important early American hardcore bands were Dirty Rotten Imbeciles (D.R.I.) from Texas, The Accüsed from Washington state, Gang Green from Boston, Minor Threat from Washington D.C., and Black Flag and Suicidal Tendencies from Los Angeles. The UK hardcore scene very much sprung from the harsh style of Discharge and The Exploited as well as Amebix which combined elements from early punk rock with elements of NWoBHM, with Motörhead being a particularly important influence; UK hardcore evolved into crust, which would prove to be influential on both death metal and black metal.

Borrowing from heavy metal music, hardcore would itself have an influence on the development of a new subgenre of heavy metal in the early-to-mid 80s - namely, thrash metal, as American metal musicians started to combine the harsh and aggressive style of UK bands like Discharge and The Exploited and US bands like The Misfits and Black Flag on the one hand with the more intricate and technically advanced style of NWoBHM. Despite the similarities in music, the hardcore and thrash metal scenes were separate, and when the members of the two scenes met, violence would often ensue. However, the animosity between the two scenes would eventually disappear, resulting in a hybrid hardcore-thrash style called crossover-thrash, as hardcore artists started incorporating thrash metal elements into their style (perhaps most notably Agnostic Front, D.R.I., and Suicidal Tendencies among others) and thrash metal artists would start to incorporate hardcore into their style (Nuclear Assault being an important example of this). New bands that featured members of both scenes were even established, most notably Stormtroopers of Death (S.O.D.).

Because of the influence of metal upon many early hardcore bands, the term metallic hardcore is sometimes used with reference to hardcore nd crust bands that either make use of elements from various heavy metal subgenres or hardcore bands that are, for other reasons, associated with heavy metal music. In other words, the 'metallic hardcore' label applies to bands at the more metal-oriented end of the hardcore-metal continuum. Typical features of metallic hardcore are the grooves, riffage, and drum patterns associated with hardcore punk and elements associated with heavy metal music, such as guitar leads, double bass drums, palm-muted riffing and, often, productions which, while DIY, are not deliberately underproduced. It should be noted that, here at the MMA, the hardcore subgenre only includes metallic hardcore bands.

In addition to 'standard' metallic hardcore, inclusive hardcore genres on the MMA are:

  • Crust: crust, or crust punk, with its own sub-genre here on MMA, Crust is typically used with reference to the hardcore punk tradition established in the UK by the likes of Discharge, Amebix and Hellbastard. It combines the energy and aggression of punk music with the power and darkness of heavy metal music, early crust punk drew inspiration from the music of the likes of Black Sabbath, Venom, Bathory and Motörhead, while rejecting the lyrical matter often associated with metal at the time. Characteristic of crust punk are heavily distorted guitars and dominant bass frequencies, given the impression of a very dirty sound, and many crust bands also embrace the d-beat drumming style popularized by Discharge, which was in turn inspired by Motörhead. Another typical feature is the use of both very fast tempos and extremely heavy tempos, and harsh guttural vocals are not uncommon. And offspring of crust punk is grindcore which was invented by Napalm Death and Carcass under the influence of Extreme Noise Terror (who would later embrace grindcore aesthetics themselves). Many bands on the Stockholm death metal scene of the early 1990s would incorporate numerous elements from crust punk into their sound as would early American sludge metal bands like The Melvins and Neurosis, while Hellhammer/Celtic Frost would draw inspiration from Discharge, resulting in derivatives of d-beating figuring in black metal. More recently, crust bands have infused elements from death metal, black metal, thrash metal and sludge metal, into their music. Examples of crust bands included in the MMA are Extreme Noise Terror, Amebix, Discharge, Acephalix, Wolfbrigade, Nuclear Death Terror, and Hellbastard. Many modern crust bands have infused so many death metal elements into their music that it makes more sense to consider them death metal bands, in which case the bands, or releases, in question are included under death metal, as is the case of a number of Acephalix and Bastard Priest releases. Other crust bands crossed over into thrash metal territory as is the case of Hellbastard's late releases and Amebix' "Monolith"; in this case the relevant releases are included under thrash metal. Crust Punk
  • UK82: UK82 is a hardcore punk style that includes those early second-wave punk bands who retained a strong punk sound but added the heavy drum beats and distorted guitar sound of NWoBHM bands to produce a punk and metal hybrid. Examples of bands playing in the UK82 style would be G.B.H and The Exploited.
  • New York Hardcore: New York Hardcore, or NYHC, was more than just a scene. NYHC bands had a distinctive metallic sound incorporating thrash metal riffs and also took influence from the British Oi! movement. NYHC had a strong influence over the development of metalcore and beatdown hardcore.
  • Crossover thrash: Crossover thrash, often abbreviated to crossover, is a form of thrash metal that contains more hardcore punk elements than standard thrash. It is sometimes referred to as punk metal, though this is generally incorrect due to the existence of other music genres that combine forms of punk rock and heavy metal, such as grunge, crust punk, and more recently metalcore and its subgenres. While thrash metal is heavily influenced by hardcore punk, the overall sound of crossover thrash is more punk-influenced yet more metal-sounding and aggressive than traditional hardcore punk and thrashcore. The term was coined by the band D.R.I. with their album "Crossover", released in 1987. The term 'crossover' is based on the metaphor of crossing over from one genre into the other, thus capturing artists the operate within the transition zone between thrash metal and hardcore punk. With the metaphor comes the conception of directionality, such that the genre is applied to hardcore and crust punk artists who have crossed over into thrash metal territory, such as D.R.I., Discharge, The Exploited, The Accüsed, Agnostic Front and Suicidal Tendencies (who eventually ventured into alternative metal), and thrash metal artists who crossed over into hardcore punk territory, such as Nuclear Assault and S.O.D. In the MMA database, crossover bands and releases that lean more towards thrash metal are included under thrash metal, while those that lean more towards metallic hardcore are included under hardcore.
  • Thrashcore: thrashcore and the closely related subgenre skatepunk are often placed in the crossover continuum. Thrashcore is basically metallic hardcore played at very high speed (often featuring simple guitar figures performed with palm-muting), sometimes using blastbeats, and makes use of microsongs. Skatepunk is a more melodic, but just as aggressive and fast, variant of thrashcore, used as soundtracks in skateboarding videos (with many of the artists being skateboarders themselves). D.R.I. and Voetsek as well as Cryptic Slaughter, Septic Death and A.N.S. all started out thrashcore bands and eventually took their music in a more thrash metal-oriented direction. In the MMA database, thrashcore bands and releases that are more hardcore than thrash are included under hardcore while those that are more thrash metal oriented are included under thrash metal; some thrashcore bands have taken their music in a more grindcore-oriented direction, in which case they are included under grindcore.
  • Powerviolence: Powerviolence or Power Violence is a style of hardcore punk that grew out of thrashcore. Songs tend to be short and aggressive and are often accompanied by frequent tempo changes and socio-political lyrics. While powerviolence bands remain musically grounded in hardcore punk, the scene has strongly influenced the development of grindcore and some crossover between the genres exist.
  • Post-hardcore: post-hardcore combines hardcore elements with elements from alternative rock, alternative metal, noise rock and sludge metal, and is often also often characterized by an avant-garde approach. Some post-hardcore acts have inherited the metallic elements from metallic hardcore, while others infuse post-metal into their sound. Such metallic post-hardcore bands are included in the MMA - if the hardcore elements are prevalent, then they are filed under hardcore; otherwise they are categorized under the most appropriate metal subgenre as is the case of, for instance, Wolves Like Us. Post-hardcore bands with no metal elements or not relevance to metal are not included in the MMA.
  • Sludgecore: sludge metal was born as a hybrid of hardcore punk and crust punk on the one hand and doom metal, southern metal and stoner metal on the other hand. Some sludge bands emphasize the tempos and aggression of metallic hardcore and crust, prioritizing these over the slow tempos of doom metal and stoner metal. Such artists and releases - if the hardcore and crust elements are dominant - are included under hardcore rather than sludge metal. Examples of such bands are I Exist and Hard Charger.
  • Beatdown: Beatdown hardcore is a style of hardcore punk that tends to be very metallic, often drawing inspiration from brutal and slam death metal, while remaining closer to hardcore than a typical metalcore or deathcore band would. The style sits on the cusp between hardcore punk and metalcore and deathcore, and beatdown bands often cross over into decidedly metal territory. Where they do, bands and releases are filed under metalcore or deathcore on MMA. An example of one such band might be Hatebreed.
  • D-beat: D-Beat is a metal-influenced style of hardcore punk named after and popularised by the band Discharge. D-Beat features a recognizable d-beat drum pattern, usually has shouted vocals and is stylistically and thematically similar to Anarcho-Punk.


The following hardcore-related subgenres are included in the MMA, but not under the hardcore genre:

  • Metalcore: metalcore has its own subgenre, as it has evolved into a popular metal genre of its own.
  • Deathcore: deathcore - a hybrid genre that combines metalcore and death metal - is considered a metalcore subgenre, and deathcore bands and releases are included in the deathcore child-sub under metalcore.
  • Mathcore: as with deathcore, mathcore - highly technical and progressive metalcore - is considered a subgenre of metalcore, and mathcore bands and releases will be included under metalcore (or deathcore). Those math metal bands that have more in common with progressive metal will be included under progressive metal.
  • Grindcore: although derived from crust punk, grindcore has developed into an extreme metal genre in itself and is given a subgenre of its own. Some grindcore acts started out as crust, powerviolence or thrashcore bands and then developed into grindcore bands, as is the case of Extreme Noise Terror. In this case, crust, powerviolence or thrashcore releases are included under hardcore while grindcore releases are included under grindcore.
  • Other punk-metal hybrids: punk-metal hybrids that do not draw on hardcore or crust or related genres, but rather on other punk rock genres are included under the most appropriate metal genre. Thus Kvelertak who combines punk rock, hard rock and black metal is included under hard rock, and Motörhead and Brats who combine early punk rock and traditional heavy metal are included under traditional heavy metal, while Oktan and The Spittin' Cobras who combine dirty hard rock 'n' roll and punk rock are also included under hard rock.


Note that hardcore punk, crust punk, thrashcore, skate punk and other purely punk-oriented artists with little or no relevance to metal music are not included in the MMA database. If a metal band in the MMA has released a non-metal punk-oriented release, that release will be included under Non-Metal, as is the case of Lawnmower Deth's album "Billy" which is a pop punk album along the lines of Green Day.

Sub-genre collaborators:
  • Time Signature (leader)
  • Bosh66

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hardcore punk Music Reviews

CODE ORANGE Love Is Love // Return To Dust

Album · 2012 · Hardcore Punk
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UMUR
"Love Is Love // Return To Dust" is the debut full-length studio album by US post hardcore act Code Orange or Code Orange Kids as they were called at this point. They changed their name to Code Orange in June 2014. The album was released through Deathwish Inc in November 2012. The band formed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 2008 when the members were still young teenagers, and they´ve released some demos and EPs before releasing "Love Is Love // Return To Dust".

The music on the album is an experimental/progressive type of post hardcore. Converge almost immediately comes to mind, but Code Orange are not a clone band. In addition to the fast paced hardcore sections, the music also features crushingly heavy breakdowns, atmospheric post-metal sections, and even the odd nod towards shoegaze (My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive) on "Colors (Into Nothing)". The vocals are mostly aggressive higher pitched shouting, but there are both deeper more brutal vocals, and occasional clean female/male vocals, featured on the album. The instrumental part of the music is relatively experimental featuring many tempo changes, surprising breaks, and other interesting details.

The 10 track, 27:07 minutes long album features a good flow, with great dynamic changes in atmosphere, pace, and musical style, which is one of it´s greatest strengths. But the excellent musicianship (these guys/girls are very well playing/singing), and the organic and incredibly well sounding Kurt Ballou (Converge) production are great assets too. It´s actually a bit hard not to be blown away by a high quality debut album like this one, and it´s safe to say that Code Orange are off to a great start. A 4 star (80%) rating is fully deserved.

DAYGLO ABORTIONS Feed Us a Fetus

Album · 1986 · Hardcore Punk
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UMUR
"Feed Us a Fetus" is the 2nd full-length studio album by Canadian hardcore punk act Dayglo Abortions. The album was released through Fringe Product in 1986. "Feed Us a Fetus" earned Dayglo Abortions quite a bit of underground success, and is still their best selling release. It´s actually a bit of an odd release, as it´s only the material on Side 1 of the original vinyl, that are new (recorded in 1985). The tracks on Side 2 are culled directly off the band´s debut full-length studio album "Out of the Womb (1981)". Side 2 features the trio lineup of Stupid (bass), Jesus Bonehead (drums), and Cretin (guitars, vocals), while Side 1 features a four-piece lineup consisting of Spud (bass, backing vocals), Jesus Bonehead (drums), The Cretin (vocals, guitar), and Wayne Gretzky (guitar).

While the material on the 2 sides of the album were recorded several years apart, it´s not necessarily something you will notice. The sound production is not exactly consistent within each recording session, and stylistically the band haven´t moved too far away from their starting point on the later recordings. But there are some differences, and I´d say that the new material is generally a bit better composed, feature an occasional crossover thrash metal influence, and feature more guitar solos. The basic music style is however still hardcore punk, featuring provocative/obscene/controversial lyrics, delivered with a "Fuck You" attitude.

The musicianship is generally on a decent level, and everything is delivered with conviction and passion. The energetic rhythms, the blistering solos, the aggressive riffs, and The Cretin´s snarling raw vocals. There are several highlights on the album, and I´d mention "Stupid Songs", "Argh Fuck Kill - Die Sinner Die", "Bedtime Story" (which is an absolute beauty), "Wake Up America", "Proud to Be a Canadian", "Scared of People - Black Sabbath", and "I Killed Mommy", as just a few of them. The combination of heavy riffs, fast paced aggressive hardcore, and more melodic tinged punk, is generally a winner, and if you can stomach the lyrical content and take it for what it is, this is one hell of a hardcore release. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

DAYGLO ABORTIONS Out of the Womb

Album · 1981 · Hardcore Punk
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UMUR
"Out of the Womb" is the debut full-length studio album by Canadian hardcore punk act Dayglo Abortions. The album was released through Sharpe Records in 1981. As a bit of an oddity the band´s name is misspelled Dayglow Abortions on the front cover. Dayglo Abortions were formed in Victoria, British Columbia in 1979 and on this album they are a trio consisting of Stupid (bass), Jesus Bonehead (drums), and Cretin (guitars, vocals). "Out of the Womb" initially didn´t earn Dayglo Abortions more than local success, but when the material from the album saw a re-release as Side 2 of the original vinyl version of the band´s second full-length studio album "Feed Us a Fetus (1986)" (with a few changes), the tracks got much more exposure.

The 14 tracks featured on the album are distributed over a playing time that only just exceeds 20 minutes, so it´s a short and to the point type of release. The tracks vary in style from relatively melodic punk to aggressive hardcore. The snarling "Fuck You" attitude is a common feature though. This is truly delivered with conviction and passion. "Out of the Womb" features several of what would become "classics" some years later in "Religious Bumfucks", "Black Sabbath", "I Killed Mommy", and "Scared of People", but all tracks on the album are memorable, instantly catchy, and entertaining.

Although the band would up the provocative nature of their lyrics on later releases, they deliver some pretty controversial lyrics here too. A song title like "Religious Bumfucks" of course says it, but the lyrics to "I Killed Mommy" are also quite disturbing.

Dayglo Abortions are a relatively talented bunch, and especially the vocals by Cretin are delivered with the right amount of attitude and vitriol. The rhythm section is energetic and well playing too, and Cretin also delivers some organic and aggressive guitar work. The sound production is raw, but not too lo-fi. All in all "Out of the Womb" is a great debut by Dayglo Abortions, but you can always argue that it doesn´t serve much of a purpose today, as the material is available on "Feed Us a Fetus (1986)", which is an album that is much easier to get a hold of. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

AGNOSTIC FRONT The American Dream Died

Album · 2015 · Hardcore Punk
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Kev Rowland
Agnostic Front have been licking up a hardcore storm for more than thirty years, mixing in thrash and punk when the mood takes them, and this 2015 album finds them mixing through the styles. The album commences with a great deal of sound clips, and immediately the listener knows that Roger Miret and the boys are going to be out there making a point. Sixteen songs at under thirty minutes in length, the old adage is true that if you don’t like something hang on a minute as there will be something else along in a minute. But, it does make for quite a disjointed album as when they are good, such as on “Test of Time”, they are very good indeed and there are few who can catch them in their hardcore thrash crossover mode. But, the songs such as the title cut have plenty of aggression from the singer, but not really being carried through by the band, and it just doesn’t contain the attack and passion that it should.

More good than bad, does it stand up against classic albums such as ‘Cause For Alarm’? Personally I don’t think so, but anyone who has been flying the hardcore banner for nearly forty years demands respect.

BLOOD FOR BLOOD Outlaw Anthems

Album · 2002 · Hardcore Punk
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Vim Fuego
You think you know heavy? Intense? Real? Angry? Ever checked this out? If not, then no, you don’t.

Founded by guitarist and songwriter White Trash Rob in 1994, Blood For Blood took every ounce of anger, rage, frustration, and fury he ever felt and channelled it into music. It was a release valve for a man who might have otherwise exploded into pointless violence. Hardcore has always been about unity and brotherhood, and has often been a family substitute for those without, and in this case, it seems like Rob has been dealt a real dud hand. Instead of just giving in, he turned his anger into hard, brutal music.

“Postcard From The Edge” is an intro which sounds like a riot, building a feeling of impending violence. And that is exactly what is delivered. Words like “Mother dear/I will spit in your face” shows who Rob holds responsible for his shitty upbringing. The chugging riffs of the song basically set out what’s in store for the rest of the album - hard, angry music.

“Ain’t Like You (Wasted Youth II)” is a continuation of the theme of “Wasted Youth Crew” from the band’s previous album “Revenge on Society”. It’s a middle finger to mainstream society from society’s rejects, who pull together for safety and comfort.

“White Trash Anthem” is an outstanding, thought provoking song. It combines an old school oi punk feel with hard assed Boston hardcore. It’s also about as close as the band ever gets to a melody It reflects on the hopelessness of living in degradation and poverty, with little realistic opportunity available to escape, and how easily forgotten and ignored an underclass is. The song’s bridge is bleak and chilling: “Have you ever prayed to the night sky?/Under one of them cold street lights?/Watched another stolen car drive by and lost your hope and said "This is where I'll die". It is more a vulpine howl at the moon than hardcore bark.

An unfortunate consequence of the song title is that white supremacist idiots misinterpret the song as being about white power and pride. It is the opposite. It is about having pride in who you are, not what you are.

Any song which starts with the words “Fucking your pussy was like fucking the wound from a shotgun blast... With gangrene!” isn’t going to be a love song, and makes “So Common, So Cheap” the ultimate break-up song. “Some Kind of Hate” is directed at humanity in general. “Love Song” is still not a traditional love song. It is a tribute to brotherly love, and keeping an eye out for those in a similar situation to your own, and realising there is strength to be gained from it. “A Bitch Called Hope” could be a literal song about hope, or it could be a metaphor for addiction.

Musically, there’s nothing new here, but then it’s hardcore. It does not need to be new or inventive to be compelling. However, what it does do is express itself with utter conviction. The anger is real, because the injustice is real. Unlike a lot of hardcore guitarists, White Trash Rob created memorable riffs, around which a powerful rhythm section fitted perfectly. It’s not just rage and noise just for the sake of being angry and loud.

The legacy of the band has been soured somewhat by vocalist Buddha allegedly sexually assaulting a minor in 2012. He was instantly ejected from the band, and a statement was released saying such behaviour was absolutely counter to what Blood For Blood stood for. Obviously, the band lost fans for the perceived hypocrisy of a band railing against such abuse, only for a member to continue the cycle of abuse. However, those who looked into the band at anything more than just a superficial level knew it was White Trash Rob’s band through and through, and Buddha had merely been the instrument to convey Rob’s lyrics.

Most of us are fortunate enough not to have lived like this. It puts first world problems into perspective. However, it also makes you appreciate what you do have, and how fortunate you have been in your own life, even if things might not be perfect. There’s always someone worse off than you.

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