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 (+ child sub-genres & shared with Metalcore):
  • Bosh66 (leader)

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hardcore punk Music Reviews

NIÉGALO TODO Absurdo Escepticismo Superficial

EP · 2015 · Hardcore Punk
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siLLy puPPy
When i think of hardcore punk i can’t help but think of total anarchy in the UK or even a little holiday in Cambodia the American way but Mexico? Not even. As counterintuitive it may seem to contemplate Latin American punk, the truth is that punk has permeated the entire globe and for a long time now so places like Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, sure but Chiapas, Mexico? Well despite there being zero punk scene in the jungles bordering Guatemala, sure enough some young ones are fucking pissed at the world and recorded their angst for the world to hear.

NIÉGALO TODO or in English “Deny Everything” comes form the city of Tuxtla Gutiérrez, which is the capital city of the state of Chiapas, Mexico’s most southern region. This is one of those virtually impossible artists to track down any info but this band has so far released one short EP titled ABSURDO ESCEPTICISMO SUPERFICIAL which translates as “Absurd Superficial Skepticism.” Now what’s all that about you ask? Fuck if i know i say. This cassette only release that was limited to only 100 copies has now been turned into a Bandcamp downloadable digital releases as well. This lil shorty of only ten track only clocks in at 17 minutes with tracks being about one to two minutes in length.

This is some seriously pissed off punk here. Bantering guitars distorted to high heaven with rampaging tempos, furious bass and drums and some of the angriest crossover metal vocals ever for a hardcore punk band, NIÉGALO TODO takes the energetic excess of Distortion and Amoeba and mixes it with the more traditional punk compositional style of the classic UK bands that emerged in the first wave of the punk rock scene. This is really the stuff punk rock dreams are made of. Caustic as fuck, energetic and reeking of rage and discontent. All the lyrics are in the Spanish language but you don’t really need to understand the lyrics to feel the wrath spewed from every screamed syllable in full distorted decibelage.

While it’s all over as soon as it seems to start, this short explosive firecracker of an EP is relentless in its duration. Certainly not innovative, definitely not forward thinking, this set of ten tracks is just pure youthful discontent erupting like Mount Vesuvius and your ear drums are Pompeii. It doesn’t really get any more authentic and DIY as what’s presented here and what makes it even more enticing is how fast the tempos rampage along with the extreme metal tones, timbres and excessive energetic deliveries. Very cool for an obvious home recording in the middle of some off the beaten track in southern Mexico.

FALL OF EFRAFA Owsla

Album · 2006 · Crust Punk
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siLLy puPPy
FALL OF EFRAFA formed in Brighton, England in 2005 with the clear intent of releasing a trilogy of albums that revolved around the mythology of the 1972 Richard Adams novel “Watership Down” and then disbanding and that’s exactly what this band of Neil Kingsbury (guitar), Steven McCusker (guitar), Mikey Douglas (bass), George Miles (drums) and Alex CF (vocals) did. The term EFRAFA in the novel refers to a rabbit colony ruled by a dictator who oppresses the rebellion through law enforcement which are called the OWSLA (means warrior or defender), which is also the title of the first album of the trilogy followed by “Elil” and Inlé.” These titles come form the Lapine language used in the novel. Yep, this is some serious nerding out going on here!

In the big scheme of the vast music universe, FALL OF EFRAFA is quite unique in its approach having primarily taken its influences from post-metal bands like Neurosis and Agalloch, post-rock bands like Godspeed You! Black Emperor and heavy caustic post-hardcore and crust punk thus making a bizarre blend of stylistic shifts from atmospheric arpeggiated post-rock segments to bleak bombastic crust punk swells teased out into atmospheric sludge metal orotundity. The vocal style of Alex CF is also unique in that if falls somewhere between the extreme shouting style of Neurosis frontman Scott Kelly and the more angry crust punk sort of shouts that often struggles to emerge from the bombastic guitar, bass and drum angst. A cello accompanies to add a sense of impending dread.

These albums narrate elaborate tales with OWSLA recounting a despotic leader who gives his people a false sense of empowerment to that he can swoop in at the last minute and crush them. OWSLA begins the trilogy by outlining the tale of an unarmed society that clings to dated beliefs and remains paralyzed by the inability to overcome these stilted anachronisms. The following “Elil” continues by narrating how those very beliefs result in an oppressive reign of religious indoctrination thus showcasing the band’s staunch atheism. The final chapter “Inlé” deals with hope in the face of death and how a society that has clung on to certain values for eons must overcome the rigidness as they face a do or die situation.

With chamber folk and crust punk elements crafting a greater sum of the parts, FALL OF EFRAFA crafts a unique sounding album that takes disparate musical elements and casts a unique magical spell as it tackles deep psychology that has permeated humankind since the beginning of time. While hilariously set in the context of a warren of rabbits, the subject matter hits close to home and paints the bleak picture of human mind control carried out through conditioning and religious doctrines. OWSLA is a satisfying slice of post-rockand atmospheric sludge metal with elements of crust punk and highly recommended especially for those who love elaborate storylines that allude to the plight of homo sapiens however this is certainly an all or nothing affair and once you check out one album you are pretty much committed to explore the whole trilogy which was released as a whole unit in 2010 with “The Warren of Snares” boxset.

NOMEANSNO Sex Mad

Album · 1986 · Hardcore Punk
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Unitron
In a genre that can be so easy to do like punk, there's a few key things to really make a band stand out. Being really good songwriters is the first step, but combining a rebellious attitude with a unique personality and play-style is how you get a band like NoMeansNo where there's not really anyone else like them. Schizophrenic yet playful, this is absolutely fantastic bass-driven punk where the rhythm section is unmatched.

The title track is just an instant punk anthem dominated by insane bass and drums in full force that is basically NoMeansNo's signature sound, complimented by sex-crazed spitfire and occasional stabbing keyboards. Sometimes they'll go straight into early math rock like with instrumental Obsessed, or apocalyptic with Self Pity. Other than the title track, the moody and wandering Long Days, syncopated heaven of Metronome, and proto-grunge of Revenge are my personal favorites and really display the band's personality perfectly. Hunt the She Beast (Only on the original Canadian release and the later reissue with the You Kill Me EP), has some particularly great drums and dissonant guitar that wouldn't sound out of place on a Primus album.

While Wrong is probably the band at their height, Sex Mad is pretty closely tied with it as my favorite and both albums define the band and show them at their creative and songwriting peak.

NAILS Obscene Humanity

EP · 2009 · Hardcore Punk
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UMUR
"Obscene Humanity" is an EP release by US, California based hardcore/grindcore act Nails. The EP was released through Six Feet Under Records/Streetcleaner Records in early 2009. The material was recorded during November and December 2008. The EP features 7 tracks and a full playing time of 10:56 minutes. The vinyl version features the same 7 tracks on both sides.

If you wonder what 7 tracks of hardcore/grindcore distributed over a 10 minutes long playing time sound like, I can tell you that it´s noisy, raw, distorted, and at times quite chaotic. There is a primal aggression to the material and especially the bestial delivery of said material is greatly charming. It´s definitely Nails biggest asset, although the tracks themselves are quite well composed too. Nails successfully combine blasting grindcore, with fast-paced hardcore, and ultra heavy sections, and they are actually relatively varied within their style. It´s not exactly an issue that the band are skilled musicians too, who deliver their music with great conviction and passion. Organic playing by a tight unit. The vocals are shouting distorted hardcore type vocals, which suit the instrumental part of the music perfectly. The sound production is loud, raw, and organic, and it´s the perfect sound for the equally mean music.

"Obscene Humanity" is the first release by Nails and considering that this is a debut release from the band, it´s a quality product. Not necessarily the most original sounding hardcore/grindcore release out there, but definitely a solid effort featuring some great moments here and there. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

DISORDER Complete Disorder EP

EP · 1981 · Hardcore Punk
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siLLy puPPy
The evolution of punk rock was a quickened one with bands splintering into myriad directions as quickly as the genre had usurped the throne as the UK’s most dangerous musical form around the 1976-77 timeline. While the Sex Pistols would explode onto the scene like a super nova and fizzle out just as fast, John Lydon immediately crafted the post-punk movement with his Public Image Ltd but other bands were looking towards the world of hard rock and heavy metal for inspiration. Crass seems to be the anarcho-punk band along with the D-beat of Discharge that led to the hybridization of punk sensibilities with the more aggressive musical form that featured beefier bass, faster tempos and a filthy raw guitar sound that was inspired by early extreme metal bands like Venom, Hellhammer, Motorhead and Black Sabbath.

The direct descendent of Crass was a style referred to as UK82 which was basically the second generation of hardcore punk which bands like G.B.H. and The Exploited added busier drumming styles, more guitar distortion and faster tempos that the NWOBHM were employing. Hot on the fledgling style’s heels was what would later become known as crust punk which took it all even further into metal territory years before the development of crossover thrash. While Amebix generally is attributed for developing this style, the Bristol based DISORDER may actually deserve this honor. The band’s debut COMPLETE DISORDER EP came out in 1981 a year before Amebix’s first EP “Who’s The Enemy.” While the distinctions between the UK82 and crust punk styles are fuzzy, it could at least be assumed that DISORDER was the link between the anarcho-punk of Crass and what is deemed as crust punk.

This band formed in 1980 and technically is still active. The original members were Steve Curtis (vocals), Steve Allen (guitar), Nick Peters (bass guitar), and Virus (drums), although Steve Robertson soon replaced Peters, and this line-up recorded the first two EPs including this debut COMPLETE DISORDER which came out the year later and even though a full-length wouldn’t emerge until 1984, many cite this monstrous uproar of aural assault of a mere 7 minutes and 10 seconds to be the first example of the world of crust punk and given it’s cacophonous uproar of heavy distorted guitar rage and frenetic tempos, that is certainly a valid conclusion as the set of four tracks employs an upgrade of unbridled lo-fi aggression along with its pessimistic and rebellious lyrical tirade.

Personally i would probably classify this one as existing on the UK82 side of the equation. The compositions and the lyrical deliveries much more resemble late 70s punk bands like The Damned, The Clash and Buzzcocks albeit with exaggerated features. As is the nature of punk rock music, the controversy and infighting over such minutia will remain but whatever the case, DISORDER did deliver one of the earliest aggressive examples of hardcore punk that at the very least was a form of proto-crust. As a listening experience itself DISORDER wasn’t as inventive as bands like Discharge and Amebix and relied on a standard formula that doesn’t deviate much between tracks leaving the flow of things seem a bit monotonous and repetitive. The same beat, seemingly same simple chord progressions and lack of dynamics makes this one less interesting than the development in aggressive tendencies would imply. Overall it’s a good example as a rung in the ladder of punk rock progression but not really one that has aged tremendously well.

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