Encyclopedia > Hardcore

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1. In music, hardcore is a subgenre of punk rock characterized by bands who play short, loud, and angry songs with exceptionally fast chord changes on highly overdriven guitars. Early influences came from The Ramones and from Wire's Pink Flag album.

Hardcore originated in the U.S., primarily in Los Angeles and Washington D.C., as a vehicle for expressing urban - and suburban - teen angst. Like the British punk wave of 1976-78, U.S. hardcore was an initially tight-knit movement that evolved into an enduring genre. During the first stage, which lasted from about 1980-84, the two definitive hardcore bands were Washington D.C.'s Minor Threat and L.A.'s Black Flag.

Minor Threat, particularly in their emphasis on speed, were heavily influenced by Washington D.C's Bad Brains, an exceptionally fast and accurate punk/reggae band who some would also consider the first hardcore group. In 1980-81 Minor Threat galvanized the blunt and tightly organized sound that other bands would prefer to the more loose experimentalism of the "first generation" punks of the 1970s. Black Flag, meanwhile, released in 1981 their album Damaged, which pretty much defined the musical aggression of hardcore.

From England, Discharge emerged as one of the most copied bands, and were among the first to pare down their songs into ultra-fast three-chord blasts, without melodies and without excess ornamentation. Both Discharge and Minor Threat had lyrical themes that ranged from righteous indignation at societal hypocrisy--both within and without the punk scene itself--to promotion of some positive form of anarchy.

Later in the 1980s hardcore music found a kindred spirit with heavy metal and vice versa with bands such as Agnostic Front[?], DRI[?], and Sick of It All[?]. Metallica claimed both the Misfits and Discharge as early influences on their own brand of metal. Discharge themselves took a 180 degree turn from hardcore to play slower metal songs, and switched from spiked hair to long hair in the process. Hardcore has since been a genre in which the stylistic line between "punk" and "metal" has often blurred.

There have been numerous trends and movements within hardcore, mostly self-classified according to a particular philosophy or political outlook. Perhaps most notable is the straight-edge "scene" (because many involved would not necessarily want to be called a "movement"), which got its name from a Minor Threat song that espoused complete avoidance of drugs, alcohol, and promiscuity. Other hardcore scenes include pacifist bands, Hindu bands, and even Eastern Orthodox Christian bands.

Hardcore Bands:

  • The Dillinger Escape Plan
  • Today is The Day
  • Negative Approach
  • Articles of Faith
  • The Antibodies
  • Evil Eye
  • Black Flag
  • Free Beer
  • Hatebreed
  • Blood for Blood
  • Martyr AD
  • Dag Nasty
  • Snapcase
  • Where Fear and Weapons Meet
  • No Innocent Victim
  • Stretch Armstrong
  • Zao
  • Poison the Well
  • 1/4" Micro Bomb
  • The Unseen
  • AFI
  • The Locust
  • Descendents
  • Circle Jerks[?]
  • Bad Brains
  • Teen Idles[?]

Some bands listed according to subgenre:

Straight Edge

  • Minor Threat
  • Society System Decontrol (SSD)
  • Youth of Today
  • Earth Crisis
  • Uniform Choice
  • Vegan Reich
  • Youth of Today
  • Ignite
  • Gorilla Biscuits


Hindu/Hare Krishna

  • 108
  • Antidote
  • Cause for Alarm
  • Cro-Mags
  • Shelter


  • Agnostic Front
  • Biohazard
  • Candiria
  • Canaan
  • Madball
  • Necros
  • Sick of it All
  • 25 ta Life



  • Jud Jud

Emotional Hardcore (Emo)

  • By a Thread
  • Grade
  • Cave In
  • Embrace


  • American Hardcore (Feral House, 2002)

Hardcore splintered off into many subgenres. The most popular so far has been "Emo", wich orriginally stood for "emotional hardcore" but has come to represent a style and music of its own.

2. Hardcore also refers to a kind of totally instrumental Techno music, being divided into such subcategories as Gabba and Happy Hardcore[?].

3. Hardcore also refers to explicit pornography which depicts sex organs or sex acts.

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