In North America, the music genre that became known as hardcore punk originated in different areas in late 1970s and early 1980s in California, Washington, DC, Chicago, New York City, Winnipeg, Vancouver, Toronto and Boston. The origin of the term hardcore punk is not documented. The Vancouver-based band D.O.A. may have helped to popularize the term with the title of their 1981 album, Hardcore '81. However, until about 1983, the term hardcore was used fairly sparingly, and mainly as a descriptive term. (i.e., a band would be called a "hardcore band" and a concert would be a "hardcore show"). American teenagers who were fans of hardcore punk simply considered themselves fans of punk – although they were not necessarily interested in the original punk rock sound of late 1970s (e.g., the Ramones, the Sex Pistols, The Clash, the Damned, Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers, Richard Hell and the Voidoids, the Dead Boys). In many circles, hardcore was an in-group term, meaning 'music by people like us,' and it included a wide range of sounds, from hyper-speed hardcore to sludgy dirge-rock, and sometimes including arty experimental bands, such as The Stickmen and Flipper.
Since most bands had little access to any means of production, hardcore lauded a do-it-yourself (DIY) approach. In most cities the hardcore scene relied on inexpensively-made DIY recordings done on four-track recorders and sold at shows or by mail. Concerts were promoted by photocopied zines, community radio shows, and affixing posters to walls and telephone poles. Hardcore punk fans adopted a a dressed-down style of T-shirts, jeans, and crewcut style. While 1977-era punk had used DIY clothing as well, such as torn pants held together with safety pins, the "dressed down" style of 1980s hardcore scene contrasted with the more campy, elaborate and provocative fashion styles of late 1970s punk rockers such as Soo Catwoman, which featured make-up, elaborate hairdos and avant-garde clothing experiments.
At the same time, there was a parallel development in the UK of a British form of hardcore punk, which later became known as UK 82.UK 82 bands such as Discharge and Charged GBH took the existing late 1970s punk sound and added the incessant, heavy drumbeats and "wall of sound" distortion guitar sound of New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) bands such as Motörhead. While North American hardcore punk and UK 82 hardcore developed at the same time, it is not clear whether UK 82 was directly influenced by the American hardcore punk scene, or vice versa.
"Godfathers" of the genreEdit
Michael Azerrad's book Our Band Could Be Your Life and Steven Blush' documentary film American Hardcore traces hardcore back to three bands: Black Flag, Bad Brains, and Minor Threat. Azerrad calls Black Flag, formed in Los Angeles in 1976, the music’s "godfathers." Azerrad credits Bad Brains, formed in Washington, D.C. in 1977, with introducing "light speed" tempos. He calls Minor Threat, formed in Washington, D.C. in 1980, the "definitive" hardcore punk band.
Black Flag, led by guitarist and songwriter Greg Ginn, had a major impact on the Los Angeles scene – and later the wider North American scene – with their raw, confrontational sound and DIY ethical stance. Tours in 1980 and 1981 brought Black Flag in contact with developing hardcore scenes in many parts of North America, and blazed trails followed by other touring bands.
Bad Brains formed in Washington, DC. The band members had a varied background in soul music, funk, and jazz, as well as taking influence from heavy metal (Black Sabbath) and punk rock (the Sex Pistols). The single "Pay to Cum" b/w "Stay Close to Me" was released in 1980. Their self-titled debut album (originally a 1982 cassette-only release from Reachout International Records) included three reggae songs, in sharp contrast to the rest of their music, which mainly consisted of fast, loud, hardcore punk.
Minor Threat, also from Washington D.C., played an aggressive, fast, hardcore punk style influenced by Bad Brains. The band was responsible for inspiring the straight edge movement, especially with their song, "Straight Edge".
Other early notable bandsEdit
Template:Sound sample box align left Template:Listen Template:Sample box end According to Brendan Mullen, founder of the Los Angeles punk club The Masque, the first U.S. tour of The Damned in 1977 found them favoring very fast tempos, causing a "sensation" among fans and musicians, and helping inspire the first wave of U.S. west coast hardcore punk.
Several 1970s bands from southern California released records featuring music that sounds very similar to what later became known as hardcore. One of those records is the Middle Class’ 1978 Out of Vogue EP.. A more influential record was The Germs’ 1979 LP (GI); essentially a hardcore record, not only for its quick tempos but also for its fast chord changes. Also from Orange County, T.S.O.L (formed in 1978) made a name for themselves in the hardcore punk scene with a melodic yet aggressive punk sound. In Long Beach, a band called Rhino 39 and their single with Xerox/No Compromise is one of the first hardcore-punk records. Also, The Bags from L.A. sped up the punk sound and can be considered as one of the proto-hc/punks.
San Francisco's Dead Kennedys formed in 1978 and released their first single "California Über Alles" in 1979. By the time they released the In God We Trust, Inc. EP in 1981, Dead Kennedys were playing very fast tempos. Circle Jerks’ first album (recorded in late 1979, released 1980) features several songs with very fast chord changes and tempos. The Misfits (of New Jersey) were a 1977-style punk band involved in New York’s Max's Kansas City scene. Their horror film aesthetic was popular among early hardcore fans. In 1981, the Misfits integrated high-speed thrash songs into their set. Hüsker Dü was formed in Saint Paul, Minnesota in 1979 as a post-punk/New Wave band, but soon became a loud and fast hard punk band. Hüsker Dü released the 1982 live album Land Speed Record, which has been called a "breakneck force like no other... Not for the faint of heart." By 1985, the band morphed into one of the seminal alternative rock bands. In 1980 Bad Religion also released How Could Hell Be Any Worse? which is considered a benchmark hardcore album throughout many circles and ultimately secured them as ond of the the most enduring outfits of the early 80's hardcore scene. While maintaining a relatively consistent all the while, the band has been criticized for consistency when not also transcendending the genre they pioneered over the course of their career.
By 1981, many more hardcore punk bands began to perform and release demos and records, including 7 Seconds of Reno, Nevada who formed as early as 1979; The Neos of Victoria, British Columbia; Negative Approach and Degenerates of Detroit; The Meatmen of Lansing, Michigan; The Necros of Maumee, Ohio; The Effigies of Chicago; SS Decontrol, DYS, Negative FX, Jerry's Kids, and Gang Green of Boston; Zeroption of Toronto; the Big Boys, MDC and The Dicks of Austin, Texas; Sadistic Exploits of Philadelphia and Adrenalin O.D. from New Jersey. The Beastie Boys, more widely known for their later hip hop music, were one of the first published hardcore bands in New York City. Negative FX, perhaps the most popular hardcore band in Boston around early 1982, did not appear on record while they were together. They were largely unknown outside their own area until a posthumous album was released in 1984. Notable early hardcore punk records include The Angry Samoans’ first LP, the Big Boys/The Dicks Live at Raul's Club split LP, the Boston-area compilation This Is Boston, Not L.A., Minor Threat's 7" EPs, JFA's Blatant Localism EP, the New York-area compilations New York Thrash and The Big Apple Rotten To The Core, Negative Approach's eponymous EP and the DC-area compilation record Flex Your Head.
Early media support and criticismEdit
An influential radio show in the Los Angeles area was Rodney on the ROQ, which started airing on the commercial station KROQ in 1976. DJ Rodney Bingenheimer played many styles of music and helped popularize what was called Beach Punk, a rowdy suburban style played by mostly teenage bands in the Huntington Beach area and in heavily conservative Orange County. Early radio support in New Jersey came from Pat Duncan, who hosted live punk and hardcore bands weekly on WFMU since 1979.. In New York City, Tim Sommer hosted Noise The Show on WNYU. In 1982 and 1983, MTV put the hardcore punk band Kraut on mild rotation.
College radio was the main media outlet for hardcore punk in most of North America. The Berkeley, California public radio station KPFA featured the Maximum RocknRoll radio show with DJs Tim Yohannon and Jeff Bale, who played the younger Northern California bands. Several zines, such as Flipside and Maximum RocknRoll, also helped spread the new punk style. A few college stations faced FCC action due to the broadcasting of indecent lyrics associated with hardcore songs.
Concerts in the early hardcore scene increasingly became sites of violent battles between police and concertgoers, especially in Los Angeles. Reputed violence at hardcore concerts was featured in episodes of the popular television shows CHiPs and Quincy, M.E., in which Los Angeles hardcore punks were depicted as being involved in murder and mayhem.
Early history in EuropeEdit
The Netherlands, Finland, Sweden, and Germany have had notably active hardcore scenes. However, in the United Kingdom, UK82 (also known as UK Hardcore) bands such as The Exploited, Charged GBH, Picture Frame Seduction, Discharge, and The Anti-Nowhere League occupied the cultural space that American-style hardcore did elsewhere. These UK bands at times showed a musical similarity to American hardcore, often including quick tempos and chord changes, and they generally had similar political and social sensibilities. However, they represented a case of parallel evolution, having been musically inspired by earlier London Oi! bands such as Sham 69, and the proto-speed metal band Motörhead.
Discharge played a huge role in influencing the early Swedish hardcore bands, such as Anti Cimex. Many hardcore bands from that region still have a strong Discharge and Motörhead influence. The band Entombed is also cited as a strong influence on Swedish hardcore bands from the early 1990s onward. Discharge were a big influence on Metallica as well.
In much the same way, anarcho-punk bands such as Crass, Icons of Filth, Flux Of Pink Indians and Rudimentary Peni had little in common with American hardcore other than an uncompromising political philosophy and an abrasive aesthetic. Perhaps closer were bands like The Membranes whose 1984 releases were far noisier than anything the Americans were offering. Many American hardcore punks listened to British punk bands, but others upheld a strict regionalism, deriding the UK bands as rock stars, and their fans as poseurs—a loaded and derogatory term which implies that a person is not an "authentic punk".
American hardcore bands that visited the UK (such as Black Flag and U.S. Chaos in 1981-1982) encountered equally ambivalent attitudes. European hardcore bands suffered no such prejudice in the U.S.; Italian bands Raw Power and Negazione, and the Dutch BGK, enjoyed widespread popularity.
In the more underground part of the UK punk scene, a new hardcore sound and scene developed, inspired by continental European, Scandinavian, Japanese and American bands. It was started by bands like Asylum and Plasmid, and their sound – only heard at live concerts and on demo tapes and compilations in the mid 1980s – evolved into bands such as Heresy, Ripcord, Napalm Death, and Extreme Noise Terror.
Some of the most important influences among late-1980s UK bands included the Japanese band GISM; Boston band Siege, Idaho band Septic Death, Los Angeles band Cryptic Slaughter and Swedish band Anti Cimex; as well as more metallic bands such as Celtic Frost and Metallica. However, by the late 1980s, UK bands were becoming far more influenced by American bands such as the Dead Kennedys (who were always very popular in the UK), Black Flag and many of the early Washington, D.C., New York, Boston and West Coast hardcore bands such as Minor Threat, DYS, Slapshot and 7 Seconds. Straight edge began to make its presence felt in the UK, with the emergence of small straight edge communities in most major cities in the UK, and straight edge bands forming in Durham and London.
There were many 1980s bands that could be described as sounding like something in between the styles of the dominating UK and US bands. While the bands that had the most significant influence were parallel-evolved bands such as Discharge and Charged GBH, others, such as The Stupids (a UK band influenced by US hardcore) gained brief but widespread college-radio airplay in the US.
Some notable bands from that era in Europe were Crise Total (Portugal), Negazione, Wretched, Raw Power, Italy), H.H.H., MG-15, Subterranean Kids, L'Odi Social, Ultimo Gobierno (Spain), Vorkriegsjugend, (Germany), U.B.R. (Former Yugoslavia), Heimat-Los (France), Lärm, BGK, Funeral Oration (Netherlands), Dezerter, (Poland), Kaaos, Lama, Riistetyt, Terveet Kädet, (Finland), Headcleaners, Homy Hogs, Mob 47, and Anti-Cimex (Sweden).
Examples of bands that continued to play that style of hardcore in the 1990s include: Slapshot, Voorhees, Totalitär, Disfear, Meanwhile, Flesh Revels, Los Crudos, and Sin Dios. After fall of the Iron Curtain in eastern Europe, many harcore bands were created or became more publicly known (after hiding in garages and being known by small circles of underground fans). Examples of such bands include Sarcastic Front from Czech Republic, or AMD and Leukemia from Hungary.
Hardcore also become popular in Asia in the late 1980s and early 1990s, with bands such as Tame The Tikbalang, N.S.A., Agony of Destruction, Death from Above, Mutual Assured Destruction and Biofeedback from the Philippines. Also with the help of Take Four Collectives a number of bands are striving to showcase their stuff with Sauna, Bystorm, just to name a few; and Disclose from Japan.
In the late 1980s, bands such as NoMeansNo and Victim's Family created a new style of music by blending aggressive elements from hardcore with influences from genres such as psychedelic rock, progressive rock, noise, jazz, or math rock (a development sometimes termed jazzcore). This path was followed in the early 1990s by Omega Minus, Mr Bungle, Candiria, Deep Turtle and Ruins. The noisecore played by Melt-Banana may have been a separate evolution. Other notable hardcore-influenced bands in this genre include the avant-garde Naked City (formed by saxophonist John Zorn) and Neurosis, which started as a hardcore band before exploring slower tempos and dark ambiance. Many bands started to incorporate emotional and personal aspects into their music; influenced by the sounds coming out of Washington, D.C. and Dischord Records, which by the late 1990s had evolved into emo. Nation of Ulysses was one of the most influential bands to come out of D.C.; combining dissonant guitars similar to those of Black Flag, elements of jazz, and a seemingly absurdist (or Situationist) political ideology. Their sound and fashion sense influenced the San Diego (or 'Chula Vista') hardcore scene.
Template:Further Template:Original research By the end of the 1980s, hardcore became more diverse, branching off into two sounds: one traditionally punk-based and the other more metal-influenced. The punk-focused sound retains much of the style and feel of the original hardcore punk bands, while the more metallic sound, sometimes called metalcore, tends to be heavier and often more technical.
Biohazard, Judge, and Integrity were some of the earliest bands to mix heavy metal and hardcore. Other notable metalcore bands include:Hatebreed, and Bleeding Through. The metalcore sound is an amalgamation of deep, hoarse vocals (though rarely as deep or guttural as death metal); downtuned guitars and thrashy drum rhythms inspired by earlier hardcore bands; and slow, staccato low-end musical breaks, known as breakdowns. Thrash metal and melodic death metal elements are also common in metalcore. Some metalcore, such as (Bio-Hazard) (band)|Bio-Hazard]] and Candiria, are also influenced by hip hop music, and their music is sometimes described as rapcore. Other important groups of the era, such as Inside Out from California and Burn from New York, retained elements of classic hardcore along with more progressive rhythms, chord progressions, and lyrics.
Ebullition Records, founded in 1990 by Kent McClard in Santa Barbara, California, often released albums by bands that criticized the American political and economic system; giving far less attention to personal issues. Anarchist ethics seeped their way into the work of many hardcore punk bands, most notably Aus-Rotten, who were also popular in the crust punk genre. On the east coast of the United States, bands such as Rorschach and Born Against also played a similar left-wing, almost Marxist form of metallic hardcore. Refused gained international recognition after touring for several years with their three first Albums. They released their final album The Shape of Punk to Come and later broke up on a tour in USA.
Hardcore & PoliticsEdit
The aforementioned "Godfathers" of the hardcore genre took strong political stances, most notably against President Ronald Reagan who served in office from 1981-89. Reagan's policies, which included cutting taxes and slowing the increase of federal social spending, while increasing military spending, gave these bands plenty to write about.
Influence on other genres Edit
The San Francisco-based thrash metal band Metallica incorporated the compositional structure and technical proficiency of heavy metal with the speed and aggression of hardcore. The new fusion genre became known as speed metal, and later thrash metal. Other early bands in this genre include Megadeth and Anthrax. Slayer are also known for their hardcore punk roots, and have released an album of hardcore covers called Undisputed Attitude. Many longtime punks, who remembered fighting with hostile metalheads only a fews years earlier, felt that those long-haired heavy metal fans were attempting to co-opt hardcore, and were merely mimicking the hardcore punk style.
In 1985, New York's Stormtroopers of Death, an Anthrax side project, released the album Speak English or Die. Although it bore similarities to thrash metal – with a bass-heavy guitar, fast tempos and quick chord changes – the album was distinguished from thrash metal by its lack of guitar solos and heavy use of crunchy chord breakdowns (a New York hardcore technique) known as mosh parts. Other bands, such as Suicidal Tendencies and DRI, switched from hardcore to a similar metallic style, which came to be known as crossover.
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 but broke away from its loud and fast formula. Critic Joe S. Harrington suggested that the latter two "paraded as Hardcore until it was deemed permissible to do otherwise". In the mid-1980s, Washington State bands such as The Melvins and Green River developed a sludgy, "aggressive sound that melded the slower tempos of heavy metal with the intensity of hardcore", creating what became known as grunge music. The early grunge sound was largely influenced by Black Sabbath and Black Flag (especially their My War album). Kurt Cobain once described Nirvana's sound as "The Knack and The Bay City Rollers being molested by Black Flag and Black Sabbath." The popularity of grunge resulted in renewed interest in American hardcore in the 1990s.
The later 1980s and early 1990s also saw the development of Post-hardcore, which took the genre and its contingency in a more artistic and complex direction, much as the groups of the post-punk era did for classic punk rock. Washington DC, in particular the community surrounding Dischord records, became a hotbed for post-hardcore, producing bands such as Hoover, The Nation of Ulysses, Jawbox, and Fugazi, who helped define the post-hardcore scene and included Dischord founder and former Minor Threat frontman Ian MacKaye. Other important post-hardcore bands from around the country include Chicago's Big Black, New York's Quicksand and Orange 9mm, Seattle's Pretty Girls Make Graves, Atlanta's Light Pupil Dilate and El Paso, Texas' At The Drive-In.
Post-hardcore included and influenced other styles, such as emo music and math rock. Early emo bands were influenced by hardcore bands like Rites of Spring, Minor Threat, and Black Flag. Emo bands are heavily influenced by hardcore punk's powerful lyrics, song structure and emotion. Sunny Day Real Estate are sometimes called the "first true emo band."
The hardcore punk scene had an influence that spread beyond music. The straight edge philosophy was rooted in a faction of hardcore particularly popular on the east coast of the United States. Hardcore also put a great emphasis on the DIY punk ethic, with many bands making their own records, flyers, and other items, and booking their own tours through an informal network of like-minded people. Radical environmentalism and veganism found popular expressions in the hardcore scene.
In the 2000s, some pop punk bands, often containing former members of metalcore or hardcore punk bands (such as New Found Glory's Chad Gilbert, a one-time member of Shai Hulud, and Fall Out Boy's Andrew Hurley, formerly of Racetraitor and Vegan Reich) have created a new style by mixing hardcore and pop punk. The pop punk breakdown, in which bands play hardcore -or metalcore- style breakdowns with more melodic chords, has become common.
There are still many bands today that follow the lines of original hardcore. It has evolved somewhat since the 80's but still follows many of the ideals like straight edge and hasn't been fused too much with metal. One of the most prominent record label of hardcore music currently is Bridge 9 Records. They represent a current trend in hardcore, putting out records by bands such as Champion, Sick Of It All, Stand And Fight, American Nightmare.
Another common, heavier sound is represented by bands such as From Ashes Rise and Tragedy who play a brand of melodic sound influenced by crustcore.
There are also many contemporary bands who play hardcore in an original, purist sense while attempting to add even more intensity to the music. Some of these fall under the power violence category, while others who play a brand of hardcore much like their forefathers of the early 80s. Some of these bands include Career Suicide, Spitting blood, Deadfall, and the now defunct Tear it Up. Many bands like this can be found on the 625 thrashcore record label. These bands are often true to a specific local flavor of hardcore. Another common trend is to try to capture the sound of influential bands from an earlier era. One example of this would be D-beat bands who emulate the early music of Discharge. The bands whose names comes closest to original, is Deathcharge and Dischange; while the most popular band among fans, is the Japanese band Disclose (at least during the first years of the new millennium).
Some people though, consider the hardcore and punk scenes today to be elitist, as well as divided among those whose views vary on issues ranging from politics to DIY ethics.
Additionally, the name "Hardcore" has been applied with increasing frequency to what most would consider "metal" music. Groups like Bleeding Through and Poison the Well have fused the aggression of traditional hardcore with the intensity of metal. Typical of this "metalcore" genre are heavy breakdown parts and harshly delivered vocals, sometimes verging on death metal growl. As this new kind of music has evolved, so has the sub-culture associated with it; for example, fashioncore (such as the music of Bleeding Through). In the 1990s the name "hardcore" even came to be applied to a genre of electronica having nothing in common with hardcore punk.
Although the term "Hardcore" has come to be attached to this kind of music, some fans of traditional Hardcore deride its use. Today, people who still refer to "Hardcore" as the style that began in the Early 1980's, sometimes use the term "Street Punk" rather than use the denigrated "Hardcore". A good example is the Californian hardcore punk band Final Conflict.
The "-core" suffix has also been applied to musical genres which have little in common with "traditional" hardcore, such as Sadcore, Slowcore, and Emocore.
The early-1980s hardcore punk scene developed slam dancing and stage diving. In the later half of the 1980s, the thrash metal scene imitated this form of dancing, with bands such as Anthrax popularizing the term mosh with the metal scene. The term, hardcore dancing, describes a type of dancing that is now a staple of hardcore shows. Hardcore dancers often start off dancing their own unique two-step. Then, dancers move on to other moves such as the floor punch, the windmill (dancer swings arms around like a windmill), the axehandle (dancer swings arms as if chopping with an axe) and cartwheels. Hardcore dancing is also filled with moves descended from break dancing and various martial arts styles.
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