Hardcore, even within alternative music, is a rather maligned genre. Lots of the ‘Very Metal’ crowd seem to think of it as stupid music for stupid people, and while we’re not saying that Hatebreed are basically Tool, hardcore as a genre has grown into a very expansive and interesting genre since the turn of the millennium.
So sit back, warm up your table-flipping hands, and let us guide you through the best of what modern hardcore has to offer.
And don’t worry all of you older hands crying into your Cro-Mags t-shirts, a special article on the origins of hardcore and in the 80s and 90s is being brewed especially for you.
As we said before, hardcore is a far more expansive genre than a lot of people realise. Theres the slightly lighter, less all-out-aggro sounds of H2O and Ignite, which is based more on the lyrics and the overall feel of the song rather than just how hard you can smack someone in the face. Of course there are plenty of bands who have that politically charged mind behind the lyric writing and who do just want to slap you, like Stick To Your Guns and Stray From The Path, and although their music may be simple going, their subject matter is not.
We’ve also had a phenomenal hardcore scene in the UK, and this list would not be complete without some Gallows in there. Although Your Demise and Gallows both have not had a 100% hit rate with their music, but when they nailed it, they really nailed it.
There is also the scope to get immensely technical within hardcore. Norma Jean are prime examples of this, and although Architects started to move away from hardcore into more tech-influenced metalcore, their early work was pure hardcore fire. British young-bloods Palm Reader are good examples of where this is moving to, and again this list would not be complete without any Converge. Converge are probably one of the most well-respected bands on this list, and although they have never got that big, they have an utterly fanatical cult following, and for good reason.
Every Time I Die and Cancer Bats are good examples of where hardcore can be mixed in with other genres; Every Time I Die have a lot of southern rock swagger to their music, thanks in no small part to the musical dexterity of the guitarists and the incredible vocal skills of Keith Buckley; Cancer Bats have, particularly in their later work moved into more heavy metal/doom areas, which although was not as far forward as it is now, was always there in their music; even Hatebreed could be considered a “metalcore” band (but don’t listen to them thinking they’re going to sound like Bring Me The Horizon or Story Of The Year, because they don’t).