Genre Course: Hardcore Punk

Stylistic Origins:

  • Punk Rock

Sub-Genres & Derivative Forms:

  • Street Punk
  • Melodic Hardcore
  • Skate Punk
  • Crust Punk
  • Thrashcore
  • Thrash Metal
  • Crossover Thrash
  • Emocore
  • Post-Hardcore
  • Metalcore
  • Deathcore
  • Mathcore
  • Electonicore
  • Modern Hardcore
  • Digital Hardcore
  • Grindcore
  • Rapcore



After the original wave of Punk Rock (with bands like The Clash, Ramones and Cock Sparrer) gained traction in the UK, New York’s own Ramones began to gain popularity in their home town. The popularity of which inspired kids to start bands and attempt the style the Ramones made famous.

These bands took the essence of Punk and quadrupled it in speed, simplicity and intensity.

However, the ringleaders of this scene did not begin in New York, instead one of the band hailed for creating the genre was Washington D.C’s Bad Brains, who along with Minor Threat, Black Flag and Dead Kennedys forming the “Hardcore Four”.


Hardcore bands pick up the pace and intensity of Punk Rock.

Lvl 1: The Hardcore Four

The Five biggest bands in Hardcore; sometimes referred to as the “Hardcore Four” or “Big Four of Hardcore” these include California’s Black Flag and Dead Kennedys and Washington D.C’s Bad Brains and Minor Threat.

Black Flag


Formed in 1976, Black Flag were one of the earliest bands in the genre, the band released three EPs before the release of their first album Damaged in 1981. However while still keeping the essence of their Hardcore roots, in their second full length album My War Black Flag began to experiment with their sound and push it into different directions, mixing Clean and Unclean vocals, varying their riffs and on Family Man incorporating  spoken word and Jazz Fusion, helped create Post-Hardcore.

Bad Brains

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Washington D.C’s Bad Brains formed in 1977, originally came together as a Jazz Fusion band called Mind Power, however later decided that wasn’t the style they wanted to maintain leading to the release of their first album in 1982 titled Bad Brains. The band often incorporates elements of Reggae into their sound along with Alternative Metal in 1986’s I Against I, 1993’s Rise, 1995’s God of Love and 2012’s Into The Future, Funk Metal in 1990’s The Youth Are Getting Restless and Dub in 1991’s Spirit Electricity.

Dead Kennedys


Formed in San Francisco, California in 1978 before breaking up in 1986, the Dead Kennedys released their first album entitled Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables in 1980 featuring Kill The Poor and the Surf Rock influenced Holiday in Cambodia. Of the Hardcore scene Dead Kennedys had one of the strongest stylistic leanings towards Classic Punk bands, with the exclusion of unclean vocals and a tempo more reminiscent of such bands. Additionally on 1982’s Plastic Surgery Disasters and 1985’s Frankenchrist the band incorporated elements of Post-Punk into their sound.

Minor Threat


Formed in Washington D.C in 1980, Minor Threat only existed for three years and released two EPs in that time. Due to this Minor Threat’s blisteringly fast discography can be digested in less than one hour. However their influence is still apparent on the scene, due to them bringing additional speed to the sound and helping influence genres like Grindcore.

Lvl 2: Sub-Genres


Originating in the early 1980s, Thrashcore did to Hardcore, what Hardcore did to Punk (that being picking up the speed and heaviness) and incorporated Blast Beats into the sound., essentially making it a less metallic formed of Grindcore.

Thrashcore Bands:

  • Agnostic Front
  • Cryptic Slaughter
  • Dirty Rotten Imbeciles
  • Drop Dead
  • D.R.I
  • Septic Death
  • S.O.B
  • Vitamin X

Thrash Metal

Building upon the existing Heavy Metal and Thrashcore genres, Thrash Metal picked up the speed and aggression of what we saw in the NWOBHM scene.

Full Thrash Metal article

Crossover Thrash

As Thrash fused elements of Heavy Metal and Hardcore Punk, there would of course be a spectrum of bands who use different amounts of each genre in their sound. This is where Crossover Thrash comes in.

Crossover Thrash (sometimes simply referred to as “Crossover“) used the ideas used in Thrash Metal although was more simplistic and higher energy like Hardcore Punk.

Crossover bands:

  • Agnostic Front
  • Cro-Mags
  • D.R.I
  • M.O.D
  • Muncipal Waste
  • Sick of It All
  • S.O.D
  • Suicidal Tendencies

Crust Punk

Originating in mid 1980s in England, Crust Punk incorporates elements of Hardcore and Extreme Metal, the sound is often bass-filled and dirty with with either cut-throat fast speeds (just short of Thrashcore and Grindcore) or eerie and slow tempos. Additionally, bands like Amebix incorporated elements of Proto-Black Metal and Industrial Rock.

Crust Punk bands:

  • Amebix
  • Antisect
  • DIRT
  • Disfear
  • Doom
  • Dystopia
  • Fleas and Lice
  • Hellbastard
  • His Hero Is Gone
  • Nausea
  • Sore Throat


Short for Emotional Hardcore Punk, Emocore was pioneered in the mid 1980s by bands such as Rites of Spring and Embrace. Although sometimes confused with Emo Pop, this genre differentiates itself by being a more emotional form of Hardcore Punk rather than that of Pop Punk. However the “Emo Pop Boom” of the mid 2000s also lead to a rise in Emocore-Revival bands like Story of The Year, Senses Fail and The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. Emcore often incorporates slow lead guitar work in minor scales in front of basic Hardcore instrumentals and lyrics are often dark, deeply personal and confessional.

Emocore bands:

  • Embrace
  • The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
  • Rights of Spring
  • Senses Fail
  • This Town Needs Guns
  • Story of The Year

Melodic Hardcore

Originating in the early 1980s, Melodic Hardcore is more melodic form of Hardcore Punk and sometimes incorporates lead work into songs. The “Epi-Fat” sound is sometimes used to describe 1980s and early 1990s Melodic Hardcore, the name being a fusion of the two leading record labels in the scene, Epitaph Records and Fat Wreck Chords, and incorporates bands like Bad Religion, NoFx, Descendants and Strung Out.

Modern Melodic Hardcore

The Modern Melodic Hardcore scene was practically created by Rise Against on the their 2001 debut The Unraveling and further expanded upon on their third release Siren Song of the Counter Culture (especially with the album’s lead single Give It All).

Melodic Hardcore also had an influence on Pop Punk as Pop Punk bands who wanted to venture into heavier territory (like Sum 41, New Found Glory or A Day To Remember) would often find themselves with the Melodic Hardcore sound or in some cases Easycore.

Melodic Hardcore bands:

  • Bad Religion
  • Consumed
  • Counterparts
  • Dag Nasty
  • Descendants
  • Gorilla Biscuit
  • Man With a Mission
  • New Found Glory
  • NoFx
  • Pennywise
  • Rise Against
  • Strike Anywhere
  • Sum 41
  • Zebrahead

Full Melodic Hardcore article


Originating in the late 1990s, Metalcore incorporates elements of Hardcore Punk, Heavy Metal and Post-Hardcore to varying degrees and is tied often confused with Modern Hardcore. Unclean vocals are common in verses and cleans in choruses, breakdowns are usually present in the bridge (however some bands use breakdowns else where in songs). Additionally, bands incorporate chugging, down tuned guitar and blast beats.

Metalcore Bands:

  •  Above The Hate
  • All That Remains
  • Architects
  • Asking Alexandria
  • Atreyu
  • Attack Attack!
  • Axewound
  • Black Veil Brides
  • Bring Me The Horizon
  • Bullet For My Valentine
  • Classic Jack
  • Cross Faith
  • Crown The Empire
  • Enter Shikari
  • Escape The Fate

Modern Hardcore

Modern Hardcore is a genre often confused with Metalcore, however as Metalcore leans more towards the Metal side, Modern Hardcore leans more towards the Hardcore side. Originating in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Modern Hardcore incorporates elements of Heavy Metal and Post-Hardcore into the Hardcore sound with pioneering bands such as Converge, Earth Crisis, Integrity and Hatebreed. Modern Hardcore usually incorporates unclean vocals with occasional clean vocals, chugging, occasional breakdowns and high energy and tempos.

Modern Hardcore bands:

  • Beartooth
  • Biohazard
  • Cancer Bats
  • Converge
  • Earth Crisis
  • Hatebreed
  • Visions of Disorder



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