Genre Course: Melodic Hardcore

Stylistic Origins:

  • Hardcore Punk
  • Post-Hardcore
  • Punk Rock
  • Post-Punk
  • Heavy Metal



Originating from the 1980s Hardcore Punk scene, bands who cared less about speed and heaviness and instead leaned more on melody and song structure began to emerge in South California. Dubbed the “So-Cal Punk Scene” bands like Bad Religion, Pennywise and The Offspring helped cultivate what is now dubbed Melodic Hardcore.


Melodic Hardcore bands are usually slower than conventional Hardcore bands as they lean more towards melody rather than speed, additionally many bands incorporate lead guitar work into their sound.

Lvl 1: Modern Melodic Hardcore

Rise Against

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).



Founded by former .baxter vocalist and Arma Angelus bassist Tim Mcilrath, former 88 Finger Louie bassist and guitarist Joe Principe and Dan Wlekinski and drummer Toni Tintari, in 1999 under the name Transistor Revolt the band self-released their first EP self-titled Transistor Revolt. Even from then the band’s style was obvious, furiously fast guitar, drums and unclean vocals mixed with slow and melodic sections including Mcilrath’s clean vocals

However in 2000 Tintari left, being replaced Dan Lumley and subsequently former Pinhead Circus drummer Brandon Barnes.

The band’s debut EP gained the attention of NoFx Lead Singer /Rhythm Guitar and Fat Wreck Chords owner, Fat Mike, who immediately signed the band, before they changed their name to Rise Against.

Now signed to Fat Wreck Chords, Rise Against released their debut studio album entitled The Unraveling, including Reception Fades, 401 Kill (previously titled Two) and The Art of Losing which were all previously included on their debut EP (along with Join The Ranks which was later released on their compilation album Long Forgotten Songs).

On the band’s second LP, Revolutions Per Minute, they strayed away from their melodic sensibilities and released a more traditional Hardcore Punk album (although their melodic-tinge is still present on many songs). Additionally, this album was the only album released with Killing Tree and future The Falcon guitarist Todd Mohoney, who was soon replaced by former Reach The Sky guitarist Chris Chasse (recent projects include Nations Afire and Great Collapse). Who’s first appearance is on the band’s fourth release, and major label debut Siren Song of The Counter Culture, in 2004.

Siren Song followed the formula set by The Unraveling however incorporated elements of Post-Hardcore, Crust Punk and Emocore, however this album marked the end of Rise Against’s Melodic Hardcore days, as in their subsequent albums they followed a more conventional Pop Punk and Alternative Rock formular.

New Found Glory


As Florida Pop Punkers, New Found Glory, began to mature, their music’s fun and childish exterior went with it, as with the release of their 2008 EP Tip of the Iceberg the band began to incorporate elements of Melodic Hardcore into their sound which was present through Not Without a Fight however was abandoned on later releases.

Sum 41


Canadian Alternative Metal band Sum 41 gained their notability in the early 2000s for such Pop Punk and Skate Punk hits as Fat LipIn Too Deep and Motivation,  however the band’s primary style has laid between Melodic Hardcore and Alternative Metal, showcased in Does This Look Infected, Chuck and Screaming Bloody Murder, additionally Biker Metal and Crossover Thrash influences can be heard from the first song released from their up and coming album 13 VoicesFake My Own Death; and Thrash Metal influences in Chuck.

Strike Anywhere



Melodic Hardcore veterans, Strike Anywhere were formed from the ashes of Inquisition, releasing their first EP in 2000 entitled Chorus Of One however their first Melodic Hardcore release was 2001’s Change Is a Sound, which also incorporated elements of Post-Hardcore. However, the band’s biggest release was Exit English in 2003 including To The World and Infrared.



Nottingham Punk Rockers, Consumed, were formed in 1994 with members including MisfitsDead KennedysMarky RamoneSuffocationEvile and Destruction agent Biz Barrett, Cerbral Fix bassist and Iron Monkey guitarist Steve WatsonThe Blueprint drummer, bassist and guitarist/vocalist Chris Billam, Luke Moss and Will Burchell and Snuff bassist Wes Wasley. Pre-dating Rise Against by four years, Consumed released three albums before breaking up in 2003, However the band recently reformed in 2015.

Lvl 2: So-Cal Punk

The “Epi-Fat” or “So-Cal” sound is sometimes used to describe 1980s and 1990s Melodic Hardcore and Skate Punk scene, the names being a fusion of the two leading record labels in the scene, Epitaph Records and Fat Wreck Chords, and referring to how a majority of the bands originated from South California, respectively.

Bands like Bad Religion, NoFx, Descendants and Strung Out all helped set the foundation of Melodic Hardcore, and showcased its early cross pollination with Skate Punk.

Bad Religion


Formed in 1979, Bad Religion experimented  with New WaveProgressive Rock and convention Hardcore Punk before finally finding a sound they could call their own on 1988’s Suffer. Trading in their early use of unclean vocals and brake neck pace for cleaner melodic vocals and a less blistering speed, Bad Religion set the standard for Melodic Hardcore in the ’90s.



Releasing their self-titled full-length debut in 1991, Pennywise built upon the ground work set by Bad Religion, by mixing elements of Skate Punk into the already loosely defined genre.



Fronted by Fat Mike, owner of Fat Wreck Chords, NoFx helped define the South California Skate Punk scene with their 1992 release White Trash, Two Heebs and a Bean. Molding elements of Skate Punk, Melodic Hardcore, Punk Rock and Pop into their humor-filled sound, songs like Stickin In My Eye laid the foundation for later Skate Punk and subsequent Pop Punk groups like Blink-182, Yellowcard and MxPx.



Arguably the first Pop Punk band, Descendants fused Pop melodies with Hardcore aggression starting on their 1982 release Milo Goes To College. Incorporating melody with hardcore since the early 80s, Descendants helped inspire the sound used by the likes of Bad Religion and NoFx


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