All too often, hardcore punk bands think that playing hardcore is simply playing as loud and fast as you can, with little thought to style or musical construction. This isn't really the case--at least not all the time. Many hardcore bands have played with style and skill, and even some of the best that favor playing really loud and really fast developed their own style of doing it. If you want to get into hardcore punk, it helps to first know those who did it first--and best. Here are 10 albums no self-respecting hardcore fan should be without.
As if punk rock weren't fast and aggressive enough, hardcore emerged in the late '70s as a leaner, meaner, uglier alternative to what most respectable folks already deemed the alternative. Whereas the Ramones dug '60s pop and the Sex Pistols drew on the artsy pretensions of Svengali manager Malcolm McLaren, hardcore's early proponents stripped away all artifice and musical niceties. This was brutish music made largely by bored and angry American teenagers, and thanks to word-of-mouth promotion, DIY scenes soon sprang up from Southern California to the major cities of the Northeast. Our list of the 10 Best Hardcore Bands spans the late '70s to the present and represents several mutant strains and sub-sub-genres.
Norway might be more heavily associated with black and death metal than it is with fast, aggressive, metallic punk. But the Oslo-based Oberst are keen to broaden our horizons and prove to us that Norwegians can produce some great hardcore — and why wouldn't they? With such a breadth of musical heritage and an affinity towards the underground and extreme, it makes perfect sense.