2016 was fucked up on many levels but I abstain from being a pussy about it cause I know 2017 gonna be even worse. And I’m not even talking politics yet, this shit is gonna be out of control. But as the saying goes, when going gets hard, hardcore gets going and there was shitload of good hardcore to help me deal with personal demons and this world going mad. I expect momentum to continue during next 12 months as the social, political and economic situation deteriorate and people have to deal with serious real life shit not he said she said gossip and being fucking sensitive for the sake of it.
Best hardcore in 2017 was:
Harley Flanagan - Cro-Mags
This is hands down the best record of the year. One of the best hardcore to come from NYC in recent years. Harley made 2016 his bitch with this one.
Manipulate - Becoming Madness
My second favorite hardcore record from 2016. Hard-hitting hardcore with ‘80’s crossover vibe so many bands try to recreate but Manipulate did it perfect.
The rest of the list goes in no order.
Backfire - Where We Belong
It’s 2016 and Bf! Continues to deliver uncompromising hardcore recreating the old golden eurocore sound in new ways that make it fresh. I applaud this one for being so in your face.
Bent Life - Never Asked For Heaven
Once this record gets going the shit never stops. Hard as hell!
Knuckledust - Songs Of Sacrifice
London diehards back with a record that deals with the ills of society over thick and pounding hardcore. The music, the message, the attitude - everything works on this one.
Naysayer - Nation Of Greed
Pure menace. Naysayer don’t do nuance which means that ep is filled with that uncompromising, no-weird-shit sound that made them rich and famous.
Point Blank - Burden Of Humanity
This is most likely the least-recognizable title on the list, but it deserves to reach a wider audience. You’re looking at major war shit!
Risk It! - Cross to Bear
Another banger from Europe. Very strong album with each track filled with good stuff that makes you want to incite violence.
Other shit that wasn’t bad:
Absolute Power - Self Titled
Government Flu - Vile Life
Gods Hate - Mass Murder
Ill Intent - Us Vs You
Regulate - Years Of Rage
Rhythm Of Fear - Maze Of Confusion
By now everyone should be familiar with the all good work Ratel Recs has made in the European hardcore arena. Releases from Desperate Times, Last Dayz, Incitement, Bloodstained or Forced Order were all heavy hitters, and with the records they have planned for 2017 it doesn't appear they will be falling off any time soon.
One record I can't wait to finally come out is 3-way split with Power Play (Ukraine), Absolve (Belgium/the Netherlands) and Heavy Runner (Poland). Just take a look at the names of the bands involved and you should know what type of vibe they're on. Each band contributes one new track and one cover. The selection of stolen tracks includes Death Threat, E-Town Concrete and Hatebreed. Each band rips. Wait for when it drops soon!
This is some of the harshest sounding shit I’ve heard in a while. I mean it in a positive sense. Overproducing has messed up so many otherwise enjoyable records that with no doubt I can put it on the list of stuff that sucks the most in hardcore, somewhere between German vegan metalcore and just any band on HCWW youtube. None of that weak shit here, Part II sounds like it was recorded in a filthy crack house basement while fending off rats and cockroaches. Raw and hardened hardcore by way of Hatebreed, Lifeless or Punishment with some faster parts and heavy ass breakdowns.
The overall vibe of the these tracks is negative and bleak. It’s an album of burning anger while sitting in the room with shades down thinking why it all went so horribly wrong. Hardcore for those who know better than to have high expectations from life. It’s all about maintaining while being served blow after blow of pain and mizery. This is one of those bands where if the list of bands I listed as references doesn't get you interested you should skip it. But if you can stomach that amount of hate and dirt, this is for you. Memphis!
Four dudes from Sweden come ripping on this very first demo of Existence. Pissed off hardcore with a massive stomp and slick metallic riffs. And the vocals.. god damn it, dude sounds like he got some serious problems. Everyone who hates the world should listen to this one.
Lightning rushing through
I can’t control myself
A thousand eyes staring
But I can’t run away
I can’t hide, I can’t run away
Making my way through a world that’s not for me
The sun rises in the east! Grim but hard-hitting hardcore from Poland that should get attention from everyone into darker side of core. This is actually not bad and I am definitely looking forward to checking out that 5 track CD due out on Mark My Words Records.
Blind to injustice, dumb and weak
Wandering through life, toofuckin’ fast,
To forget who I am, who I was and who I wanted to be
I am all into ‘Another day…’, I respect ‘One Life, One Sentence’, but this new album doesn’t move me like the old ones. Not to say this is total shit, but there are many elements that just don't cut it for me. The moments when things are just like they should be, like Bombardier or Skull & Bones, are alright but many tracks suffer from way too many moments that are just not grippin. Tracks like Stabbing Bastard or Broken Promises bring great deal of wackness and in case of the latter the chorus is simply embarrassment.
What I fucking hate is that modern metal vibe with no depth and overly polished sound. I can’t give you any references cause I don’t fuck with modern metal but I imagine it sounds like this. It definitely doesn’t sound like early Biohazard stuff.
As far as the lyrics go, the subject matters are very personal but after a while blend into mix of self pity and worry. How hard life Netherlands can be? Don't want to sound too harsh, at the end of the day, my life is filled with fair share of stress and backstabbing and I like to listen about this stuff as the next man.
On the positive side, there are songs that sound right. Apart from previously mentioned, I dig the last track, Crushing Innocence. It’s a slow burner that goes for over 4 minutes and obviously i wouldn’t mind cutting it in half, but it’s still dope track.
All in all, the music on XVI is nothing above average and the vocals are not as hard as they think they are, but there are still some solid headnodders. I have all their previous shit and I would still cop that album if I had any spare cash to spend, but besides being broke I got more pressing addictions to support.
The track features Jeremy from Lifeless and his lines are the highlight here. If you're on this site you know Lifeless is one of the realest bands right now as far as hardcore music and attitude go. I don't know much about Cast In Blood except they're from Connecticut and this is their newest shit after demo from earlier this year.
Odessa hardcore in full effect! This demo is a raw, bitter, and loveless hardcore soaked in 90' metalcore nostalgia. Fat riffing upon menacing, heavy vibe with insane vocals on top of it all. One of the hardest shit I've heard recently.