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International Hardcore Bands You Need to Know About: Central

Photo: Jeanne Lova 

For many people who are involved in the world of hardcore, the word means a lot more to them than just the music. I mean that is probably why you are visiting this site in the first place. 

Hardcore has always been a place where people find kindred spirits and it really is capable of breaking down global barriers and gives people a peak into other countries and other scenes. 

The exciting thing about being a fan of this genre of music is when you discover bands from outside of the obvious demographics of the United States or the United Kingdom and areas of mainland Europe. 

So when this writer stumbled across a Youth Crew band from Vladimir, Russia it instantly piqued my interest. 

Central formed in 2016, but after a shift in member personal weren't active following their initial release until late 2017. With a new lineup and a more focused approach. The band released their self-titled EP in 2018 with the new look band, with the record addressing different social themes.

Fast-forward to 2021, and the band are back with a more introspective approach with the record Время—which roughly translates to "Time." 

Vocalist Alexander explains to No Echo: "In contrast to our previous release, which was about different social themes, songs from the new album based mostly on private experience, feelings of grief, loss, thoughts about your place in life and life in general. 

"I suppose that this is not such a common thing in hardcore, but it’s words and thoughts, that we want to share with people."

As well as taking a more personal approach to this record Alexander says that his surroundings in Russia also play a part in what he puts into his music, whether that be positively or negatively. 

He continues " [My] surroundings mean a lot, at least in lyric writing. Even if I write about personal things it [my surroundings] will always be in the background, mostly negative things which I can't get rid off and which have an influence on my mind."

Photo from Central's Bandcamp page

Guitarist and founding member of Central, Denis, added: "If we are talking about people with whom we are rehearsing with and with whom we are on the same wavelength or cross paths at concerts, then yes [these surroundings] influence the writing of music and inspires us to move beyond our potential opportunity."

And it is more than just the surface level of their home country which has seeped into their music, as a band they have scene how the music scene as changed and evolved over more than a decade of being part of the hardcore community. 

Whereas people who live in thriving scenes have a very privileged experience of going to Hardcore shows, and maybe getting the change to see "bigger bands" hitting their town. For Central they have had to forge a more difficult path and see the ebbs and flows of the genre in their country. 

"The first concert I attended was held at the rehearsal space in a very small hall that barely held 20-30 people," Denis explains. "At that time, I was interested in everything related to the influence of hardcore / punk. 

"Over the past 10 years, the scene has really changed a lot in a positive way, there are a lot of cool bands and new people, as well as quite a lot of old people who left for a number of reasons. It's hard to say that it's thriving hardcore in Russia, but yes, there are many positives currently."

Alexander added: " The first hardcore, not just heavy music show which I visited was in 2008 - there were a lot of a political and social messages, DIY management and fights with neo-Nazis, it was display of heyday of Russian hardcore. I don't think that hardcore scene grow since then, just constantly change with her peaks and valleys."

This is something which Denis echo's, saying that some people only have a fleeting interest in the genre, and with the way the country is divided it can sometimes be hard to build a strong community. 

He adds: "It is multi-faceted and divided into small islands in different parts of the country. They were more united by political influence. Unfortunately, young people are currently very little interested in hardcore, or this is a temporary hobby. Everything changes very quickly in terms of music and messages." 

In Central's music there are clear nods to bands like Ten Yard Fight, In My Eyes, and Youth of Today, but as a collective they didn't want to just be a carbon copy of the bands which had an influence on them. 

Denis said: "  We think that hardcore / punk should be just that fast and minimal timing. In fact, there are a lot of bands, we always looked at classic bands like Ten Yard Fight, In My Eyes, Youth of Today, Gorilla Biscuits, Inside Out, SS Decontrol. 

"Such bands as Free, Mindset, Punch, The Rival Mob, Lion’s Law had a great influence on the sound. In the new album, we decided to bring something new, and not try to make another copied band. But with all this, we do not depart from the roots of the genre to the end."

And this is once again proof that hardcore is an international language, as even though Central sing in their native lounge, thanks to advances in the internet and platforms like Bandcamp they have been able to engage with audiences all across the globe.

But even though there is more accessibility to their music Alexander says it isn't something they have really focused on or felt first hand. 

He added: "I’m not quite sure that our music found response within foreign hardcore scene, but if there is just one single person on earth who is filled with our lyrics and music – then we do it all not for nothing."

When asked about them singing in Russian has opened them up to a wider audience or alienated them Denis responded: "I'm not sure. But we received some interesting responses from different parts of the world."

He continued: "Thanks to the Bandcamp, quite a few people outside of Russia have learned about us and who really liked what we do. I just want to say a huge thank you for your support."

As it stands the band are still unclear what the future holds in terms of getting out and playing shows, but they have been enjoying the response from their new record and hope to be hitting the road when they can.   

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Central on social media: Facebook | Instagram | Bandcamp

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Tagged: central, international hardcore bands

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