No matter how you personally define its musical parameters, 2022 was a superb year for hardcore.
I expect this year to follow suite, and with that in mind, here's my pick for 12 Newer Hardcore Bands to Check Out in 2023.
"We’re fast straight edge hardcore punk in the vein of early Lockin Out Records discography," answered drummer Nick Birtles when I asked him about Anklebiter last summer. Based out of the Northeastern side of America, the band had just released their debut demo at the time and word spread quickly about them across our community.
Anklebiter has kept up a steady show schedule since then, sharing the stage with both veterans of the core (Kill Your Idols) and fellow upstarts (Scowl) along the way. Don't sleep on these folks.
AWOL combines the talents of musicians from the Australian and American hardcore scenes, including bands like Broken, Ecostrike, and Bind. Calling homebase Melbourne, the group keep things classic-sounding, and their self-titled EP wouldn't have been out of place on Roadrunner Records, circa Set It Off.
Tom from Last Ride Records tipped me that he'll have a new AWOL release this year. They will also be embarking on an Aussie tour with No Pressure and Regulate later this month, so that's also a great sign that they aren't afraid to put in the road work.
Fingers crossed they can make it to the States sometime in the near future.
Conservative Military Image
A few weeks ago, No Echo contributing writer Ryan O'Connor spoke with Adam, the guitarist and founder of Conservative Military Image. This next quote from that conversation crystallized the Chicago band's sound well:
“The way Warzone bridged the hardcore and the skinhead scene was fucking awesome, that was huge for me when I was growing up."
Storming through their first year together with a pair of EPs and three singles, Conservative Military Image's infectious fighting music went over big at their recent Los Angeles debut at For the Children. If the band stays prolific in 2023, combat boots sales will surely rise accordingly.
Dead at Birth
"We hope to bring Finnish hardcore out to the world as much as we can since there’s a lot of bands out here that don’t really get the recognition they deserve." A great pull quote from my recent profile on Dead at Birth
For fans of Bulldoze, Merauder, and Obituary riffs, Dead at Birth's demo will appeal to both listeners of hardcore and death metal. Nothing complicated here, just tasty mosh to dig into.
Feels Like Heaven
Speedway, Blood Sermon, and Settlement members get their melodic hardcore on in Feels Like Heaven. The music found on their Extended Play EP is "bursting with both joy and melancholia" I wrote in my interview with the band, and that captures what they're doing nicely, if I do say so myself.
"An LP is definitely coming, hopefully sooner than later," promised Feels Like Heaven guitarist Jens Karlsson in that same feature. He better come through!
Straight out of Charm City, Jivebomb specialize in a stomping hardcore punk style that still finds a way to deliver hooks. Recorded with producer Matt Redenbo, their Primitive Desires EP saw the band signing on with Flatspot Records, joining a roster that includes such heavy-hitters as Scowl, Law of Power, and Speed.
Starting 2023 off on the road with B.R.A.T. and Fraud, Jivebomb undoubtedly have a big year ahead of them.
The pride of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, MSPAINT is the most removed from traditional hardcore band on this list. Synths, over-distorted bass, and shouted vocals converge in their bizarro racket.
Turnstile's massive success has helped proved that legions of hardcore fans are looking for left-of-center approaches to the style, and MSPAINT scratch that itch.
Convulse Records (Raw Breed, Candy Apple) drops MSPAINT's 11-song album in March, and they sent me the streaming link right before the holidays. Co-produced by Ian Shelton (Militarie Gun, Regional Justice Center) & Taylor Young (God's Hate, Twitching Tongues), it's a fucking killer record.
Since arriving on the scene in early 2022 via their "Laceration Divine" single, No Cure have kept dropping jewels on us. The straight edge quintet's latest release came in the form of Cursed From Birth, a four-track EP that finds the Alabama outfit bringing forth nasty metallic hardcore with plenty of mosh-friendly parts throughout.
Featuring a faithful cover of Earth Crisis' "Firestorm," Cursed From Birth is a perfect introduction to No Cure's chugging terror.
Hardcore for hardcore. Ozone subscribe to that mindset. The Texas quintet love hardcore and keep things straightforward in what they're doing.
While they still inject the proceedings with doses of quirky melody, Ozone's recently released Hard Core From Fort Worth Texas compilation doesn't stray far from their classic influences. This kind of stuff is always welcomed in our corner of the music world, especially when it's done this well.
A vile-sounding maelstrom of metallic hardcore, black metal, and power violence, Rabbit isn't coming with sing-along material. The Brooklyn, New York-based group's Halo of Flies EP landed on my 12 Best Hardcore Records of 2022 list a few weeks back, so you should already know how I feel about them.
But if you haven't dipped in Rabbit's sewer water yet, you're in for a treat. Their 2022 demo is also a motherfucker, but Halo of Flies is where I truly went head-over-heels for these weirdos.
What if the guys in Swervedriver decided to start a side project in the vein of 4 Walls Falling and Verbal Assault? It's a question psychopaths like myself would ponder, but listening to Strange Joy's 5 Tracks debut EP last year, I might not have been that cuckoo.
"We’re not the heaviest band, but I think these songs encapsulate hardcore at its roots, but with tinges of the other stuff we love," vocalist Jonah Castillo told No Echo contributor Flint Beard in a feature on the site. Those "tinges" are certainly of the melodic variety, and that's the special sauce here.
World I Hate
Featuring ex-members of Judiciary and Low End, Milwaukee hardcore purveyors World I Hate have a fitting moniker. Those of you who are familiar with their Collapse EP from late 2020 know what I mean.
World I Hate write and perform brutal hardcore that has aptly compared to Mind Eraser and Think I Care. WAR Records (Strife, Bent Blue) will be releasing the group's debut album this year, and that reminds me that I need to bug Andrew for an advance copy pronto.
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