Compete, compete, do it for the boys
Empty barrels make the most noise
You’re always on the move
You’ve always got something to prove
– Minor Threat, ‘Small man, big mouth’
I’ve written a bit about music on my blog this far, mainly discussing metal and a bit of hiphop. For years my thing was hardcore though, and its a genre I love profoundly. I’m particularly into the old stuff, from the early days and the nineties, which was laden with ideas, philosophies and views. It’s all about making a difference.
I loved that stuff, because it opened my mind to so many other ways to live life. I think it sparked my interest in buddhism, my love for a healthy life and I even dabbled witht he straight edge idea. What I also loved, and you need to read books about this to find it out, is that hardcore has always been about opening doors, not closing them. Equality, freedom of opinions, anti-discrimination etc. Later this scene became a bit more stale and hermetic, but I guess that might get reinvigorated at some point.
What I’ve noticed over the last years is a change though, to the meaning of the word hardcore. For me it contains the PMA (positive mental attitude), respect and a certain decorum which you take through life. Don’t be that which is wrong in the world already, don’t be a racist, women degrading asshole. Show respect to others. That’s what I’ve tried to take from it. Now, I was never deep in the scene, just at the edges and taking my individual lessons from it. I got disillusioned by bands like Deez Nuts, Your Demise and the likes of Asking Alexandria. This was all pertaining to be hardcore, I don’t know if they were doing that themselves or the media. I liked Deez Nuts at first, they sounded crude and confronting, but seeing them live it also felt so hollow, so empty and devoid of meaning. Sure, Deez Nuts are staying true, but true to what? It seems to just be the music.
Don’t get it twisted its still fuckin hardcore,
stage dives, high 5s that’s what I’m in this for.
I ain’t in this for money or fame
but if I stack a little change fuck it I won’t complain.
– Deez Nuts, ‘Stay True’
I’m not trying to put these band in a bad light though. There’s always been room for bands that created the image for the scene and being a bit about the posturing and being tough guys. Tough guy hardcore was definitely a thing. What these bands seem to have opened the door for is a subgenre, which is just as much about the outside, the looks and the posing. That’s where the beef starts.
I tried some of the Deathcore bands as well, but found the same void there. It’s all about looks and not about the message. T-shirts got to shocking instead of inspirational and empowering, but have reached a point where it actually has nothing to do with the movement it claims to be part of. So do the lyrics and the off stage presentation fo certain bandmembers. Apart from the switch from meaning and teaching the crowd to posure and gangster attitudes, some bands have taken a dive deeper into giving hardcore a bad name….
For girls, hardcore and metal is still a rather new place. Back in the late nineties, when I guess I started listening to music, it was still rare to find female musicians. I was well impressed with Brody Halle from The Distillers or Angela Gossow from Arch Enemy, but theyw ere still rarities. In hardcore even more so, maybe that’s why I always felt sympathy for bands that did have female vocalists. Not necessarily because they were good, but because they were necessary. Their acceptance would create more equality for guys and gals alike and you will get good girl fronted bands. At some point, it wont matter what gender the person fronting it has. Then we got to deathcore and bands like Emmure, Attila and I Declare War take a whole leap backwards with their offensive as hell t-shirts.
This has nothing to do with hardcore anymore, this is everything the scene riled against from its inception. You have to imagine, what it does to the listeners of this music now. All the good vibes you may have gotten from hardcore, when you were that age, they just get this stuff. Gangster posing, calling girls bitches and being as rude as possible. Sure, that sounds old and boring, but ittouches upon that very thing that gives this music meaning.
Let me get to a close on my rant on this topic. I was not there, when hardcore was a thing. I only know the music and I’ve seen the bands. Let me mention an H2O, that band gave me more stuff to work with than all the deathcore crap combined. I’ve seen entire festival line-ups, with less heart than Terror, Boysetsfire, Madball or Ignite. This is what it ment, this is why its worth protecting. This is why these guys are douche bags and have no place in hardcore.