all things old school: ULTIMATE GUIDE To Old School Hardcore (From 1980s to 2010s)

Monday, May 22, 2023

ULTIMATE GUIDE To Old School Hardcore (From 1980s to 2010s)

've said over the years "this bands sounds like (insert old school band name)" a thousand times, but what the heck IS the old school hardcore sound? The fast and angrier cousin of punk rock. I'm gonna leave this article for future generations as a statement of some of the realest groups that ever played this sub-genre in this very tiny corner of the internet, dedicated to the old school.

For the 13th and final anniversary of ALL THINGS OLD SCHOOL I came up with the Ultimate Guide To Old School Hardcore (or Old School HC for dummies) picking up my favorite 13 songs (+2 bonus) by decade, naming the best and second best from each. First of all, I know the correct measure of a decade is year 1 to 10 (i.e. 1981-1990) but I'll be using the "usual" wrong measure (1980-1989) because it made things easier for me to make decisions. Secondly, I kept the metal influence to a bare minimum (especially the Crossover Thrash thing) on my selections. Also, in my view, lots of bands dubbed as hardcore are actually early Cali-punk rock (i.e. Black Flag, Circle Jerks and TSOL). Hardcore IS punk but not the other way around. 

With that clear I also used the system of match-ups between bands to make my critical decisions, as the slots were quite limited, based on my personal tastes and the general impact on the sub-genre at the time of release. Enough with the bs, let's check the damn list:

1980's (1st - BAD BRAINS / 2nd - Straight Ahead)

The blueprint of hardcore for me is called Black Dots (aka The Zientara Sessions) whose material was written by BAD BRAINS between 1978-1979. This selection could as well end here, the rest are just following along. But.. that wouldn't be much fun, would be? For second I picked the almighty STRAIGHT AHEAD with members having passed in some of the main names of NYHC including Youth Of Today that would be my third option.

The match-ups I had to do for the 80's were insane, like Patrick Dubar's bands Uniform Choice vs UNITY (win), I can't have both on the list. But the one I will get burned the most is probably leaving off Minor Threat out of the selection, not to mention Cro-Mags which lost to Leeway (win). The fact is that I was never a Ian Mackaye (teenie weenie beanie) type of guy and JJ blew it during the pandemic, I'm team Flanagan... whatever that means.

Also props to DK and Misfits for picking up, at the time, the new hardcore trend and releasing one HC album each and with that they blew the competition away (i.e. S.O.A. and Void) in my humble opinion.

1 - LEEWAY - Rise & Fall (1988)
2 - BAD BRAINS - The Regulator (1982)
3 - NEGATIVE APPROACH - Ready To Fight (1982)
4 - AGNOSTIC FRONT - Last Warning (1983)
5 - THE MISFITS - Wolfsblood (1983)
6 - DEAD KENNEDYS - Moral Majority (1981)
7 - SIDE BY SIDE - Side By Side (1988)
8 - KILLING TIME - Wall Of Hate (1989)
9 - STRAIGHT AHEAD - My Problem (1986)
10 - OUTBURST - No Choice (1989)
11 - BROTHERHOOD - The Deal (1989)
12 - YOUTH OF TODAY - Slow Down (1988)
13 - UNITY - PMA (1989)
(Bonus #1) AGRESSION - Intense Energy (1983)
(Bonus #2) SIEGE - Conform (1984)

1990's (1st - FLOORPUNCH / 2nd - Proclamation)

What's to say here? Even crust punks like Floorpunch, the kings of revival old school of the 90's, speaking of it, here we can notice a huge gap between the beginning and end of the decade as the old school production fade out, so all the props to bands like Redemption 87 and Better Than A Thousand for giving it a push.

Also worth mentioning is the addition of Warzone here in not before (in the 80s), the re-recorded version of Lower East Side always blew my mind but then again, the so-called experts that say hardcore died in '84 and the best Warzone album is the demo without Raybeez, not here!

1 - PROCLAMATION - What Is True (1999)
2 - CHAIN OF STRENGTH - Too Deep Until Now (1990)
3 - INSIDE OUT - Burning Fight (1990)
4 - BATTERY - I Won't Fall (1993)
5 - SHELTER - Enough (1990)
6 - CONFRONT - Wrong Choice (1994)
7 - FLOORPUNCH - Not For Me (1998)
8 - COMMITTED - Arbitration (1999)
9 - MAINSTRIKE - Hopefull Days (1999)
10 - TIME FLIES - Ultra! (1999)
11 - SICK OF IT ALL - What's Going On (1991)
12 - WARZONE - Will You Ever Come Back (1996)
13 - REDEMPTION 87 - About Face (1996)
(Bonus #1) BETTER THAN A THOUSAND - Self Worth (1998)
(Bonus #2) NO REDEEMING SOCIAL VALUE - No Regrets (1994)

2000's (1st - BONES BRIGADE / 2nd - Carry On)

Bones Brigade has always been the perfect hardcore band for me, great lyrics, great attitude and shit. I used to visit the drummer's (Mullet) website a lot in the late 90's and early 00's where I got to know lots of cool stuff, including Carry On.

1 - WHAT HAPPEN NEXT? - Those Who Own The Streets (2000)
2 - A.N.S. - Down The Habbit Hole (2009)
3 - SHARK ATTACK - Enough Of You (2001)
4 - DESPERATE MEASURES - Never Enough Time (2004)
5 - LIGHTS OUT - Get a Life (2005)
6 - BONES BRIGADE - Each Waking Hour (2003)
7 - VICTIM - Revenge (2006)
8 - INTERNAL AFFAIRS - No Good Game in HC (2007)
9 - IRON BOOTS - Who Laughs Last (2004)
10 - RAMPAGE - Physical Therapy (2007)
11 - RESTLESS YOUTH - Make It Burn (2005) 
12 - TRUE COLORS - Focus On The Light (2007)
13 - CARRY ON - Set The Pace (2000)
(Bonus #1) NO JUSTICE - Political Scheme (2000)
(Bonus #2) SSS - Warhose (2006)

2010's (1st - THE RIVAL MOB / 2nd - Wardogs)

That's where it all began for this blog, exactly in 2010, without doubt it was a lot of fun to be a part of. I started doing this so I could offer my spare merch and records that I bough in doubles to save on shipping and stuff like that, 13 years has passed and here we are, it's time to leave for the next generation to pick it up and keep it alive... on instagram or whatever mind buggin social media they will come up with next.

1 - DEAL WITH IT - Eyjafjallajokull I... Dark Skies (2010)
2 - TRUE VISION - Morality (2016)
3 - THE RIVAL MOB - Fake Big (2013)
4 - FREEDOM - Cut You Down (2014)
5 - THE FLEX - Bad Faith (2014)
6 - FIREWALKER - Barking Up The Wrong Tree (2017)
7 - WILD SIDE - Then & Now (2019)
8 - VIOLENT REACTION - Disorder (2015)
9 - UNIFIED RIGHT - When Will You Learn (2015)
10 - BIG TAKEOVER - Selfish (2016)
11 - CONTROLLED - Afraid To Change (2014)
12 - MINORITY UNIT - Unsure (2011)
13 - WARDOGS - The Wrong Way (2011)
(Bonus #1) SELECTIVE AGRESSION - Uniform Thought (2017)
(Bonus #2) CORLD WORLD - Cracks Of Hate (2014)

DOWNLOAD [all decades]  - NEW LINK!!

I had a lot more stored to post before I called it a day but that's how it goes, I'm moving to Dublin and if you're in the area give a shout in the FB page, I will leave it active for a while. THANK YOU FOR READING/SHARING stay true to yourself!

I will miss you until my last breath
March.1949 ~ April.2023


  1. Getting an error from mediafire. Couldn't see anything obviously wrong with the URL but just a heads-up. Good luck with the move.....

    1. Damn, I guess there's a buch of copyright songs on it, I will review it and upload somewhere else eventually

  2. New link seems fine, thanks. Was looking forward to this.

  3. Sorry for your loss, keep the faith. About the songs, one of the best picks I've heard so far, thank you.

  4. Loved your post! Your writing is both informative and captivating. Keep it up and write more!

  5. Thanks for being a beacon of wisdom and knowledge in your niche.