Believe it or not, there was a time when hardcore was considered a fad. It was angry, unfocused, violent, testosterone-driven and a bunch of other adjectives that nobody wanted to be saddled with. Rock critics and commercial radio stations wanted no parts of it. Hardcore bands in the early ’80s were a tough bunch. They had to be. And as history has showed us, hardcore was an ethos. You either got it or you didn’t. Our rundown of 10 bands that influenced hardcore shows how the genre evolved on all playing fields.

This APTV video runs down some of the hardcore bands that left their mark not only on the scene, but music history. They did it the same way “normal” musicians get their props. They wrote killer songs that resonated across generations. Some of them became established virtuosos in order to get the mania out of their heads and into sympathetic ears. When they came to your town fueled on Mountain Dew and eating avocados with spoons, they brought all the power and not a lot of glory.

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Fortunately, hardcore bands had bigger goals than merely playing faster than a severed hand stuck in a blender. A few of these bands had loftier goals, from political stances to fomenting entire movements. Others embraced the influx of other genres, thereby insuring that the community and its attendant values stayed in motion. The sonic and social constructs around the genre were far too strident to disappear entirely.

And those sounds and ethics have most certainly flourished. We now roll our eyes at those industry professionals who tried to suppress it, as well as the dullards who were never going to get it.  Back in the ’80s, it seemed that hardcore bands weren’t meant to last. They were the rock equivalent of mayflies, those weird insects that are alive for 24 hours just to be annoying before they die. And from the ironic vantage point of 2020, we can easily say this. We simply cannot imagine a world without hardcore.