europe rising hardcore bands
[Photos by: Hawser/Bart Jansen, Employed To Serve/Spinefarm, Higher Power/Nat Wood, Brutus/Geert Braekers]

In 1998, Sweden’s Refused dropped their declarative LP, The Shape Of Punk To Come. That shape being, of course, post-hardcore. Europe’s original hardcore scene, however, existed long before that.

Today, it still stands strong with new acts fueling its current momentum. Which makes now the perfect time to turn up your speakers and check out these diverse rising bands representing the present of Europe’s hardcore scene as well as its shape to come.

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Employed To Serve

HQ: Woking, U.K.
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CHECK OUT: “Eternal Forward Motion,” “Force Fed, “I Spend My Days”

Teasing melodic elements just to violently smash them into breakdowns and chugging riffs, Employed To Serve are supplying brutal, technical, groovy and straightforward modern hardcore. Their latest full-length, 2019’s Eternal Forward Motion, displays a large leap forward in the band’s creative timeline. Justine Jones’ loud storytelling has evolved in terms of vocal versatility, whereas instrumentals are as polished, dynamic, expansive and epic as ever.

Lysistrata

HQ: Saintes, France
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CHECK OUT: “The Thread,” “Death By Embarrassment, “Asylum”

Lysistrata’s sound is a wild assertion of explosive energy of youth. Makers of emotional post-hardcore in the sense of Touché Amoré, La Dispute or Birds In Row, Lysistrata captivate with a combination of spoken and screamed lyrics, hectic drumming, mathy guitar transitions, as well as swift shifts between bright buildups and bursts of intensity.

Higher Power


HQ: Leeds, U.K.
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CHECK OUT: “Lost In Static,“Seamless,” “Rewire (101)” 

What makes Higher Power worthy of your best speakers is not only their seamless grungy blend of hardcore punk and alt-metal. It’s also fascinating how Jimmy “J-Town” Wizard’s vocals effortlessly transition from heartfelt shouting and screaming to emotional clean singing. Melodic yet hard-hitting, mathy yet catchy, Higher Power show how hardcore sounds in 2020. Oh, and while you’re spinning their sophomore LP, 27 Miles Underwater, check out this cool retro game they have on their website.

STAKE

HQ: Wevelgem, Belgium
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CHECK OUT: “Critical Method,” “Catatonic Dreams, “Doped Up Salvations” 

STAKE, a new incarnation of atmospheric sludge act Steak Number Eight, are now crafting what they call atmospheric grungecore. With shedding some words from the band’s name came a new sonic direction, which has more rage, drive and fancy riffs yet retains the anthemic, soulful vibes of their previous work.

Brutus

HQ: Leuven, Belgium
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CHECK OUT: “Sand,” “All Along, “Drive” 

Brutus deliver hardcore’s give-it-all attitude combined with melodic and atmospheric post-metal-esque passages. Throaty singing by Stefanie Mannaerts, who’s also the band’s driving force behind the drums, takes center stage in creating an energetic, dynamic and emotional post-hardcore experience. No wonder Brutus so rapidly became one of the most sought-after acts in the European scene.

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Hawser

HQ: Rotterdam, Netherlands
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CHECK OUT: “Under Your Spell,” “In Harmony, “Tough Love”

This is metallic hardcore that feels both old school and fresh. Dabbling in both punk and metal realms, five-piece Hawser create modern-day hardcore that’s fast, loud and beautifully produced. Hawser’s alarming shoutalongs, tight drums and ultraviolent guitars will teleport you right into the epicenter of the wildest of mosh pits.

Erdve

HQ: Vilnius, Lithuania
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CHECK OUT: “Atraja,” “Prievarta, “Vaitojimas” 

Blackened hardcore, post-hardcore, sludge metal… Genre names won’t be too helpful with this one. Erdve, which means “space” in Lithuanian, make music for immersion. Having filled such contrasting spaces as music festivals, gritty DIY spots and a gothic church, this four-piece construct brutal, dark and distorted sonic landscapes that feel cold and rough yet powerful and cathartic.

Cocaine Piss

HQ: Liège, Belgium
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CHECK OUT: “Eat The Rich,” “Ugly Face On, “Pretty Pissed” 

In 1980, San Francisco’s hardcore revolutionaries Dead Kennedys dropped their sarcastic punk anthem “Kill The Poor.” In 2019, Belgium’s queercore noisemakers Cocaine Piss exclaimed,Eat The Rich.” Four decades in and over five thousand miles away, the foundational hardcore attitude is definitely still here. Groovy, fast, provocative and fierce, Cocaine Piss are a massive glitter bomb on The Establishment’s doorstep. 

The Hirsch Effekt

HQ: Hanover, Germany
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CHECK OUT: “NOJA,” “Agnosie, “Lifnej” 

Growling, screaming, clean vocal harmonies, a rap feature, blast beats, progressive riffs, punchy groove, smooth, jazzy transitions… You can hear all of that in just over four minutes of the Hirsch Effekt’s singleNOJA” from their latest LP, Kollaps. In spite of uneven time signatures and elements from all over the place, their special brand of artcore has an undeniable pop appeal that leaves you wanting more.

Ithaca

HQ: London, U.K.
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CHECK OUT: “Impulse Crush,“The Language Of Injury,” “Clsr.” 

If you’re someone who’s into the metallic side of hardcore, Ithaca’s high-powered, chaotic style will be right up your alley. Their latest release, the single “Clsr.,” follows up the band’s full-length debut, 2019’s The Language Of Injury. Their sound is technical, suspenseful and dissonant, yet there are plenty of melodic segments that allow you to catch a breath.

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Ondt Blod

HQ: Kirkenes, Norway
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CHECK OUT: “Finnmark,” “Svarte Daga, “Nye Lydspor” 

Hardcore was always about community. Ondt Blod sing in their native Sami language,  contributing to preserving the culture of their indigenous community. Inviting shoutalongs make the message of social inclusion loud and clear yet far from aggressive. It’s being carried with a polished blend of hardcore and pop punk. The hardcore edge is definitely here but is softened with memorable melodies, major-key chords and catchy choruses—a formula accessible enough to earn the young band TV spots and national award nominations.

Storm{O}

HQ: Feltre, Italy
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CHECK OUT: “Supernova,” “Ho Chi Minh, “D’istanti” 

Charged with noise and gentle dissonance, Storm{O}’s passionate, electrifying and spontaneous brand of hardcore makes them a standout act from Southern Europe’s scene. Disregard for conventional song structures and genres doesn’t overcomplicate the listening experience, though, thanks to gradually introduced melodies and Luca Rocco’s versatile vocals that come in screams, shouts and spoken-word outcries.

Kohti Tuhoa

HQ: Helsinki, Finland
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CHECK OUT: “Rajoitan Itseäni,” “Ihmisen Kasvot,” “Taas Sivussa

A rough translation of Kohti Tuhoa would be “toward destruction.” And that’s exactly how this four-piece’s production sounds like. It’s a raw and punishing combination of classical hardcore, punk and crust, packaged and delivered in violent bursts that rarely exceed two minutes. So sit back, relax and allow this brisk hurricane to completely mess up your mohawk.

Coilguns

HQ: Neuchâtel, Switzerland
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CHECK OUT: “Millennials,” “Manicheans, “Shortcuts” 

Coilguns have been around for a while, but it’s their LP Millennials that came out after a five-year hiatus in 2018, as well as their latest full-length, Watchwinders, that brought their name to the surface outside the local scene. Coming from the underground of one of the most prosperous economies in the world, Coilguns stick to hardcore’s innate DIY ethos in all aspects of their work, which is perfectly tailored for total crowd participation as they barely ever let go of tension in their fiery tracks.

Deszcz

HQ: Poznań, Poland
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CHECK OUT: “Standing Alone,” “Afterlife, “Fall” 

This three-piece from Poland devisee a genre-bending and mind-arresting fusion of hardcore punk, black metal and neocrust. Deszcz’s punchy, aggressive and grim hardcore is a powerful attack on all senses. Even more so after relatively peaceful melancholic passages clear out the clouds for yet another tumultuous storm.