Step 2 Rhythm-September 2022

Posted: by The Editor

Hardcore is thriving, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. As a way to document this current moment, we present Step 2 Rhythm, a monthly column rounding up the best in hardcore coming out right now.

Be All End All-Flexi

Be All End All has a formula and has stuck to it since their 2018 demo: keep things as short as possible. But despite how fast Be All End All is, they never veer into the territory of powerviolence. It’s strictly fast hardcore with a bit of metallic hardcore thrown in there. Occasionally a two-step part will show itself, so people have something to dance to. This new flexi is a bit different while keeping to the band’s original conceit. While it’s still as fast as can be, the song lengths are stretched out a bit, with one song almost reaching three minutes.

Candy Apple-World For Sale

At first look, Candy Apple is another band that is a throwback to 80s hardcore. Their debut record, Sweet Dreams of Violence, had a lo-fi sheen that makes this connection easy to make. The vocals felt like they were drenched in a layer of muck that you had to wade through in a good way. But upon closer listening, Candy Apple doesn’t feel tethered to any particular sound or scene but themselves. This distinctness comes across best on World For Sale, the newest release for the band. The production is a bit brighter, helping to highlight what makes Candy Apple so appealing in the first place.


Calling Churchgoers fast hardcore may be underselling it a bit. On their demo, Churchgoers seem to be testing just how fast you can be while still adhering to the tradition of 80s hardcore. There aren’t any blast beats or other tricks to pick up the tempo. It mostly sticks to this frenetic pace, with only one song (Hillsy’s) going over the one-minute mark. At times the vocalist is almost struggling to keep up as if he’s unsure where to put his lyrics. It creates an interesting juxtaposition, making it one of the more compelling debuts of this past month.

Excide-Deliberate Revolver

Excide takes the sound of 90s post-hardcore and reinterprets it for a modern audience. It reminds me of the best parts of Quicksand, Orange 9mm, and Snapcase. Over the last couple of years, Excide has been slowly teasing out its blend of post-hardcore through several small releases. I covered a two-song promo of theirs in this very column in February. A song like “Uncoil” sounded gigantic and would have sat right alongside its influences on MTV in the 90s. We now have Excide’s debut in Deliberate Revolver, which delivers on the promise that was there for the band from the start.


For years Regulate has been a mainstay for hardcore, helping to carry forward the storied history of New York hardcore. But on their self-titled record, you can see Regulate begin to stretch out their limits. Vocalist Sebastian Paba doesn’t just sit in a full-throated scream for the entirety of the album. Instead, you can see him singing across several songs, adding another layer to an already compelling band. This change is apparent in “Hair,” which is not a hardcore song. But the song is so undeniably catchy that it works in the context of the record. These slight changes to the framework of Regulate help them pull off a second full-length, which is more than you can say for most hardcore bands.

Mindforce-New Lords

By now, Mindforce is a household name for those in hardcore. Their debut Excalibur in 2018 was a showcase in crossover, matching Metallica riffs with the breakdowns of New York hardcore. Now four years later, we have the follow-up in New Lords. It may lean even harder into crossover than previous material. “Street Slayer” is a showcase of guitar playing virtuosity, packing plenty of ideas into 42 seconds. “Words Fail” already feels like a set staple. “When Instant Karma Fails” has my favorite breakdown Mindforce has ever written. Everything is just a bit tighter and more concise, making sure not to waste any space with unneeded parts. Mindforce makes the case that they still have plenty left to say as a hardcore band, making me excited for what a potential third record could bring.

Point of Contact-Vengeance

Point of Contact is firstly a straight-edge band, grabbing from the metallic end of hardcore as their weapon of choice.  Their demo, Undefeated, was adorned with three Xs on its artwork. The following EP would also feature similar iconography, even titling the release as Commitment. The song “Rise” makes the band’s point of view pretty clear, asking, “I can’t be alone in this commitment made for life.” But the newest material that makes up Vengeance is not about straight-edge at all. Instead, they deal with heartbreak and being unheard. It serves as a compelling counterpoint against the music, which you can easily envision people moshing to indiscriminately.

Slug-Continuing Growth

Slug is one of many bands that formed during the pandemic, dropping their demo in early 2021. It started simply because the members had some downtime and were missing shows. What was created was something that fits within the lineage of Ohio hardcore. You can also pick up a healthy amount of Boston in their sound, even featuring a Righteous Jams cover on their 2021 Promo. The songs that made their debut were a guttural fury of hardcore punk and were to the point, with each track sticking to the brief one-minute runtime. Continuing Growth is the latest release for Slug and maybe their most realized one lyrically, focusing on how we can still grow despite everything that has happened in our past.

Suntouch House-Demonstration

Suntouch House feels like an oddity in the DAZE catalog. It’s not nearly as bruising and full of metallic hardcore fury. You can’t crowd kill to this music. But it’s a throwback in a different way, still reaching for the sound of 90s hardcore. Demonstration is reminiscent of a time when hardcore and noise rock intermingled in a big way, helping to create a subsect of hardcore. You heard this style best with bands like Deadguy and Rorschach. But Suntouch House still manages to remain distinct, adding a modern touch to a sound that’s decades old.

 Savageheads-Service To Your Country

Since forming in 2013, Savageheads have kept true to the hardcore punk spirit. Their songs are simple, choosing not to be overly fussy. But even if they move at accelerated rhythm, there’s still a sense of tunefulness, creating hooks by accident. It all seems to evoke a time in punk’s long past and is constantly compared to UK82, which is shorthand for the second wave of English punk. The lyrics of The Savageheads even seem to be aware of this comparison, taking a political bent that falls in line with the anti-Thatcher and anti-Regan sentiments of the time. On Savageheads’ debut record, Service To Your Country, they only lean more into the themes explored in earlier releases, such as government intervention and military service. The songwriting is also just as compact as it was on their EPS, packing plenty into a 22-minute runtime.

Reissue/New To Me Corner

Altercation-1987 Demo

Altercation is a story of what could have been. Just as Breakdown released the famous 1987 demo, another band was traversing similar ground for new york hardcore. In many ways, it felt like where Agnostic Front left off a couple of years ago, combining metal and hardcore into something different. We were still far away from the sound of metallic hardcore, but you could still hear inklings of it on the lone release from Altercation. They were teenagers who didn’t know any better, coming from more of a skinhead background than the burgeoning youth crew. The lyrics were sophomoric, written by one of the member’s girlfriends at the time. But it did capture the energy of the time, bringing a little bit of the streets of Brooklyn into their songs. The Altercation story would end abruptly, only playing five shows and leaving a short discography. You can unintentionally hear the band’s influence in bands like Raw Breed, Burning Lord, and Combust today. If you want to read more about Altercation, this article is a good place to start.

Hugo Reyes  | @hvreyes5

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