There’s always that one destination festival people call home. For metal heads it’s Wacken Open Air in Germany. For cruise enthusiasts it’s 70,000 Tons Of Metal. For hardcore it’s This Is Hardcore. Many people I’ve talked to love this festival and call it like a place they can get together with friends and see bands they love.
This is my third year going and Joe “Joe Hardcore” McKay and his staff did not disappoint once on this lineup. I feel there is a lot of bands that I was happy to see, but at the same time there were bands I need to see again.
Thursday at Union Transfer, it was jam-packed and sold out. We had bands who have not played the fest in a while or ever on that first day. The first key one that drew my attention was Free from Boston Massachusetts. Free is 4/5 members of Have Heart and has that awesome youth crew vibe to them. They are definitely going to be playing a lot of awesome shows in the future honestly. Others that drew me into them was Down To Nothing. I found out about them years ago from a Bane cd and their songs are spot on awesome. But seeing them was icing to the cake. New York had some classic bands that I love. Two of them my first time seeing. Maximum Penalty has always been that band that I can say “this is why I love NYHC” the band has always had riffs that make me think how did they come up with this? Plus Jimmy’s vocals are very melodic and they are definitely a good band to mosh to. Burn was a co headliner that night. I’ve wanted to see them forever but I can say seeing them this time and seeing the show they perform I was just amazed and kind of kicking myself for not seeing them before this, but no need for that now. And then Youth of Today took the stage to close the night and what a set. Every song you liked that Ray, Walter, John and Sammy wrote, they played. It was amazing to see. Youth Of Today, Agnostic Front Judge, & Gorilla Biscuits have been my monuments to hardcore for so long And the fact that Youth of Today and GB played it was a dream come true.
Friday was most definitely the heavy night at the Electric Factory. When Nails dropped they definitely found some heavy hitters to replace them. There are some bands that I suggest most definitely to listen to. Baltimore, Maryland’s Iron Price is my first suggestion. They just put a split out with Dissent on Fast Break Records and when I heard it I felt I was thrown across the room. They are definitely one of those bands that bring out the heaviness in hardcore. I also suggest Year Of The Knife from Delaware. Their album just came out on Harvcore and they are aggressive adolescents who know how to play hardcore. Also what I loved about This Is Hardcore on Friday was I got to see two of my all time favorite bands. Pittsburgh’s Eternal Sleep put out one of the best albums in hardcore this summer. And they deliver every time I’ve seen them play. They are one of those bands worth going hard for in the pit. If you like aggressive hardcore that has a little metallic energy to it, give The Emptiness Of a listen. My other favorite band that killed Friday was Iron Regan. The best crossover/thrash band to put killer music in people.’a stereo. Tony Forresta at one point screamed “Circle Pit For Harambe”!!! And yes a massive circle pit rose. If you like D.R.I. And grew up with Municipal Waste this is your band. But then the night got aggressive. Really aggressive. All Out War took the stage. They have always been that band who mixes metal and hardcore well. Me and a couple of my friends call them “Slayer core” because they have killer riffs that are slayer-esque. Mike Score definitely is a killer frontman in hardcore too. The night would end with two dark, Cleveland hardcore bands. The first being Ringworm. If you haven’t seen Ringworm you are messing up they are that band you have to/need to see. They put an album out on Relapse and I thought nothing could top Hammer Of The Witch , Snake Church (Relapse) is supreme from start to finish. Human Furnace has always made me wonder how he hits those notes. But damn they’re good. Then we had the mighty Integrity finish the day. I saw so many fans just watching the banger of that set. Dwid has always been that guy in hardcore who is a wild man. His stage presence and his vocals alone are what I felt were inspiring to so many new bands.
WORDS BY MATT “O’TONIC” MCGROARTY
PHOTOS BY ANNA SPINNA PHOTOGRAPHY