December marks the thirtieth anniversary of the first show by Minor Threat, one of the best American punk bands that formed on these angsty shores. To commemorate the occasion, we've come up with a list of the top five current straight-edge hardcore bands that are keeping that spirit alive.
You won't find any heavy-metal mutations on this list, either; musically, these acts stay close to the classic sound of the '80s. And, yes, most of them are based out east: the number of universities and the close proximity of cities helps keep this scene of American punk bands churning out records.
5. Coke Bust If you like your hardcore with a heavy layer of thrash smothering the riffs and shouted vocals, this is your style. This D.C. straight-edge band has risen to prominence in the past few years, touring the states and, most recently, Europe. 4. No Tolerance With prolific musician DFJ on vocals, this straight-edge hardcore band is anything but accepting. Angry and raw, the group's music clears a huge hole in the middle of any room it plays. 3. Vaccine On a list of angry bands, western Massachusetts's Vaccine may win the title as the angriest. After releasing a demo, the band has put out a ten-song EP, Human Hatred, and the first track, "Your Life's a Joke," gives you notice right away that the forthcoming songs are going to be hate-filled punk rock. Vaccine blasts through those ten songs in a little more than four minutes. We're going to avoid the "ex-members" notes here, because in hardcore, everyone is an ex-member of some other band. But it should be noted that Joe Shumsky of Think I Care is on drums with Vaccine, a clear indication of the latter's pedigree in rage. 2. Nazi Dust The current star on the Youth Attack roster, Tampa, Florida-based Nazi Dust released an incredible self-titled EP in 2009, which received a lot of jaw-moving hype among zine writers and bloggers. Listen to "Bad Blood," the best song on that EP, below: 1. Waste Management The fact that this band hails from the Boston area should make you think of SSD, especially the vocals, although on their newer cassette, there's a slight Japanese hardcore influence, probably due to the members' affinity for the style.
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Honorable mentions: Boston Strangler, Sick Fix, Poison Planet, Urban Blight, Black SS, Mindset, Down to Nothing.