As 2023 comes to an end I found too many legitimate good hardcore releases from this year to just fit in a top ten list. But who doesn't like to read top ten lists? My name is Cole Koopmans, I pack mail order and deal with customer service relations at RevHQ. I also play in the bands Major Pain and Firestarter from Southern California. Here is my top ten releases from 2023.
Big Laugh "Consume Me" (Revelation Records) From Milwaukee, Wisconsin Big Laugh released one of my favorite releases in 2020 "Manic Revision" On 11PM (Now reisued on Revelation Records this year) Big Laugh follows up in 2023 with a crushing LP on Revelation. "Consume Me" is fast, raw, punk influenced hardcore record with blast beats, catchy guitar hooks, crushing mosh parts,pissed off Vocals, and the same frantic tone of guitar feedback and urgency that made me love the first 7 inch. After doing multiple tours this year including support dates with Scowl on their resent US tour, this is a band that has not slowed down and I am unbelievably happy this record is on Rev.
Contempt "Demo" (Advanced Perspective) I am first starting with my favorite demo of the year. From Chicago, Illinois Contempt plays a style of raw fast Straight Edge hardcore that resembles No Tolerance, Step Forward, World War 4, and that Pain Killer records sound that I and so many people love. (Members of this band play in some other bands. Just to name one Absolute Truth who released a really good EP on War records also this year. Spin it!)
Diztort "Vengeance is Mine" (Advanced Perspective) Diztort from Los Angeles has been to this day since 2017 has been one of the pillars of Los Angeles Hardcore. This is the first full length of this bands existence and it absolutely did not let down any expectations.Having to follow up the amazing 2018 EP "Hell Is..." "Vengeance is Mine" is a unbelievably tastefully heavy LP that doesn't get old. This is a record that also kept me on my toes while I listened to it for the first time (my personal favorite song, "Soul Separation" throws in one of the most cool clean guitar breaks that I would have never expected in a Diztort song) It is a record that I think anyone can pick up and find something to love in. It is a relatively dark record with nothing but power.
Envison "The Gods That Built Tomorrow" (From Within Records) Since 2018 Envision from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania has been making some of the most well throughout and musically impressive contemporary hardcore. I first found out about this band by their appearance on the 2020 "One Scene Unity" Comp which has picked up where Triple B started with the America's Hardcore comp. As oversimplified as this may sound to some, this record something for anyone who likes any aggressive music. It has amazing sing along parts, total ass beater mosh parts, and some of the best guitar riffs and leads I have listened to in a record in resent years that is immersed in what the hardcore scene is in 2023. Also they are a Straight Edge band. So yeah this absolutely had to be in the top 5 of this list for me.
Fury "Vie" (Triple B Records) From Orange County, California is Fury. Since 2014 Fury has been one of the most beloved hardcore bands worldwide to date. While this band has progressed in many ways from 2016's "Paramount" to 2019's "Failed Entertainment", Fury has evolved while still being true to itself as a band. In 2020 this world tragically lost Power Trip front man, Riley Gale. While there is too much to be said about the heart break of that lost, we did get this unbelievable song from Fury this year in 2023. While it is not a full release it was too good for me not to include here. Knowing the context of this song and also the amazing guitar leads preformed by Power Trip drummer, Chris Ulsh. This song is an emotional, heartfelt, and is my favorite song from 2023. It is also a absolute ripper that is a total change of what Fury has played in the past while still making perfect since that this band produced this amazing song. It covers the feeling of loss in a way that hits home too any one who has lost someone they loved. I really hope for a Fury LP #3 in the next few years.
Grand Scheme "Numbers Game" (11PM) Like Connecticut, Washington D.C. has one of the most rich Punk/ Hardcore lineage of bands. There are honestly too many to mention but you get the point. Following a 2020 demo on Advanced Perspective, Grand Scheme from D.C. released a stomper called "Numbers Game". 7 songs in just about 9 minute tells you just about everything you need to know. Reminds me a lot of Protestor who also we're from DC. Hardcore with ethics, purpose, and urgency. I said this with Contempt but this would have been a PERFECT release on that Moshers Delight catalog. Spin it.
Instill "Reasons to Remember" (Extinction Burst) Also from Chicago is Instill. After releasing an unbelievable demo in 2021, Instill is back with a new EP on Extinction Burst. "Reasons to Believe" is a EP that is such a unbelievably solid expansion of that 2021 demo. Mixing the sound of that raw Youth Crew floor tom mosh beat to the ton of Later Turning Point and Insight. If you liked the Moshers Delight catalog this is something for you to listen to.
Mil-Spec "Marathon" (Lockin' Out Records) Ever since 2016 Toronto's Mil-Spec has been releasing some of the best hardcore that has been evolving and only getting better with time. "Marathon" is a record that came out late this year in early October but the moment I listened to it the first time it became my favorite record. It has that same thought out and attentive perspective that I have always loved them for from all their other releases. It has to me that D.C. "rose tint" (I guess that is the best way I can describe it.) It has an unbelievable amount of heart and a way of of being a long record that flies by unbelievably fast. It is a record that makes you think once observing lyrics and it is to me the most important thing a record can be, heartfelt.
Vantage Point "Against Myself" (Triple B Records) From Boston, Massachusetts is Vantage Point. This past summer I had the experience of going on a full U.S. Tour with the band I play guitar in, Firestarter. We played in Boston at the legendary Middle East and we played with two other bands, C4 and this band, Vantage Point. Ever since 2018 this band has been releasing consistently great straight edge hardcore with pain felt vocals and lyrics, melodic guitar parts, and some of my favorite bass tones. "Against Myself" was all that and more. It is a very self aware and honest record especially with what has come before it. Hardcore with a meaning and purpose that many can get behind. Hope to see these guys again soon.
Wreckage "Our Time" (Scheme Hardcore) Connecticut has in the very past years of hardcore up to this very day has produced some of the most legendary hardcore bands that cover from Wide Awake to Hatebreed to Anxious. In this new breed of CT Hardcore is a band called Wreckage. After two very different sounding demos in 2020 and 2021, Wreckage found a sound that is very reminiscent of late 80s/ Early 90s hardcore while being unmistakably grounded in the now. Galloping chord progressions, huge sounding guitar intros that remind me of Supertouch, and a unbelievably cool layer of optimism and positivity. As corny as that sounds I love records that give me more hope and perspective.