New York hardcore

"N.Y.H.C." redirects here. For the documentary about the scene, see N.Y.H.C. (film).

New York hardcore (NYHC) is hardcore punk and metalcore music created in New York City, and the subculture associated with that music. New York hardcore grew out of the hardcore scene established in Washington, D.C., by bands such as Bad Brains and Minor Threat. It was primarily a phenomenon of the 1980s and 1990s.


Agnostic Front playing in Rome in 2007

New York City had been, arguably, the birthplace of punk rock with the Ramones and the scene at CBGB in the late-1970s, but while the next generation of punks emerged in the hardcore scenes in places like Washington DC and Los Angeles in the early 80's, NYC was initially quiet. A few bands like The Undead, The Mad, and The Stimulators hinted at a new direction. The Stimulators featured Harley Flanagan on drums, and attracted some of what would become the NYHC scene to their shows. The Stimulators and the Mad also made friends with Washington, DC's Bad Brains, and gave the latter places to stay in town.[1]

New York City would come to play a central role in the development of hardcore. An important scene finally emerged in 1981 with the emigration of the Bad Brains.[2][3] Roger Miret of Agnostic Front asserts that "We started using the term 'hardcore' because we wanted to separate ourselves from the druggy or artsy punk scene that was happening in New York at the time ... We were rougher kids living in the streets. It had a rougher edge".[4] The early scene was documented on the 1982 New York Thrash compilation.

Sam McPheeters argues that

What early New York Hardcore bands lacked in distinctive output, however, they more than compensated for in sheer menace. As the scene coalesced in Reagan's first term, the New York Hardcore scene—known in the shorthand of graffiti and knuckle tattoos as NYHC—injected class into the subculture in a way that no other city could. It was a world marinating in poverty and violence.[5]

McPheeters argues that the scene was inspired and influenced by dystopian films such as Death Wish, Taxi Driver, The Warriors, and Escape From New York.[5] Many of the mid-1980s NYHC groups were aligned with right-wing ideology.[5] Beginning with Cro-Mags, some groups also followed the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.[5] More leftist groups associated with the scene include Born Against and Nausea.

The scene was focused around venues such as the famous CBGBs, ABC No Rio, A7 and Brooklyn's L'amour. The New York scene was home to most of the early influential bands, such as Agnostic Front, Beastie Boys, Cro-Mags, Heart Attack, Kraut, Adrenalin O.D., Killer Instinct which was the first NYHC band to include two female members, Kitty Hawke and Carolyn Lengel, Urban Waste, Sheer Terror, Murphy's Law, Reagan Youth, The Mob, Warzone. Later New York hardcore groups included Sick of It All, Breakdown, Subzero, Gorilla Biscuits, Token Entry, Judge, Fit of Anger, Bold, and Leeway.


1990s NYHC groups included Burn, Merauder, Awkward Thought, Side by Side, Crown of Thornz, Skarhead, Sworn Enemy, H2O, Madball, No Redeeming Social Value, BORN, Agnostic Front, All Out War, Full Blown Chaos and Vision of Disorder.


New York City hardcore bands to break out nationally since 2000 have mostly been from Long Island and include Backtrack, This Is Hell, Stray from the Path and Scourge.

See also


  1. Blush, Steven (October 19, 2010). American Hardcore: A Tribal History (Second Edition). Feral House. p. 193-194, 137, 140. ISBN 9780922915712. Retrieved 15 February 2016.
  2. Andersen, Mark and Jenkins, Mark (2001). Dance of Days: Two Decades of Punk in the Nation's Capital. (New York: Soft Skull Press). ISBN 1-887128-49-2.
  3. Blush, Steven (2001). American Hardcore: A Tribal History. (Los Angeles: Feral House). ISBN 0-922915-71-7.
  4. Jason Buhrmester, "Agnostic Front's Victim in Pain at 25", Village Voice, December 1, 2009.
  5. 1 2 3 4 Sam McPheeters, "Survival of the Streets", Vice Magazine, 2010.
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