Ah, blackened hardcore, taking two subgenres of extreme music with a violent desire to “prove” oneself, as well as inciting the most sweaty internet arguments, and mashing them together. A true recipe for success in all ways, shapes, and forms. However, in blackened hardcore’s defense, it does prove to be somewhat of an anomaly, skipping out on the worst fans from either genres and existing more for the true misanthropes present in both; dirty, grimy people who truly just hate everyone else (as well as themselves). That is where the true magic of blackened hardcore lies, not that it (somehow) has some of the most tolerable fans out of any of extreme music’s subgenres, but that it so perfectly portrays what extreme music always strives to be; nasty, brutal, and abrasive. It is not music to be taken lightly, and is best listened to all alone in a dark room somewhere so that one can truly feel their complete and utter contempt for reality.
DISCLAIMER: Blackened grindcore, as well as blackened hardcore, will be included in this list since the two are so closely linked. Neo crust, while similar, still remains distinctly different due to its more heavily atmospheric/post rock-ish leanings.
Young and in the Way – I Am Not What I Am
Perhaps the best representation of this subgenre, though certainly not the innovators, is Charlotte, North Carolina’s own Young and in the Way. The band focuses far more on the aggressive, raw side of black metal that has come to define such American black metal legends as Leviathan, using it to enhance their already nasty, misanthropic hardcore, turning it into a super charged beast of extreme music. What really helps to sell the band, however, is how absolutely sincere they sound about their complete and total hatred for those around them, something that isn’t too hard to do with song titles like “Fuck This Life”. This is nasty, dirty music to sit silently in a corner somewhere listening to, plotting your revenge against a world that has wronged you in some way it could never possibly know.
Ramlord – Crippled Minds, Sundered Wisdom
Arguably blackened hardcore’s most important current band other than YAITW, Ramlord plays with far more careful attention to their black metal influence than their Charlotte counterparts. The black metal influence is presented in a way that is not overbearing, but blends seamlessly with the grindcore and powerviolence influences present in Ramlord’s sound, creating some truly odd (but entirely dynamic and excellent) moments as traditional, moody black metal riffs give way to furious blasts of punishing grind. It is abrasive in a different way than YAITW and manages to show that even a subgenre that may initially seem as two dimensional and self explanatory as blackened hardcore has a significant amount of depth and room for bands to explore their own unique sounds.
(Side Note: A link or two on their bandcamp page should take you to their label where you can download this album FOR FREE.)
Hexis – Abalam
If you’ve read Heavy Blog at some point in your life prior to this article, it is a fair guess that at some point you have stumbled upon Copenhagen, Denmark’s Hexis, proving that Copenhagen is not only a modern miracle of urban planning, but spine breaking blackened hardcore as well. Abalam is truly no frills, blackened hatred, and makes it seem as if maybe YAITW are actually pretty nice guys, the kind that you could have a picnic with. For the most part the record is a nonstop barrage of blackened grindcore, musically crowded in the best way possible. When the record finally does let up, it is usually only for a second as the band dives into a disgustingly thick, sludgy breakdown laced with enough feedback to kill a small horse. If you like your blackened hardcore with very little trace of melody, but still captivating and punishing, then Hexis just might be the band for you. (Side Note: This record is also FREE on their bandcamp page.)