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Masked Intruder is everything that’s wrong with 2013’s punkscene

Complain all you want about how boring and stagnant the current hardcore scene is, but at least there’s one genre even more conservative: punkrock.

When a pretty generic band gets a decent amount of hype based on the fact that they’re performing in masks on stage, that’s when you know when things have gone stale. Therefore Masked Intruder is everything that’s wrong with the current punk scene. Just look at the facts, most punk bands able to fill a decent club are bands that once were on Epitaph of Fat Wreck. Name one punk band that managed to hit it big like Lagwagon, Rise Against, Pennywise and the likes. I can’t.

Sure enough there are some pretty decent newer punk bands. Nothington, Banner Pilot to name a few but none of them has managed to really create a name for themselves. Hey I’m the last too complain about bands not getting successful. The biggest problem of today’s punkscene isn’t record sales (those are decreasing in every genre), no, it’s the total lack of innovation. The few pretty successful new punk bands all sounds like rehashes of the nineties or even worse The Ramones.

Masked Intruder. I had the ‘pleasure’ of seeing them on stage. And yes, they’re capable musicians but they do exactly the same stuff as The Ramones with the addition of a pretty cheap gimmick. Do I have to remind you all of the decline of the Dutch straight edge scene which started at the same time as Rotterdam’s X-men released an EP? Or the decline of the world wide vegan metalcore scene which was dated around the time Path Of Resistance released a record? There’s only one band capable of pulling of gimmicks like that: KISS.

At least the current hardcore scene does show some evolution, some incorporating of new ideas. Touche Amore sounds nothing like Down To Nothing or Nails. Yet all three bands do share stage or could share stages every now and then. Today’s hardcore mixes up indierock with blast beats and creates sounds that are not like those of the 90’s. The last big wave of something different in punk was probably the orgcore thing. After that? Nothing. Everyone went back to skatepunk, skapunk etc.

Hardcore musically is far from dead. Punk however is starting to become that grayish old guy who slowly makes his way through the supermarket, picking up the same products as years ago and indifferent to try new stuff.



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  1. Pim said on 2013-10-18

    How about “fuck progress, we regress”? 🙂

  2. Riekus said on 2013-10-18

    Even though I think it’s healthy to keep a critic outlook on ones surroundings and – let’s face it – neither punk nor hardcore are ‘innovative’ genres, I believe I’m missing the point here: so there’s one hardcore band (Touche Amore) that’s stirring things up and making a name, and there’s one shitty 4-chord punk band (Masked Intruder), thus hardcore is innovating, punk is a boring gimmick? I’d like to see that illustrated with more examples.

    And by the way: why mention ‘making it big’ as an argument to classify punk as dead, and then dispose the whole argument just a few sentences further on?

    What about a band like The Menzingers? Doing pretty well in the European club scene, playing (more or less) punk rock with a folky ring to it. Are they an example of how ‘dead’ punk is? Or are they too mainstream to be classified punk in this context?

    While I fully agree that gimmicks are a sign of things going bad, I would have liked to see a little more eye for detail in this column.

  3. Deadpool said on 2013-10-19

    I really think Touche Amore is a kutband and has far less to do with hardcore than with punkrock.

  4. Deadpool said on 2013-10-19

    Oh, before I forget, Down To Nothing sounds more dated than Strife did in 95. Cool band though.

  5. bootsman said on 2013-10-19

    So it’s thursday night and you listen to Count Me Out and Carry On for the gazillionth time and decide to stir things up a bit. Bingo, you have my attention.

    Besides the poor choices of bands (hyped punkpop rehash and hyped 90s emo rehash) you do have a point that no punk band made it big in this last decade.

    I’d like to know one hardcore band that is today’s SOIA, Madball, Hatebreed or Terror. I’m not talking about bands who can fill the Dynamo basement but new hardcore bands who can fill the bigger clubs.

    The punk rock troubadour thing has seen a major rise in popularity (Frank Turner doing arena shows in the US and selling out the major venues in Holland, TomVanTil doing dwdd and Lowlands). Those guys weren’t there 10 years ago.
    Another new subgenre is the (alt-)country infused punk rock from bands like Arliss Nancy, The Evening Rig and Crazy Arm.

    It’s ok to ignore that shitty stack of review promo’s and downloads and find stuff that’s new and fresh.

  6. Pim said on 2013-10-19

    I can’t name one either Bootsman. I could have seen Trapped Under Ice going there. Maybe Twitching Tongues can go there. Because they’re bands that metal kids can dig as well. Which is important to get that huge crowd.

    I don’t care personally though. I don’t care about progression either. It’s either good, average, or bad. And one might argue that average and bad is the same.

    Do you guys consider The Gaslight Anthem a punk band? Oh and Blink 182 came after those punk bands you mentioned right?

  7. Just Killing Time said on 2013-10-19

    Why did Pennywise and NoFX become huge in the 90s? Because everybody and their grandmother who was remotely “alternative” was into punkrock. Their shows still sell big mainly because of people over 30 going for old times sake.

    Also, kids these days hardly have an opportunity to get interested in punkrock. When MTV still showed video’s, bands like Blink, Green Day, The Offspring and Sum 41 were all over the place. Think about those bands what you will, but that’s what got kids into punkrock in those days. Nowadays, (semi) alternative music is completely missing from (semi) mainstream media. So it’s not that surprising no punkband has made it huge in the last 15 years: there are just not that many people into punkrock anymore.

    As for hardcore bands not making it big anymore: bands like The Ghost Inside, Deez Nuts, Stick To Your Guns and Your Demise are pretty much capable of filling the bigger venues. Or look at Parkway Drive. They’re huge. Only they’re not considered “hardcore” by the old school purists, so I guess they don’t count. But to the kids today, those are the Biohazards and Life of Agony’s of today (bands that made it big but were also not considered true hardcore by the purists of yesteryear). A band like Madball will never become huge anymore, because thats not the the type of music that can become huge these days. Not enough people into that type of thing. You can bitch about kids these days not liking the same music you liked when you were a kid, but hey…blah.

    There’s enough stuff going on in both hardcore and punkrock. Whether or not you personally like the stuff that is going on is besides the point.

  8. Just Killing Time said on 2013-10-19

    And by the way: Madball, SOIA, Agnostic Front and even Terror are also not able anymore to sell out the biggr venues without touring with tons of other bands. Madball didn’t even manage to sell out Baroeg this summer and SOIA is playing smaller clubs than they used to as well.

  9. Nico said on 2013-10-23

    I would like to add; IMHO that despite the decline in popularity of hardcore bands, also the change of media sources are effecting the amount of visitors of shows or how people are into hardcore.

    It has become so easy to find the style of music/sub genre of hardcore that you enjoy by the click of a button. You don’t need to rely on an hour of tv or radio a week and the reviews in Aardschok, to find out about new bands.

    This has resulted in a more segregated scene but also it creates a barrier to reach your target audience. These last few years I missed numerous shows due to not seeing the Facebook event.

    There is no website that list all shows that appeal to me, so I have to trust on being invited to shows or by accident stumble upon them.

    When I am at a show, I hardly see any marketing for other shows.

    • Just Killing Time said on 2013-10-24

      So basicly it’s the way it used to be before the ‘internet scene’ exploded. If you didn’t see the poster or the flyer, you did not know about the show. Now you have to see the FB event.

      The only difference is, the exits to venues aren’t blocked anymore by 10 kids handing out flyers to different shops, haha.

  10. KH said on 2014-03-01

    OK, I’ll admit it – I’m old. I even had to GOOGLE the name of the band in order to sign up to post this message. Fort the record, I loved the RAMONES. I have two cars with vanity license plates; one says PUNK POP and the other one has GBGB HEY. I was researching Masked Intruder concert dates when I saw the negative comments. Before I opened the site I viewed the “official” Masked Intruder video for the song “I don’t want to be alone tonight”. It made me smile. So they wear masks. Big deal. They play catchy pop punk tunes that are enjoyable to listen to. They work hard – constantly on the road. I was fortunate to see them at the past two FESTS as well as other cities around the country. Masked Intruder along with Teenage Bottle Rocket and Off With their Heads are the three bands that have meant the most to me over the past four years or so. If that’s whats wrong with PUNK we need more of it!

  11. L'eau Oui Que said on 2014-04-05

    Punk in these days is to me Paint it Black and Trash Talk. In my opinion those bands are pretty innovative. Def Trash Talk with their bridge to the Odd Future click. Love it.

    Also a huge Intruder en Bottlerocket fan though 🙂