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The return of ethics in hardcore?

The signs are there, the coming years we’ll see the return of oldschool ethics in the hardcore scene. After the ego centered first decade of the 21st century not only the 90’s hardcore sound is making a comeback due to bands like Incendiary and Foundation, good old scene politics seem to be reappearing as well for better or worse.

Let’s look at some signs of the times:

– We’ve had the controversy surrounding a Dutch former nazi who organised a straight edge fest. Bands finding out about his past. Discussions on Facebook and eventually the cancellation of the fest.

– There was the discussion on about a certain band charging 12 euros (no kidding!) for their merch.

– And what about the drummer of Deafhaven who once wore a Hate Forest shirt (a nazi-band) and got shit for it when playing in Germany.

– People who think Defeater shouldn’t play Fluff Fest because they might have a patriotic message.

– One of the recent examples of course is German band Fallbrawl who got dropped by the organisers of a Swedish HC fest because of their new video which features some strippers.

– And Dutch band Karel Anker en de Joden take sides for the fish in the world in their song against Pescetarianism called Kapitein Iglo (Moordenaar) which translates as Captain Iglo (Murderer).

Now let’s try and predict where this is going.

It shouldn’t be too long before a new religion tries to break some ground in the hardcore scene, reaching for troubled teenagers who are searching for their identity. Maybe Ray Cappo will do a new band centered around a yoga/zen kind of thing or all those bad Christian metalcore bands will once again start spreading the Gospel on small shows? Or will the 21st century see hardcore bands founded upon their beliefs in Allah taking over?

Facebook will be the main center of new anti-actions. Scene girls will rally against American Apparel and other fashion brands. Bands will boycott shirt manufacturers who still produce in third world sweatshops. Kids will stop wearing Vans because no matter how cool they are, they’re not all vegan.

For a real return of hardcore ethics there should also be a really militant faction. Since hardline and those straight edge gangs in Utah are from the past it’s time for a new group of eco warriors to claim their part in hardcore history. An anti-nuclear plants group could do well in Japan, but they have first to decide if they’re continuing to kill whales or not.

As for Europe, hardcore activists should fare well on this continent. Maybe the Belgian scene will get caught by the virus of separatism that’s spreading amongst a part of its inhabitants. The Dutch of course have their own Reagan in Rutte. Greece, Spain and Italy have a large youth unemployment rate which basically means there’s a whole generation with enough time on their hands to steal some instruments, squat a place and start rehearsing.

If there ever is the ‘right’ time to bring ethics back in hardcore I’d say it’s now. So bring your wooden crate to a show and start a discussion.

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  1. Dennis said on 2012-03-24

    will there be bands focussing on European politics? Will the ethics spread to metal (like it did in the late eighties when a lot of thrash bands all of a sudden were displaying ethics)?

  2. Just Killing Time said on 2012-03-24

    That whole christian metalcore thing is fucking huge in the states, with tours and festivals like Scream for Praise attracting thousands of kids, literaly. Seems like every melodic metalcore band has a christian background these days. And of course there’s Sleeping Giant, who are huge and don’t see themselves as a band, but as a ministry bringing the gospel (funny thing, really dig their first album, so I ordered a shirt directly from the band and at the time joked on their myspace, asking whether they were ok with an outspoken atheist wearing their shirt. I got official permission by private message. And they weren’t kidding.)

    Say what you want about religion, but these bands at least have something they stand for and a message they try to get across (some more subtle than others). Even though I think relion is in its core comepletely idiotic, i have respect for that.

    • dimitri said on 2012-03-27

      skrewdriver had a message and at least stood for something. do you really think you’re making a valid point here?

      • Just Killing Time said on 2012-03-27

        Do you?

        • Just Killing Time said on 2012-03-27

          It’s just a matter of ‘Hardcore is about thinking for yourself, but please think what everybody else thinks you should be thinking.’

        • Just Killing Time said on 2012-03-27

          I listen to a lot of music that has messages that conflict with the way I view the world. I’m not straight edge, I’m not vegan or vegetarian, I’m not into krishna, I’m not overly left-wing oriented politically. But I can listen to and enjoy hardcore bands that have messages related to these topics without problem.

          I’m not a christian, and I don’t agree with a lot of things christianity stands for, but given the above, I have no problem listening to good music with a christian message. That would just be hypocritical.

      • Pim said on 2012-03-28

        How about the Bad Brains and the things they’ve said on homosexuality? Is that allowed?

        I love the Bad Brains, but that doesn’t mean I agree with them on everything. Same goes (on a different level) for the Cro Mags and JJ’s conspiracy theories for instance.

  3. Koentor said on 2012-03-24



  4. Onno said on 2012-03-28

    I think there is a BIG, BIG difference between all the things Just Killing Time mentions and Skrewdriver, let’s NOT go there 😉

    • dimitri said on 2012-03-30

      really? was there ever a comparison of any kind between that killing time dude and skrewdriver?
      I was stating that his point of “at least they (christian HC) are standing for something” was invalid.
      just standing “for something” doesn’t maker it right in any way.

      • Just Killing Time said on 2012-03-30

        Not agreeing with someones ideology does not automatically make that ideology ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’ either.

        You REALLY think you should put the topics “religion in hc/punk” and “racism/fascism in hc/punk” on the same level? With all due respect mate, thats extemely narrowminded, don’t you think?

        I can see no wrong in people loving some bearded guy in the clouds and telling me I should love him too. at least no more wrong than people telling me i shouldn’t drink or smoke, for example.

        People telling me to hate someone because of race or something other is a completely different thing.

        • dimitri said on 2012-04-05

          you don’t see me putting them ‘on the same level’. that’s happening entirely in your head. all I’m stating is that in my opinion any type of dogmatism (be it religious or political) has no place in punk/HC and should be resisted by any means necessary. that you somehow choose to think that one type of dogmatism is less evil than the other is your value judgment (waardeoordeel).
          at least political conviction can ultimately be changed by reason.

  5. Pim said on 2012-03-28

    If hardcore really is a counterculture this could be happening, since it seems that nobody cares about anything anymore. I notice it within myself too (the caring less and less part).

    Either way, speaking your mind is a good thing. Discussion is great. I would love to see that happening more. Narrowmindedness and people being uptight PC, nah.. I could do without that.

  6. Andreaxxx said on 2012-03-30

    ethics and politics never left hardcore, maybe you were not paying enough attention

  7. Daniël said on 2012-03-31

    I work on a factory farm, breeding and fattening pigs and I listen to Earth Crisis and Raid.

    What does this make me?