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Post-hardcore is a music genre that evolved from hardcore punk, itself an offshoot of the broader punk rock movement. Like post-punk, post-hardcore is a term for a broad constellation of groups who emerged from the hardcore punk scene, or took inspiration from hardcore, while concerning themselves with a wider palette of expression, closer to experimental rock.

The genre took shape in the mid- to late-1980s with releases from the Midwestern United States. These included bands on SST Records, and bands from Washington, D.C.marker such as Fugazi (see the era's releases on Dischord Records, for example), as well as slightly different sounding groups such as Big Black and Jawbox that stuck closer to the noise rock roots of post-hardcore.

Post-hardcore is typically characterized by its precise rhythms and loud guitar-based instrumentation accompanied by a combination of clean vocals and screams. Allmusic states, "These newer bands, termed post-hardcore, often found complex and dynamic ways of blowing off steam that generally went outside the strict hardcore realm of 'loud fast rules'. Additionally, many of these bands' vocalists were just as likely to deliver their lyrics with a whispered croon as they were a maniacal yelp." The genre has developed a balance of dissonance and melody, in part channeling the loud and fast hardcore ethos into more measured, subtle forms of tension and release. Jeff Terich of Treblezine states, "[I]nstead of sticking to [hardcore's] rigid constraints, these artists expanded beyond power chords and gang vocals, incorporating more creative outlets for punk rock energy."



Post-hardcore is an offspring coming from hardcore punk, which had typically featured very fast tempos, loud volume and heavy bass levels.

By the mid-1980s, groups classified as hardcore, or with strong roots in the genre, began to experiment with the basic template. The initial outcropping of these groups typically recorded for SST Records (the Minutemen, Hüsker Dü, the Meat Puppets, Dinosaur Jr., and Gone), and emerged from the increasingly experimental tendencies of Black Flag and Greg Ginn's evolving musical tastes. Many of these groups also took inspiration from the '80s noise rock scene pioneered by Sonic Youth. Steve Albini's group Big Black, and subsequent projects Rapeman and Shellac are also associated with post-hardcore. Critic Steven Blush described Big Black as "an angst-ridden response to the rigid English post-punk of Gang of Four". Naked Raygun also made use of "oblique lyrics and stark post-punk melodies".

Later releases on Dischord Records also extended the post-hardcore style, most famously in the work of Fugazi, but also including bands such as Embrace, Rites of Spring, Nation of Ulysses, Jawbox, Shudder to Think, and Lungfish. Dischord groups also experimented with influences from soul music, dub, post-punk, funk, jazz, and dance-punk. Math rock and to some degree riot grrl were offshoots of this movement.


A third iteration of post-hardcore took place with the work of musicians who had first come to prominence in the youth crew scene, most famously Fugazi, Unsane, Quicksand, Helmet but also Glassjaw, and On the Might of Princes. Groups such as Drive Like Jehu, Unwound, Les Savy Fav, Refused, Hot Water Music, Cap'n Jazz and At the Drive-In, associated with art punk, were also significant to the scene.


In the late 1990s, new bands formed who popularized the style. These include Thursday, Thrice, Finch, and the more metallic Poison the Well. Daryl Palumbo of Glassjaw is a friend of Thursday front-man Geoff Rickly, and also provided backing vocals on Finch's debut album What It Is to Burn. By 2003, post-hardcore had caught the attention of major labels including Island Records, who signed Thrice and Thursday, Atlantic Records, who signed Poison the Well, and Geffen Records, who had absorbed Finch from their former label Drive-Thru Records. Post-hardcore also began to do well in sales with Thrice's The Artist in the Ambulance and Thursday's War All the Time which charted #16 and #7, respectively, on the Billboard 200 in 2003.

Around this time, a new wave of post-hardcore bands began to emerge onto the scene that incorporated more pop punk and alternative rock styles into their music. These bands include The Used, Hawthorne Heights, Senses Fail, From First to Last, Emery in addition to Canadian post-hardcore bands Silverstein and Alexisonfire. This group of post-hardcore bands gained mainstream recognition with the help of MTV and Warped Tour. The Used released some minor radio hits and later received gold certifications for their first two studio albums The Used and In Love and Death from the RIAA. Hawthorne Heights' debut album The Silence in Black and White was also certified gold.

United Kingdom

Post-hardcore has never been as popular in United Kingdom as it has been in the United States or Canada. However, a more pop-oriented, less experimental form of the genre's popularity increased in the early 21st Century, with more British bands and albums breaking into the Official UK Album Charts. Hundred Reasons' debut album, Ideas Above Our Station, reached #6 in the UK chart following its release in 2002. The following year saw Hell is for Heroes reach #16 with their own debut, The Neon Handshake and Funeral for a Friend's debut album Casually Dressed and Deep in Conversation reached #12. Fightstar's first album, Grand Unification, reached #28 in the UK in 2006. Their second album reached #27 in 2007, and their third album reached #20 in 2009. Enter Shikari's blend of post-hardcore and hardcore dance has been successful, with their first album Take To The Skies reaching #4 and their second Common Dreads reached #16.

See also


  1. " Post-Hardcore", allmusic.
  2. allmusic
  3. " The 90-Minute Guide - Post-Hardcore", Jeff Terich, Treblezine, April 24, 2007.
  4. "The mid-80s were unsatisfying times for rockers. Aside from the handful of seminal releases from The Replacements, Naked Raygun and the post-hardcore stable at SST, pickings were slim." Fast'n'Bulbous Reviews'n'Rants 2003 Archive, [1] Access date: June 14, 2008
  5. Blush, Steven. American Hardcore: A Tribal History. Feral House: 2001. p. 222.
  6. "Thursday - Biography" allmusic. Retrieved on February 20, 2009.
  7. "Thrice - Biography" allmusic. Retrieved on February 20, 2009.
  8. Heisel, Scott. "FINCH TAKING 'INDEFINITE BREAK' FROM MUSIC " Retrieved on February 20, 2009.
  9. "Poison The Well" TimeOff. Retrieved on February 20, 2009.
  10. "A conversation with United Nations' Geoff Rickly." Alternative Press. Retrieved on February 20, 2009.
  11. "What It Is to Burn - Overview" allmusic. Retrieved on February 20, 2009.
  12. "Artist Chart History - Thrice - Albums" Retrieved on February 20, 2009.
  13. "Artist Chart History - Thursday - Albums" Retrieved on February 20, 2009.
  14. Ruhlmann, William. "The Used - Full Biography" Retrieved on February 20, 2009.
  15. Monger, James Christopher. "Hawthorne Heights - Full Biography" Retrieved on February 20, 2009.
  16. Heisel, Scott. "AP Exclusive: Senses Fail and Saosin to Tour US This Winter" Retrieved on February 20, 2009.
  17. "From First To Last Biography" NME. Retrieved on February 20, 2009.
  18. Goforth, Andrea Dawn. "Emery - While Broken Hearts Prevail Review" Retrieved on February 20, 2009.
  19. Loftus, Johnny. "Silverstein - Full Biography" Retrieved on February 20, 2009.
  20. Adair, David. "Interview with Alexisonfire" AngryApe. Retrieved on February 20, 2009.
  21. "RIAA Gold and Platinum Searchable Database" Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved on February 20, 2009.


  • Andersen, Mark and Mark Jenkins (2003). Dance of Days: Two Decades of Punk in the Nation's Capital. Akashic Books. ISBN 1888451440
  • Azzerad, Michael (2002). Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground 1981-1991. Back Bay Books. ISBN 0316787531
  • Grubbs, Eric (2008). POST: A Look at the Influence of Post-Hardcore-1985-2007. iUniverse, Inc. ISBN 0595518354
  • Reynolds, Simon. "The Blasting Concept: Progressive Punk from SST Records to Mission of Burma. Rip It Up and Start Again: Post-punk 1978-84. London: Faber and Faber, Ltd., 2005.

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