November 20, 2008

Underrated: Belgium's H8000 scene

The H8000 hardcore scene that took place in Belgium during the mid to late 90's is/was criminally underrated here in the US. What's even more amazing is the fact that so many quality bands were coming out of a country so small. And yes...I am lumping a lot of non-H8000 bands under the H8000 banner if they were linked in some way. Why hardly anyone acknowledges that amazing scene confounds me. Maybe it's because the US has typically been closed-minded when it comes to foreign bands. Or maybe it's not so much closed-mindedness as it is the fact that the US had plenty of quality bands of it's own during this time period as well. Who knows. But for those of you who hardly know anything about H8000 hardcore, let me give you a brief oversight of what made me love it.

There were three major players when it came to record labels: Genet, Sober Mind, and Goodlife. Each would go on to release some very classic H8000 albums. I believe Sober Mind is no more, but Genet and Goodlife are still churning out releases. There was one record store located in Gent that was simply amazing, called Pyrrhus Records. I found many a good record there during a couple of visits. Hell, it's also the first time I even came across a Bane 7". They really seemed to have it all, even though it catered more toward the "metal" hardcore crowd. I also bought a few zines there, and while I can't tell you what they were called because they were thrown in the dumpster during a fit of rage, I can tell you that there was some quality stuff in the writing department.

As far as bands go, I don't think you can really talk about the H8000 scene without first mentioning Liar. Their first release was also the first release put out by Goodlife. It basically set the standard for the H8000 sound...essentially a hardcore band adding lots of metal parts into their songs. Over the years, Liar would go more to the metal extreme, even to the point where it would be hard to classify them as even being a hardcore band. Another band that was an essential H8000 staple was Congress. While not my personal favorite, there is no doubt that they left their mark on the scene. Lots of releases and definitely had their own sound. Other bands that added to the H8000 legacy were Facedown (possibly my favorite), Kindred, Regression, Length of Time, Spineless, Deformity and Spirit of Youth. Hell...even some US bands were synonymous with the H8000 scene; most notably Culture and Morning Again.

While I haven't been to that area since 2001, I doubt that the involvement is even half of what it was back in the heyday. But that's the nature of hardcore in general. Things go in waves and maybe one day we will see a return to form. There is no doubt in my mind that the H8000 scene could rival anything other scene that was happening in SoCal, Florida, Syracuse, etc. at the time. There was a real sense of community and promising new bands seemed to be forming each week. I really think that the bands involved during that time were a huge influence on the current crop of "metalcore" bands from Europe; whether that be Heaven Shall Burn, Caliban, Cataract, Maroon, or Purified In Blood. I dare you to prove me wrong.

Do yourself a favor and check these bands out on your own (sorry I haven't provided any links, but I'm still new to this whole HTML deal. I'll figure it out.)

With all this being said, if anybody reading this is looking to get rid of any H8000 CD's (yes...CD's only) I might be interested. Even 90's hardcore in general is of interest to me.

October 16, 2008

First Post

So I got inspired to start my own blog after lurking x43x's amazing blog for a while. His is dedicated mostly to 90's hardcore and is extremely well written. Check it out when you have a chance. I guess my reasoning behind starting one was because I wanted an outlet for my own opinions and random thoughts that are stuffed in my head. I also wanted to be able to share music with others that I thought was worthwile.

Whether anyone cares at all what I have to say is really of no concern to me. I need an outlet for myself and want to be able to translate my thoughts onto paper (or rather, the computer screen). And with that being said, I have no idea if this will be updated on a regular basis. Things in my life are constantly changing and time is always flying by. Hopefully, I can make a concerted effort to stay on top of this.