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The Best Of Ugly UK Hardcore

By Robert Foster

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I think it’s great that hardcore’s a big thing for "the kids" in the UK these days. TDON records and the likes of Last Witness, While She Sleeps and Brutality Will Prevail seem to be a huge deal. Their music, generally speaking, goes as hard as possible, and I don’t doubt the intentions of the bands themselves in any way. Honestly, energy drink-sponsored tours or not (shut up, don’t say you wouldn’t take the money), the last thing I want to do is say anyone isn’t the real deal, or whatever, but what the fuck is up with everyone in these bands being so incredibly well dressed and good looking? Look at these pretty guys:

 
I mean, you could play a game of "Bassist in hardcore band, or successful east London-based junior account exec. at major advertising agency?" with pictures of these boys and it would not be a cut and shut exercise. In fact, as a resident of east London, I see actual successful junior account execs around and they fill me with a quietly debilitating jealous rage (I’m not big in the ‘financial success’ game at the moment—it’s getting me down). It's a rage I’ve often expunged by listening to a hardcore record or two, so being reminded of those people while I’m trying to bedroom-mosh out the self-hate defeats what hardcore is about for me anyway.
 
Thankfully, for grumpy, paunchy guys like me, there’s been a faction of UK hardcore that’s been around many years longer than these handsome young bucks who cause all my body image problems. And they’ll definitely be around long after the singer from Your Demise gets a well deserved dressing down for the obnoxious volume of costume changes in this video. Most of the UK bands that won’t make you want to carve the words "UGLY FAT LOSER" into your chubby thighs are based loosely around London’s Rucktion Records and a monthly show that happens at the 12 Bar in central London.
 
Back when the sexy hardcore bands didn’t exist, this stuff was just called UKHC. I dunno what it’s called now, but I guess if you’re watching a UK hardcore band and there’s someone over 30 in a fitted cap involved, tracksuit bottoms are onstage and no one knows what Tumblr is, then you’re on the right track. This'll mean that they DGAF about having a press clippings album on their Facebook and they’re actual humans, not clothes-horses with good record collections, and therefore people you can trust with your assorted negative emotions. So here’s five of the best and ugliest UKHC jams for your edification:
 
UNITE: "SCREAMAGER"
 
 
Best bit: The screeched vocals of "hang around and get screwed up on you.." = hating yourself for liking a girl too much x 1000000. So perfect.
 
Why it’s reassuringly unsexy: It’s a cover of a gross Irish gumpy rock song from the 90s. People who were into the original of this didn’t get laid. Ever.
 

BUM DEM OUT: "PERUCHO'S TALE"
 
 
Best bit: The bit where Pelbu speaks a bit of Peruvian and does a moody evil chuckle at 1:28 just before it goes double time. Pretty tough. Graphic designers who like Converge would think it was mean and scare-wee.
 
Why it’s reassuringly unsexy: No one’s skinny in this video, and during the breakdown, instead of a slowmo mosh montage like all the wholesome bands do, everyone just lurks behind a sofa drinking Guinness.
 

SIX FOOT DITCH: "SIX FEET DEEP"
 
 
Best bit: The believable use of bandanas over faces ("maybe they really do do crime?") and the occasional slam-metal piggy vocals.
 
Why it’s reassuringly unsexy: SFD are from Portsmouth. Nothing from Portsmouth has ever been sexy.
 

SHATTERED REALM AND 50 CALIBER: "THIS WORLD IS MINE"
 
 
Best bit: This song is cool, but this video is worth its weight in gold for the bit where you see Chris Robson—future vocalist of the now huge TRC—doing some super aggressive dancing while there's absolutely no music playing. The best thing I ever saw him do was attend an American Nightmare show in a Burberry jacket, hat, trousers and t-shirt, trolling all the sensitive Smiths fans in that crowd so hard.
 
Why it’s reassuringly unsexy: Trackies are built for comfort, not for being sexy.
 

KNUCKLEDUST: "BLUFFS LIES ALIBIS"
 
 
Best bit: Knuckledust are the original and best, and their new stuff’s almost getting tuneful. I reckon they could support Rancid and they’d go down really well.
 
Why it’s reassuringly unsexy: There’s a lot of men pushing 40 with heads like potatoes in the crowd shots, which I guess isn’t the crowd that Relentless want to put on their photoblog.

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