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10 Amazing Hardcore Albums From the 2020s

Impenetrable albums!


Has any underground music scene been more fruitful than hardcore in the 2020s? The energy is unmatched, the output is constant, and the creativity is uncompromising – hardcore has truly been the heart of heavy music throughout the new decade.

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Look, we all know Turnstile's Glow On is a modern classic and everything Knocked Loose has put out has been killer, so let's shine a light on some of the other hardcore powerhouses you may or may not have checked out in recent years. Take a listen to these 10 amazing albums below.

Gulch – Impenetrable Cerebral Fortress (2020)

Few modern hardcore bands captured the zeitgeist better than Gulch. With their sole album, just scraping 16 minutes in length, Gulch went all killer and no filler. Addressing the duality of man through ferocious audio violence, Impenetrable Cerebral Fortress allowed Gulch to go out at the very top of their genre. It’s everything a true underground legend is made from.

Rotting Out – Ronin (2020)

There’s been so much new blood in the modern hardcore scene that sometimes people can forget about veteran bands who’re still releasing phenomenal albums. Enter Rotting Out with their 2020 powerhouse record, Ronin. Classic enough for the oldheads standing by the merch booth with their arms crossed and fresh enough for the kids to beat the piss out of each other in the pit to, Ronin is a generational bridge for 2020s hardcore. Fuck everything you thought you knew. 

Drain – California Cursed (2020)

California Cursed is the type of album that makes you want to run into oncoming traffic. It’s mean as fuck, tight as can be, and filled to the goddamn brim with killer riffs. It moves seamlessly between classic ‘80s hesher thrash and stink face-inducing beatdowns. If you’re looking to get a thrash fan into the hardcore scene, this record will make them see the light. 

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God’s Hate – God’s Hate (2021)

To understand the present, one must also understand the past. God’s Hate is a band with a PhD in hardcore history, and with their 2021 self-titled album, they zapped new life into the style of hardcore pioneered by bands like Madball and revived in the early 2000s by Hatebreed and Terror. God’s Hate is pure, unfiltered beatdown hardcore played with the heaviest hands imaginable — heavier than a knife-edge chop from Brody King himself. 

One Step Closer – The Place You Know (2021)

Never forget that hardcore is an inherently emotional genre of music. With their 2021 opus This Place You Know, Pennsylvania’s One Step Closer delivered one of the most tear-your-guts-out works of the 2020s. Like an unheard prayer aimed at the sky, This Place You Know will leave you on your knees with tears streaming down your face… in the most cathartic way possible. Do not sleep on this album.

Soul Glo – Diaspora Problems (2022)

Not a band on earth sounds like Soul Glo. Their 2022 album, Diaspora Problems, was a massive breakout for the band, being named one of the best albums of the year by dozens of publications. A demented love child between Bad Brains and Death Grips, Soul Glo’s blend of hardcore punk and hip-hop doesn’t let go once it’s taken hold of you. This thing is unfuckwithable, and it’s encapsulated perfectly by one song title — “Jump !! (Or Get Jumped!!!)((by the future)).”

Inclination – Unaltered Perspective (2022)

Any intelligent viewer of the current 24/7 news cycle knows the value of an unaltered perspective. The title of Inclination’s 2022 album is perfection for the music heard within, because it’s raw and unapologetic as fuck. It doesn’t cater to trends or beg to be unraveled… Unaltered Perspective is violently blunt, and it’s one of the finer modern works from the straight edge hardcore scene. 

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Chat Pile – God’s Country (2022)

Don’t believe the hype behind this record… just listen and feel it for yourself. God’s Country certainly isn’t your typical hardcore record. In fact, it’s about as avant-garde as we’ve heard the genre in a long, long time. Trudged forward by a fat bass tone and vocal performances that border on spoken-word, Chat Pile’s debut full-length feels like an absurdist mix of Godflesh, Rollins Band and The Jesus Lizard. In the best possible way, Chat Pile could play only art galleries and still get a pit going. 

Zulu – A New Tomorrow (2023)

This simply must be heard. As multicultural influences have swept the rock and metal world in recent years, Zulu succeeded in bringing traditional African vibes to hardcore. Production-wise, A New Tomorrow plays like a collage of hastily sewn together pieces, but it ultimately succeeds by delivering quality jams 100 percent of the time. It’s a truly inspired work that few bands could ever dream of pulling off. Perhaps this was what hearing the Bad Brains in the early ‘80s felt like. 

GEL – Only Constant (2023)

Hardcore has benefitted massively from female influence in recent years — just see Dying Wish, Gouge Away, SeeYouSpaceCowboy or Cerce, to name a few. Those acts are all highly recommended, as is the new full-length from GELOnly Constant. It feels unique by being surprisingly atmospheric, yet retaining a classic raw quality. It’s an aggressively feel-good album, like shedding your bad energy by thrashing it out of your system. Get this thing moving on your turntable. 

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