Music Interview: The Terror of hardcore

By Kate Foote

In an age where anything retro is hip, meet California’s Terror. It’s a shame the word ‘hardcore’ has become so jaded Terror has to be called retro, but it fits. Terror is true, old-fashioned, punch-you-in-the-face, drenched-in-ethics hardcore in the vein of Madball and Agnostic Front. Nowadays, however, people toss the suffix ‘-core’ around like it’s some kind of cliche.

“Lots of bands that are coming out are just like, trendy metal,” bemoans Terror’s bassist Carl Schwartz. “They call themselves hardcore, but it’s definitely something else.”

Having proven their chops playing shows alongside trailblazers Madball, no one could accuse Terror of being one of these in consequential ‘trendy’ bands. While trends may dictate a specific attire to be attributed to hardcore, Terror has no plans of buying in. In fact, they reject the entire ‘fashioncore’ influence in today’s hardcore music.

“People get a bad taste of hardcore because they think it’s just kids wearing tight pants with dyed hair and pink bandanas–it’s just way off,” says Schwartz. “Hardcore shows are about aggression, not about worrying about some dude smearing eyeliner on you.”

A sure-fire sign you’re at a true hardcore show is the existence of a frothing mosh pit. While newer kids on the scene prefer to choreograph their motions, Schwartz contends the unintentional flailings and raw energy found only in the pit have a therapeutic quality.

“I want kids to just come out and mosh, and let out their aggression at a show, and not out in the streets,” he says. “It’s good for kids to have an outlet.”

This outlet, however, has come under fire as the violence at shows escalates, causing worrying parents and members of the community to decry the shows and the music. Such concern causes problems for hardcore bands, as venue owners are less prone to host their shows.

On the surface, hardcore may seem doomed to become nothing more than another marketable commodity for today’s kids. Nevertheless, Schwartz contends hardcore will always be more than just angry suburban kids in effeminate clothes screaming into microphones.

“There’s definitely legit hardcore bands, [that are] what hardcore was when I got into it,” he remarks, conceding today’s more popular trends haven’t necessarily compromised the integrity of the more indefatigable of hardcore bands.

Terror is here to remind people the core of hardcore is not some trendy, one-trick pony–it’s a way of life.

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