Powerviolence

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Intro

Powerviolence, sometimes written as power violence, is a raw and dissonant subgenre of Hardcore and Punk.

The style is also closely related to Thrash Metal and Grindcore. In contrast with Grindcore, which is a "crossover" idiom containing musical aspects of Heavy Metal, Powerviolence is just an augmentation of the most challenging qualities of Hardcore Punk; like its predecessor, it is usually socio-politically charged and iconoclastic.

Info

Powerviolence's nascent form was pioneered in the late 1980s by Infest. The microgenre solidified into its most commonly recognized form in the early 1990s, with the sounds of bands such as Man Is the Bastard, Crossed Out, Neanderthal, No Comment and Capitalist Casualties.

Powerviolence groups took inspiration from Siege, SSD, Deep Wound, Neon Christ, Hirax, Impact Unit, Dirty Rotten Imbeciles, Negative FX and Corrosion of Conformity.

Spazz vocalist and bassist Chris Dodge's record label Slap-a-Ham Records was a fixture during the rapid rise and decline of Powerviolence, releasing influential records by Neanderthal, No Comment, Crossed Out, Infest, Slight Slappers, and Spazz. The label's Fiesta Grande was an annual Powerviolence festival held at 924 Gilman from 1993 to 2000. Spazz drummer Max Ward's label 625 Thrashcore has started its own festival, Super Sabado Gigante, in a similar vein. While Powerviolence is closely related to Thrash Metal (often referred to simply as "Thrash"), the style is distinct from the Thrash Metal groups active in the same place, at the same time.

While originally the term Powerviolence included stylistically diverse bands, Powerviolence generally refers to bands who musically focus on speed, brevity, bizarre timing breakdowns, and constant tempo changes. Powerviolence songs are often very short; it is not uncommon for some to last less than twenty seconds. Some groups, particularly Man Is the Bastard, Plutocracy, and No Le$$ took influence from Progressive Rock, and Jazz Fusion.

Powerviolence groups tend to be very raw and underproduced, both sonically and in their packaging. Some groups (Man Is the Bastard and Dystopia) took influence from Anarcho-Punk and Crust Punk, emphasizing animal rights and anti-militarism. Groups such as Despise You and Lack of Interest wrote lyrics about misanthropy, drugs, and inner-city issues. Groups such as Spazz or Charles Bronson, on the other hand, wrote lyrics mocking points of interest for hardcore and metal fans, or even used inside jokes for lyrics, referencing specific people many of their listeners would not know.

Other groups associated with powerviolence included The Locust, His Hero Is Gone, Black Army Jacket, Hellnation, Charles Bronson and Rorschach. The Doom Metal group Burning Witch also released on Slap-A-Ham and played shows with Powerviolence groups.

Legacy

Powerviolence groups had a strong influence on later Grindcore acts, such as Agoraphobic Nosebleed. Mark McCoy of Charles Bronson went on to form Das Oath, a popular Thrashcore / Thrash Metal group. Members of Man Is the Bastard formed Bastard Noise.

A handful of bands from the Powerviolence scene of the 1990s have continued to record and perform decades later, including Bastard Noise, Capitalist Casualties, Despise You, Lack of Interest, Infest, Slight Slappers and Stapled Shut.

Some Bands

Below is a list of bands who have been placed within the Powerviolence Genre, seeing as a number of Powerviolence bands have also been cited within other Genres, we've also tagged these other Genres next to their names.

A

Agoraphobic Nosebleed, also Grindcore

B

Bad Acid Trip, also Thrash Metal

Bastard Noise

Black Army Jacket, also Grindcore

C

Capitalist Casualties

Ceremony, also Punk

Charles Bronson, also Thrashcore and Thrash Metal

Code 13, also Thrash Metal and Punk

The Color of Violence, also Death Metal and Mathcore

Combatwoundedveteran, also Screamo and Grindcore

Crossed Out

D

Diamonds, also Punk and Mathcore

Despise You

Dropdead, also Anarcho-Punk

F

Fuck on the Beach

G

Glassjaw, also Neo-Progressive Rock and Mathcore

H

His Hero Is Gone also Crust Punk

I

Infest, also Thrash Metal, Straight Edge Lifestyles

In/Humanity, also Emo and Screamo

Iron Lung, also Grindcore

L

Lack of Interest

Lärm, also Thrash Metal and Grindcore

The Locust, also Noise Rock and Mathcore

M

Magrudergrind, also Grindcore

Man is the Bastard, also Noise Rock and Punk

N

No Le$$

O

Orchid, also Emo and Screamo

P

Pissed Happy Children, also Thrash Metal

R

Ringworm, also Thrash Metal and Metalcore

Rorschach, also Metalcore and Heavy Metal

S

Siege, also Punk and Heavy Metal

Spazz, Sludge and Grindcore

Suffering Luna, also Crust Punk and Noise Rock

Swallowing Shit, also Anarcho-Punk

T

Throats, also Extreme Heavy Metal and Grindcore

Trash Talk, also Crust Punk

U

United Nations, also Experimental Rock and Screamo