Influential Group Think

When I reflect on my own youth and adolescence, there are a couple things that make me feel nostalgic; riding a bicycle is the first and music second. When I hear a certain song or listen to a record in full I can transport myself to my childhood bedroom where I spent most of my time drawing and listening to my boombox that had a CD book next to it. Could this be a shared experience? While doing some self-reflection deep into a stimulant binge that may have gone on too long, I was faced with the question, “Would my adolescent self would be proud of my young adult self? During my formative years, I would daydream about how I would like my future to be. I wanted to be smart, successful, and authentic because if there is one thing my mother taught me it was always to stay true to what I believe in. Finding hardcore music only amplified this lesson.

I have effectively elevated my personality through what I learned from being involved with DIY music and the hardcore music scene but it goes without saying I have been influenced by larger musical efforts as well. But, alas, I must pay my respects to the scene and I would give my life for the ‘core. Reflecting on records that have impacted and influenced me the most was a moderately easy task because I think about music every day, so I decided to call in some reinforcements to share their lists with me to round this out and present my community’s group efforts.  I sent out a majority of my messages very late and with a short, strict deadline. In groups, or with too much time to deliberate, I think people tend to tailor their answers for credibility points or clout or to present themselves as being of high taste. This format keeps people on their toes and I think it will prompt more off-the-cuff and genuine answers. Less group think, more individualism.

I’m from Phoenix, Arizona
5) Last Wish – Demo 2016
4) Unified Right discography
3) Metallica – S/T (the black album)
2) Hum – Downward is Heavenward
1) Earth Crisis – Destroy the Machines

Alexis from South Florida
He didn’t provide direction on order.
Tension – Agent of The People
Mental – Get An Oxygen Tank
Prayer For Cleansing – The Rain In Endless Fall
Floorpunch – Fast Times…
Righteous Jams – Rage of Discipline

Dave from Massachusetts
5) Negative Approach – Tied Down
This is just the best hardcore record ever written.  I feel the same way about Rampage – Limit Of Destruction, so they can both have this spot.

4) Julian Lennon – Help Yourself
Warning, this is not a hardcore record and if you are triggered by non-hardcore records: get a life!  I was introduced to this album recently but it’s been in my rotation because it’s so dope and meaningful.

3) Have Heart – The Things We Carry
Another early hardcore record for me that helped me balance out my blood for blood anger with some posi (Death Threat – Peace and Security could also take this spot).

2) Blood For Blood – Revenge On Society
The first hardcore record I heard , obviously influential on a youngin’. This is one of the best and angriest hardcore records of all time.

1) Green Day – Dookie
The first CD I ever bought at the age of 9 from a tag sale and my introduction to punk music it’s just sooooo good.

Some unwanted honorable mentions include:
Tom Petty – Into The Great Wide Open
Neil Young – Harvest
Underdog – Vanishing Point
Red Hot Chili Peppers – Blood Sugar Sex Magik
Unified Right – Straight To Hell… 

Keith from Jacksonville, Florida
No order.
Big L – Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous
Turning Point – It’s Always Darkest….. Before The Dawn
Foundation – Hang Your Head
Slowdive discography
Trapped Under Ice – Big Kiss Goodnight
Honorable mentions – Backtrack

Jalen from McAllen, Texas
5) Stop & Think- Both Demos
4) Fugazi – In On The Kill Taker
3) One Last Wish – 1986
2) Youth of Today – Break Down The Walls
1) Morrissey – Your Arsenal

Honorable mentions include:
xFilesx – Discography
Title Fight – Shed
Give – Singles Going Confetti
SSD – Get It Away
Mental – Planet Mental

Augie from South Florida
He did not specify an order
The Replacements – Let It Be
Agnostic Front – Victim In Pain
Celtic Frost – Morbid Tales
Bob Dylan – The Basement Tapes
Judge – Bringin’ It Down

Jalen from Atlanta
5) The Sundays – Reading, Writing, Arithmetic
Have you ever been in love?

4) Duster – Stratosphere
Fun thing to do with this record..start from the beginning and play it without stopping! Then do it again!! Aaron Loreth skates to “Echo Bravo” in the first 917 full length. Highly recommended!

3) Bold – Looking Back
Revisited this record this year and it’s gotta be this band’s finest hour. Lyrically relating to me in the heat of my 20s, these 7 songs keep the past in mind but recognize that now is the time to think for yourself and move forward. Also, who can deny Tom Capone on this record? SHREDDING.

The greatest rapper to ever do it, and one of the top producers out there. On his first proper record, MF DOOM managed to create a timeless bunch of tracks that will forever be in my rotation.
“Obviously dead bent, and spent every red cent to rule you, and still drop more jewels than schools do-Or even TV news that’s designed to fool you-Yeah you, who hear the most grimy suggestions-From brothers with fly names and I.D. questions”

1) Bad Brains – ROIR
I have a feeling that anyone who listens to this record either gets it or doesn’t. You either get it and you need more immediately or you don’t and you continue living your life as a lame-ass square. Dangerous, visceral, RAW, and only gets better with time

Ben from Los Angeles
“The five most influential records on me. These are some of my favorites out there but I in no way think these are the greatest 5 records of all time, I feel like people use the words best and favorite interchangeably which shouldn’t be the case. Some things are objectively good and you might not be as into them.” -Ben

Killing Time – Brightside
It’s the greatest NYHC record ever recorded. Every song sounds like New York, so mean and just raw. They have a very specific sound with a simplicity to it but somehow never get boring. The lyrics are straight forward and suit the music perfectly. Saw them at FYA and they are one of the few classic HC bands that still get it, and still have it. It was nuts.

District 9 – Schoolahardknox
If you don’t like or at least appreciate this record you simply have no concept of struggle. The songs tell stories which isn’t typical of a lot of HC. They’ll just have some insane heavy part followed up by some jumpy thing and completely get away with it due to how genuine they are. And I think that’s the way to describe D9, they are as genuine as it gets.

Taylor Mcferrin – Early Riser
The son of the great Bobby Mcferrin made one of the most beautiful records ever. Each track will take you on a different ride. Taylor really nailed his choices of who to get to play on this record. From a comparatively more simplistic but beautiful track like Decisions to a fucking explosion of amazing musicianship like Already There, this record goes in so many different directions and somehow maintains something common. It’s truly something special.

The Beatles – Revolver
Beatles haters be damned. They singlehandedly created modern sounds of music and their work still holds up as some of the best songwriting of all time. I was heavily exposed to them as a kid and I’m happy I was. Came close to picking Rubber Soul instead due to how much I’ve been feeling it lately but decided to go with the classic for me (as if they aren’t all classics for me lol)

System of a Down – Toxicity
My favorite record ever. The contrast of Serj’s singing with the music being played creates some of the most profound things you will ever hear. He commands with whatever he’s talking about, whether it’s something super real like Prison Song or something literally made up that makes no sense like Jet Pilot. I could talk about SOAD forever but i think I’ll just leave it with me saying this is the greatest record ever for me and i hope it can come close for you.

Patrick from San Antonio
5) Carry On – A Life Less Plagued
As I was trying to find my way through hardcore, this album appeared to me. There are lyrics in here that still strike a chord with me now the same way they did with young, “straight edge” me. The aggression, the angst, and the pain of letting go of something you care for – I felt it and still do.

4) Cro Mags – Age of Quarrel
For anybody that loves hardcore, metal, and punk, this album is an obvious inspiration. The blend between different genres is seamless, fun and chaotic all at the same time. It’s almost like it was made by a bunch of complete fkn weirdos…

3) Mercyful Fate – Melissa
Granted I can’t do falsettos, but King’s high pitched wails to mid tone snarl on Melissa is something I’ve tried master for my own band. Not only is King Diamond the coolest front man ever, but Shermann’s leads and melodies on this record are absolutely brilliant.

2) Wu-Tang Clan – 36 Chambers
Again, another perfect debut album from one of the most iconic groups to ever grace my life. I couldn’t get enough of how real and raw it all was. From the bass tone to the camaraderie to inflection on how certain things were said – I’m still hooked. To this day, my brother and I don’t agree with much, but we can still listen to this album together and have no qualms.

1) Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath
Realistically, I could just list the first 5 Black Sabbath albums and call it a day, but I’ll spare the cop out. That being said, Sabbath has to be number 1. For the sake of needing to an album, I’d say the self titled album, Black Sabbath. Not only is it the perfect introduction to a long wild career, but this is the first record that i can remember my dad showing me that actually stuck. I still get chills at the intro of The Wizard just like I’m hearing for the first time all over again. HUGE shout out to Master of Reality though.

Update 4/29/2020

Elliot from San Jose
5) Billy Bragg – Workers Playtime
If you want a record that you can listen to without skipping any songs this is the one. Genius songwriting, vocal melodies, and lyrics. Billy Bragg is one of the greatest of all time.

4) Templars – Phase Two
One of the first Templars records I really dove into and got hooked on. Something about the production just sounds so cool and all the songs are bad ass. A band with an insane amount of top tier releases this is just my personal favorite. Standout tracks for me are “Bonus Track” and “Waiting for the Blood to Flow”

3) Vanity – Vain in Life
Pure rock n roll the way it should be played. Not much I can say about this record other than that you should just listen to it all the way through. I’ll bury myself with this record.

2) Fugazi – 7 Songs
This was one of the first records I ever got my hands on and it came from my moms collection. Always got to shout her out for getting me into punk at an early age. This record is what started it all for me and I still love it to death.

1) Iron Cross – Skinhead Glory
One of the first real American Skinhead punk and Oi! Classic demo with the most insane tone ever. If I recall correctly the speakers were blown in one of the cabs during the recording process which is why it sounds so gnarly. Got a lot of songwriting influence from this band and still go back to it consistently. DC’s finest.

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