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Written by: Boxcar Willy
Published: 22.11.2013

Powerviolence is a fun genre. A lot of people don't think it's just noise or just bad music, but this form of aggressive punk has many different layers, whether it be slow and doomy, or fast and full of rage. I'd like to take the time to go through the genre, and recommend some things to some of you that might be a little wary on it.


What is powerviolence? To answer this question, we must travel back to ancient Greece. The year is... yeah, whatever. Powerviolence is a form of hardcore punk. It's very closely related to grindcore, and is generally lumped into that crowd. While sharing many similarities, powerviolence has several unique features: extremely fast and short songs (generally under 1 minute), aggressive, incoherent vocals, blast beats, and groovy d-beat fills. Originated by bands like Infest, Man Is Bastard and Stapled Shut. The term was coined by Infest guitarist Matt Domino, and was first referenced by Man Is Bastard in the early 90's. Here's a great representation of the sound.

Lo-fi, gritty fun.


First things first: Being so closely related to punk, powerviolence has develop the same do-it-yourself mentality that many a punk band have attained. Many bands release demo cassettes handmade in the vocalist's mom's basement or whatever. They self-fund everything from tours to t-shirts. The self-funding is a major reason why I like to support the underground bands of this already underground genre. Buying a Children Of Bodom shirt really doesn't help them out too much (as if they need more money), but spending $10 on a cassette, shirt and a 7" from a band that's just trying to make it from Portland down to San Diego really helps them out, and it'll make you all warm and fuzzy inside.

Here's a perfect example: Cerce


Handmade CD-Rs, funding their own tour: DIY perfection.


Another popular powerviolence trend is the vast amount of split EPs and albums. While I'm not in a grindcore band (thus I do not know the true meaning of the split album) I'm going to assume a few things about it. Feel free to bitch at me if I'm wrong.

1. The main reason I think splits occur is to cut cost. Making albums physically and even digitally costs money. Lots of money. More than your average punk has. Spreading out that cost between several members from different bands really helps elevate the costs

2. Another reason I have is that splits offer wider promotion. You buy one CD, vinyl, or whatever, and you get two bands. They get their name out, you get a CD with two bands. Win-win.

3. The final reason why I believe splits are heavily produced within the powerviolence scene is that the music is short. It's always been. If you look at Infest or Charles Bronson LPs, some were as short as 10 minutes. Two bands combining full-lengths equals one actually full full-length. It's rocket science, I know.

Here's a cool one: Henry Fonda | Burt



OH YES THE GIRLIES, SO MANY GIRLIES. Powerviolence is home to many a female member. While mostly being limited to vocals, there is a heavy female presence in powerviolence. In a male-dominated genre, I find this to be a big breath of fresh air. Some of these members include...

Here's Avry from Cheap Art.



Powerviolence, just like many underground and obscure music scenes, relies heavily on the fans to spread the word. That being said, here are a few bands and labels that produce some quality stuff.


Hygiene Records -


To Live A Lie Records -

These are definitely my top three favourite. Please take the time and support these guys. Great owners from all three. From each label specifically, check out:

Hygiene - Cheap Art
WOOAAARGH - Gets Worse
To Live A Lie - Magrudergrind


Cheap Art

Female led aggressive music. Heavy, and unforgiving. 404 FASTERCORE.

Bandcamp Check it out.


More aggressive, face pummeling violence.

Bandcamp link for the split with Entendeu (free download).

Gets Worse

No a big fan of the vocal work, but damn this is heavy. Yet another WOOAAARGH release.


Many, if not all, of the bands I stated earlier also have Bandcamps, Facebooks or AOL accounts. A quick online search will find you all you need!

And there you have it; a half-assed collection of a brief history of the genre, and my stupid ideas towards it. Hopefully I've intrigued you enough to check it out.


Guest article disclaimer:
This is a guest article, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.


Comments: 4   Visited by: 124 users
22.11.2013 - 08:35
Cynic Metalhead
Paisa Vich Nasha
Still missing *major genre of it all, Whorecore.

i love that genre and have occupied "pretty" goods under it.

Not biased but if you go by from popularity index, people going fucking crazy over it.
22.11.2013 - 18:53
Account deleted
Still not seeing the difference between it and regular grindcore.

Is it just more hardcore-based than the other?
22.11.2013 - 18:56
Troy Killjoy
Written by Guest on 22.11.2013 at 18:53
Is it just more hardcore-based than the other?

I don't wanna speak for the author here, but I'll add my two cents. The way I've understood it, powerviolence is grindcore, only if grindcore focused more (or in some cases, exclusively) on punk as a primary influence.
"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something."
12.12.2013 - 17:36
Moises DMS

Magrudergrind, Sylvester Staline, Hatred Surge, Hellnation rules!!!

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