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Stylistic origins Oldschool jungle, industrial
Cultural origins Early 1990s, United Kingdom
Typical instruments Synthesizer, drum machine, sequencer, sampler
Derivative forms Drum and bass, darkstep
(complete list)

Darkcore is a music subgenre of jungle (not be confused with the more recent developments of hardcore) that became popular in the United Kingdom. It is recognized as being one of the direct precursors of the genre now known as drum and bass. Darkcore was a counter movement to happy, which also evolved from breakbeat hardcore. The name was most likely derived from the track "Darkcore" by Two Dark Troopers, released on Basement Records in 1993.[citation needed]


Darkcore is characterized by layered breakbeats at around 150 to 160 bpm combined with very low frequency bass lines. There are also dark-themed samples such as horror movie theme music, or cries for help. As the style evolved, the use of horror elements was dropped as producers relied more on simple effects such as reverb, delay, pitch shifting and time stretching to create a chaotic and sinister mood.

The Panacea deejaying in 2006.

Notable artists[edit]

Many of the British hardcore and junglist DJs of the day dabbled in darkcore for a time, mostly around its heyday in 1993, but some of the more notable DJ/producers of darkcore include:

Significant releases[edit]

The 1993 CD release Hard Leaders III - Enter The Darkside contains many popular darkcore tunes of the era.


Today, darkcore is used to describe the entire array of breakbeat producers and DJs who work within the 160-190+ BPM tempo range. Its current configuration, darkstep, is notably different in quality and process availability as the modern drum and bass elements are included.

See also[edit]


  • Reynolds, Simon, Energy Flash: A Journey Through Rave Music and Dance Culture (Picador, 1998). ISBN 978-0330350563
  • Discogs - Top 100 Darkcore Hardcore 92-95