Heroin (band)

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OriginSan Diego, California, United States
Years active1989–1993
LabelsGravity Records
Associated acts
Past membersMatt Anderson
Scott Bartoloni
Ron Johnson
Aaron Montaigne

Heroin was an American hardcore punk band formed in San Diego in 1989 within the underground Californian punk scene. They released 18 songs before breaking up in 1993, pioneering a style of music later described as screamo.


Heroin was a pioneer of the screamo genre. They were noted for the psychological intensity of their songs, which tended to be very short and include extraordinarily fast drumming and screamed vocals.[1] Heroin only released a handful of vinyl EPs and singles, primarily on San Diego record label Gravity Records; the group's debut 7" was also Gravity's first release.[2] These releases were typically packaged in enigmatic ways, such as a sleeve silkscreened onto a Ralphs paper grocery bag.[3] A complete discography was later compiled on the Heroin CD in 1997, also issued on Gravity.

The band split in 1993 after its members decided amicably to move on to other projects.[3] Members went on to play in groups such as Antioch Arrow, Clikatat Ikatowi, and Second Story Window; vocalist Matt Anderson also worked with A Minor Forest, Mohinder, and Angel Hair. Matt and Scott even played in the legendary San Diego punk/hardcore band, Battalion of Saints from 2005-2008.

Posthumous legacy[edit]

Though the group was active for only four years and received little attention during the band's actual lifespan, the release of the Gravity compilation, as well as later accolades, resulted in their receiving considerable posthumous acclaim. Geoff Rickly, lead singer of Thursday, named Heroin as one of his major influences.[3] Allmusic called the group "one of the defining innovators in early '90s hardcore".[2] In 2008, Alternative Press named Heroin as a group of significant interest in its profile of "23 Bands who Shaped Punk", writing that "Heroin never received overdue credit for inspiring the aesthetic that Story of the Year, From First to Last and others eventually took to the bank."[3]

Emo subculture and history website Fourfa describes Heroin's self-titled LP as "A wall of furious, chaotic noise, vocal-chord [sic]-shredding screaming, lyrics of ultimate disillusionment and pain, and just the right amount of melody to pull things together without interrupting the flow of angst."[4]




  1. ^ Heroin at Epitonic.com
  2. ^ a b Paul Kott, Heroin at Allmusic
  3. ^ a b c d Aaron Burgess, "Heroin" in "Blood Runs Deep: 23 Bands Who Shaped Punk". Alternative Press No. 240 (July 2008), p. 126.
  4. ^ Fourfa's Hardcore Emo Top Ten