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Powerviolence (sometimes written as power violence) is a chaotic and fast subgenre of hardcore punk which is closely related to thrashcore 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 predecessors, it is usually socio-politically charged and iconoclastic.


Siege are considered the pioneers of powerviolence.[2] Additionally, Infest have received credit for having an early impact on the genre.[3] The microgenre solidified into its commonly recognized form in the early 1990s. This is best exemplified by bands such as Man Is the Bastard, Crossed Out, Neanderthal, No Comment and Capitalist Casualties. Powerviolence groups took inspiration from Siege, Hüsker Dü, 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.[4] The label's Fiesta Grande was an annual powerviolence festival held at 924 Gilman from 1993 to 2000. The label 625 Thrashcore (founded by Spazz drummer Max Ward) started a similarly themed festival in 2003, called Super Sabado Gigante.

While powerviolence is closely related to thrashcore (often referred to simply as "thrash"), it is markedly different from thrash metal in both sound and approach.


While the term powerviolence originally included a number of stylistically diverse bands, it typically refers to bands who focus on speed, brevity, breakdowns, and constant tempo changes. Powerviolence songs are often very short, with some lasting less than twenty seconds. Groups such as Man Is the Bastard, Plutocracy, Azucares, and No Le$$ took influence from progressive rock and jazz fusion.[5]

Powerviolence groups tend to be very raw and under-produced. This is true of both their sound and packaging. Some groups (e.g. 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 and Charles Bronson, on the other hand, wrote lyrics mocking points of interest for hardcore and metal fans. Their lyrics often consisted of inside jokes that referenced specific people, many of whom were unfamiliar to those outside the band.

Other groups associated with powerviolence included The Locust, Dropdead, Black Army Jacket, Hellnation, and Rorschach.[6] The doom metal group Burning Witch (who released music on the Slap-A-Ham label) often played shows with powerviolence groups.[7]

Legacy and influence[edit]

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 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, Stapled Shut, etc. Weekend Nachos, Nails, Magrudergrind, early Ceremony, Hatred Surge, Mind Eraser and Full of Hell are considered contemporary powerviolence acts.[8][9][10] When Eric Wood from Man Is The Bastard was asked in 2021 about the new Powerviolence bands he answered:

I'm not at all interested in something that doesn't exist any longer. Power Violence took its last breath the day Shawn Elliott of Capitalist Casualties passed away, period. These silly fuckers who will remain nameless that "claim" Power Violence need to look in the mirror and start their own sub-genre...[11]


Emoviolence is a fusion genre that combines elements of powerviolence and screamo. Common characteristics shared by emoviolence bands include screamed vocals, blast beats, extensive use of amplifier feedback, and small elements of melody. The term "emoviolence" was jokingly created by the band In/Humanity,[12][13] and bands commonly associated with the term include Orchid,[14] Usurp Synapse,[15] Jeromes Dream,[16] and Pg. 99.[17]


  1. ^ Butler, Will. "Bastard Noise". Don't be Swindle. 1: 21.
  2. ^ ROA, RAY. "Spit to release short, sweet, debut album alongside Shitstorm at Tampa boxing gym". Retrieved August 14, 2019.
  3. ^ Preira, Matt. "Six Reasons Why Infest Might Be The Most Hardcore Band Ever". Miami New Times. Retrieved April 27, 2017.
  4. ^ n/a (February 14, 2012). "An Oral History of Powerviolence". lioncitydiy.blogspot.com. Lion City DIY. Retrieved February 14, 2012.
  5. ^ Ivers (March 20, 2008), Brandon (March 20, 2008). "What Is It?: Powerviolence". xlr8r.com. XLR8R. Retrieved April 28, 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  6. ^ Andrew Marcus, "Buzz Clip", SF Weekly, August 6, 2003. [1] Archived October 12, 2012, at the Wayback Machine Access date: August 7, 2008.
  7. ^ Slap-a-Ham Discography. [2] Access date August 11, 2008.
  8. ^ Preenson, Richard (March 2018). "What Even is "Thrashcore" Anyway?". Thrown into the Fire. Retrieved March 4, 2018.
  9. ^ MacRae, Meghan (December 21, 2016). "CVLT NATION'S TOP SEVEN POWERVIOLENCE / GRINDCORE RELEASES OF 2016". Retrieved March 4, 2018.
  10. ^ Lake, Daniel (May 23, 2017). "Full of Hell: Extended Interview". Retrieved March 4, 2018.
  11. ^ Jongh, Daniel de (March 7, 2021). "BASTARD NOISE Interview". Discipline Mag. Retrieved May 7, 2022.
  12. ^ n/a (October 15, 2012). "Interview with Chris Bickel, vocalist of In/Humanity". yellowgreenred.com. Yellow Green Red. Retrieved April 28, 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  13. ^ Jason Thompson (June 15, 2008). "CIRCLE TAKES THE SQUARE is in the studio". PopMatters. Retrieved May 18, 2011.
  14. ^ Greg, Pratt (September 22, 2010). "Altered States, Grindcore Special part 2". Terrorizer (181). United Kingdom: Miranda Yardley: 43. Another interesting sub-subgenre was this strange crossover of first-generation emo and grind. Bands like Reversal of Man or Orchid may not have stood the test of time, but it was a pretty cool sound at the time and one that was pretty uniquely American
  15. ^ Morris, Kurt. "Usurp Synapse – Disinformation Fix". AllMusic. Retrieved May 7, 2017.
  16. ^ n/a (February 8, 2014). "Noisy Sins Of Insect – Discography Review". diyconspiracy.net. DIY Conspiracy. Retrieved May 7, 2017.
  17. ^ Tiernan (July 15, 2015), Jack (July 15, 2015). "Starter Kit: Screamo/Emoviolence". heavyblogisheavy.com. Heavy Blog Is Heavy. Retrieved May 7, 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)