Punk music fans will definitely want to check out this list of the 10 best hardcore bands. Whether you were an east coast, west coast or Washington D.C. punk, chances are that you were stomping and slamming to these cult classics. Even if you’re new to the genre and want to check out some great classic punk sounds, you don’t want to mess out on these punk rock staples.  These are the best hardcore bands of all time.

  1. Bad Religion: One of the longest-lived and best hardcore bands of the ’80s was the Southern California punk band, Bad Religion. Infusing a mixture of hard rock, heavy metal and psychedelia with their righteously angry lyrics, they helped define hardcore music despite substance abuse problems and band reformatting. Check out “Back to the Known” for some great hardcore tunes.
  2. Dead Kennedys: If you’re looking for the best hardcore bands, look no further than Dead Kennedy’s. Gaining popularity for their hit “Holiday in Cambodia,” they were a staple in any hardcore punk’s diet. If you haven’t heard them yet, listen to them now.
  3. Minor Threat: One of the best hardcore bands to come from Washing D.C. was the straight-edge band, Minor Threat. Showing the punk kids that it was alright to be punk AND sober, they released great singles like “Straight Edge” and “Minor Threat” before the lead singer moved on to form well-known indie rock band Fugazi.
  4. Misfits: Some may debate whether or not it’s right to classify the Misfits as one of the best hardcore bands, but they were certainly not without their following, even if they did keep you guessing as to what genre they were really trying to fit into. Any one of their songs will send you on a trip, though their song “Hunting Humans” is always a popular choice.
  5. Circle Jerks: Founded by Black Flag vocalist Keith Morris and Greg Hetson, the guitarist from Redd Kross, the Circle Jerks brought hardcore to the surfers and skateboarders of Hermosa Beach. One of the featured bands in “The Decline of Western Civilization,” they were one of the best hardcore bands of the west coast, mixing hardcore and humor in an infectious mix.
  6. Angry Samoans: One of the first bands of the hardcore movement, this L.A.-based band brought thrashing music to clubs, schools and even mental institutions throughout the U.S. With charming song titles like “They Saved Hitler’s Cock” and “Tuna Taco,” their satirical brand of music launched them into infamy.
  7. Black Flag: Mixing punk rock, heavy metal, jazz fusion and even some bohemian poetry was common for the post-punk band Black Flag. Considered to be the definitive hardcore band by many, they were innovative and refreshing, always keeping fans on their toes. Check out “Family Man” for a real mind trip.
  8. Fear: Formed in 1977, it wasn’t until 1982 before this L.A. hardcore band produced their first album, though they did release the single “I Love Livin’ in the City” back in 1978. Usually performing at live clubs throughout the L.A. area, Fear raised eyebrows when comedian John Belushi got them a guest spot on “Saturday Night Live” in 1981.
  9. Minutemen: One of the most diverse of the best hardcore bands, the Minutemen bridged the gaps between punk, folk, funk and jazz, all while maintaining a tour schedule that would have driven most bands to sheer exhaustion. For some of the best hardcore songs, check out their second album “What Makes a Man Start Fires?”
  10. Bad Brains: Perhaps one of the strangest bands to make our list of the best hardcore bands would have to be Bad Brains. Mixing reggae with punk music, they were considered one of the best American hardcore bands of the ’80s and gained a considerable following. Their debut single “Paid to Cum” was only pressed in limited numbers but quickly gained the band a cult following.  

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