8. Dirty Rotten Imbeciles (D.R.I.) – Dealing With It: D.R.I. are “balls to the walls.” Using super fast riffs mixed with breakdowns–slow, rhythmic chugging riffs–they were the first band to fuse hardcore/punk with metal to create the crossover genre. Their songs featured tirades against the Reagan government, religion, and society, capturing the ‘80s youth mentality superbly.
7. Blood For Blood – Outlaw Anthems: These boys always manage to bring the ruckus. They seamlessly mix old-school hardcore with breakdowns and elements of Oi! (a sub-genre of punk rock). Lyrically, they’re the most anti-social band on this list. Most of their songs are about drinking and being poor, but especially how much they hate society.
6. Bad Brains – Bad Brains: Bringing a musicianship not previously seen in punk rock, this Washington, D.C. foursome had the first and best album mixes, blistering fast hardcore/punk with reggae songs. Their positive lyrics really set them apart from the rest on this list. These Rastafarians have a sound and style all of their own.
5. Los Crudos – 1991-1995 Los Primeros Gritos: This all-Latino band from Chicago are the most political band on this compilation. They sang all their songs in Spanish with English translations inside their releases as a way to break down racial stereotypes. With a raw sound coupled with even rawer emotion, Los Crudos were about making immigration legal to all, destroying homophobia and ending injustice.
4. Black Flag – Damaged: Damaged is pure fury. This L.A. band sang about feeling isolated, alienated, and how pissed they were living in Reagan America. Including hit songs like “Rise Above,” “TV Party,” and “Depression,” listening to this record makes you want to kick holes in the wall.
3. Agnostic Front – Victim In Pain: These New York hardcore legends may have taken a few steps back in the past couple of years, but their first album captures the anger of growing up poor in New York City during the early ‘80s. Simple and fierce, Victim In Pain is the record that put New York hardcore on the map.
2. Millions of Dead Cops (M.D.C.) – Millions of Dead Cops: Extremely anti-cop, anti-capitalist, anti-racist, and pro-gay, MDC’s first full-length album is a non-stop assault against 1980s American society. Fast, raw, and angry doesn’t even begin to describe this album.
1. Minor Threat – Minor Threat: From the opening track “Filler,” Minor Threat’s first album perfectly captures the rage and aggression of marginalized youth that forged the hardcore/punk movement. Singing against conformity, drug use, and being stupid, Minor Threat invented and embodied the DIY mentality. Every song on this record is a classic.