Hardcore Techno

Hardcore Techno is essentially the Darker and Edgier version of Techno, although some people argue that it has evolved into a separate genre of its own. It's generally a genre with a fast tempo, very powerful basses, and a preference for atonal samples and beats. The genre was inspired by the sinister and slow New Beat that was made in Belgium by Praga Khan and others. Most of it comes from Western European countries like The Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Italy and The UK; some comes from Japan. It had it's heyday in the mid to late nineties when the more commercial lighter and softer Happy Hardcore sound charted like crazy.

Like with all genres of electronic music, there's tons and tons of subgenres and artists (with numerous aliases).


  • Speedcore
    • Hardcore on steroids. 300 bpm is at the lower end, some songs top 1000 bpm. The bass drum can become so fast that it becomes a tone, and unless it's Japanese there are typically very few melodic or even musical elements. Example: Moby - 1000.
  • Gabber (Oldskool and Nuskool)
    • Fast tempos (150-200 bpm), distorted, pounding bass drum driven rhythm and use of the Roland Alpha Juno sound. During the nineties it used to be simple and straightforward, with the sole goal of making you go crazy; nowadays it is much more elaborate. When it has lyrics, they are usually nonsensical in old school gabber, whereas in nu-style they are often about drugs, fights, violence, police scuffles, often feature samples from American rap and hip-hop, and use many swearwords. Western techno fans simply call it "hardcore" — the "gabber" moniker is more common among fans of Japanese techno. Example: Bertocucci Feranzano - XTC Love (old school), DJ Paul Elstak - One day we kill em all (nu-style) NeLIME - Codename: Zero (nu-style but with old-style Indecipherable Lyrics)
  • Crossbreed
  • Frenchcore
  • Happy Hardcore
    • The Lighter and Softer form. Still fast, but the bass drum is less pounding, the music is notably more "happy" sounding (uses major keys a lot), occasional use of piano, and vocals frequently sound like they have been inhaling helium, with lyrics about subjects such as love, partying or the love of partying. Example: Blümchen - Boomerang.
  • Mákina
  • Freeform/UK Hardcore
    • Evolved from Happy Hardcore. A bit less childish, uses supersaw more, makes many remixes of pop songs. Nightcore is a derivative of this and happy hardcore.
  • Darkcore/Terrorcore
    • Darker and Edgier hardcore, basically. Faster (200+ bpm), more low pitched sounds, less melody.
  • Noisecore/Industrial Hardcore
    • Hardcore fused with noise music. Bass drum driven rhythm is still there, but there are few melodic elements, and harsh samples are frequent.
  • Digital Hardcore
    • Hardcore fused with Hardcore punk. Take Hardcore punk vocals and lyrics, and merge with Gabber instrumental elements.
  • Hardstyle
    • Like gabber, but slower, happier and more upbeat, with a cleaner and more "booming" sound. Usually begins with a rhythmic part, then a melodic part, then ends with another rhythmic part. Really loves the "hoover" sound; the lyrics are usually about drugs, sex and party. Showtek - Freak!
  • Breakcore
    • Hardcore that changes beat every 2-4 seconds, giving the sense of a jumbled yet coherent chaos. Usually takes rhythms from other genres, especially drum and bass. Example: BOB the Builder - Words
  • Schranz
    • Hardcore with a very great emphasis on rhythm, usually with a very powerful, fast and rolling beat with scratchy, heavily distorted loops and precise drum fills in between song movements. Melodies are brief and repetitive, often consisting of mininalistic stabs (akin to big room house) or short but fast synth runs. Primarily German. Example: this live session from Fernanda Martins.
  • J-core
    • Japanese hardcore techno, of any of the aforementioned genres, but usually with a greater emphasis on melody. Still a very much niche scene dominated by doujin circles who sell their stuff at Comiket, or indies composers who make music for rhythm games. Often features sound samples from anime. Also has influenced some foreign artists whose works can be perfectly classified as j-core despite not being Japanese, like Argentinian producer Shingo DJ. Examples: xi - Freedom Dive (happy hardcore) moro - ppppyyy (UK hardcore), RedOgre - Zelkova (speedcore), moro - A one of mathafucker (gabber), moro - akatsuki (hardstyle), siromaru + cranky - conflict (schranz), LeaF - Calamity Fortune (happy hardcore/makina)
  • Touhou j-core

Notable Artists