Hardcore Techno

Primary Stylistic Influences:
Secondary Stylistic Influences:

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 distinguishable from its parent genre by a faster tempo, very powerful bass, 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. The genre originated from Western European countries like the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Italy and the UK, as well as occupying a very strong scene from Japan. Hardcore techno had its heyday in the mid to late nineties when the more commercial lighter and softer Happy Hardcore sound spread to popularity.

Like with many other genres of Electronic Music, there's many different kinds of subgenres and artists (with numerous aliases).


  • Speedcore
    • Hardcore on steroids. Speed is the main emphasis for this subgenre, with a tempo going 300 BPM at the lower end, and even as high as 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)
    • With 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 very fast, but the bass drum is less pounding, the music is notably more "happy" sounding (achieved through the use of major keys), occasional use of piano, and high pitched vocals that 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 synths 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, and 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

  • 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 partying. 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

  • Touhou j-core

Notable Artists