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Music / Rites of Spring

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Rites of Spring is a Hardcore Punk / Post-Hardcore band created in 1984 and ended in 1986 with members Guy Picciotto (guitars/vocals), Eddie Janey (guitar), Brendan Canty (drums), and Mike Fellows (bass). They are the ones to thank for the creation of the most divisive of all sub-genres, Emo.

Coming out the Washington, D.C. hardcore movement, Rites of Spring wanted to challenge the violent scene with melodic riffs and intensely personal lyrics. Picciotto wasn’t afraid to put his heart on his sleeve, and the band themselves were known for their explosive, energetic performances which amounted to only 15 shows during their tenure. But their only album, the self-titled Rites of Spring, proved influential for thousands of disaffected kids. The band and album garnered a following that would morph into Emocore, a label hated by all involved at the time.


Guy Picciotto and Brendan Canty would later join another influential post-hardcore band, Fugazi with Ian MacKaye and Joe Lally.

Kurt Cobain listed Rites of Spring on his top 50 favourite albums of all time.

Rites of Spring Track-list:

  • “Spring”
  • “Deeper Than Inside”
  • “For Want Of”
  • “Hain’s Point”
  • “All There Is”
  • “Drink Deep”
  • “Other Way Around”
  • “Theme”
  • “By Design”
  • “Remainder”
  • “Persistent Vision”
  • “Nudes”
  • “End on End”


For Want of Tropes:

  • The Cameo: "Persistent Vision" definitely has Ian MacKaye doing background vocals.
  • Careful with That Axe: Especially on “End on End”.
  • Harsh Vocals: It sounds like Guy seriously hurt his vocal cords while recording the album.
  • Indecipherable Lyrics: Picciotto is always a little hard to understand.
  • Mohs Scale of Lyrical Hardness: Generally on a 7. There's a reason why they were called "emocore".
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: A 5 since they're on the more melodic side of things.
  • One-Book Author: Only one full album was ever recorded by the band.
  • Three Chords and the Truth: As is the way with most hardcore bands, Rites of Spring were all about the three chords, but three melodic chords.
  • Take That!: One could argue that the whole band could be a "take that" to the hardcore scene in general. In 1983, hardcore had become a violent mess of macho-posturing. Rites of Spring decide to write emotionally personal songs that are about love and life, not how hardcore they were.
  • Self-Titled Album: They only released one studio album, and it was rereleased as End on End which included the All Through Life EP.
  • Shout-Out: The band name is an obvious reference the famous Igor Stravinsky ballet symphony, "The Rite of Spring".
  • Surprisingly Gentle Song: “All Through Life”…well, soft enough for hardcore.


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