In Defense of the Genre is a column on BrooklynVegan about punk and its many offshoots, including and often especially the bands and albums and subgenres that weren’t always taken so seriously. This list looks at some of the genre's most over-the-top, theatrical, and often intentionally obnoxious albums.
With the continued rise of bands like SeeYouSpaceCowboy, .gif from god, Wristmeetrazor, For Your Health, Portrayal of Guilt, Kaonashi, The Callous Daoboys, p.s.you'redead, Omerta, and other similar artists, there's been a renewed interest in the 2000s bands who laid the groundwork for this current wave of over-the-top hardcore. Bands like these get called chaotic hardcore, mathcore, sasscore -- some more accurately than others -- but there really isn't a clear-cut subgenre that these bands fall into. They're often as fast as grind/powerviolence but more tuneful and unpredictable, heavier and more sneering than screamo but more emotive than metalcore, as twitchy as post-punk but as caustic as post-hardcore. Synths are often used just as prominently as guitars, and bright melodies are often juxtaposed with discordant noise. A lot of different-sounding bands fall all across this spectrum of music. What ties them all together, though, is that almost all of them sound frantic, sarcastic, theatrical, shapeshifting, and often intentionally obnoxious. As a way of doing a deep dive into this "genre" -- which primarily existed in the 2000s before its recent comeback -- I've put together a list of 25 2000s albums that fit this description and feel influential and/or worth revisiting today. Some of these bands have also reunited and/or made comebacks in recent years. Two of them in particular have recently undergone drastic reinventions and have given their careers a second life, and in cases like those, it's always fun to revisit the early days after seeing how they'd transform later on.