Open the Pit With Cro-Mags, Judge and the Best Hardcore Instrumental Intros Ever
Somewhere in the neighborhood of the late ’80s, the concept of hardcore bands having an instrumental introduction to get their set started worked its way into the proceedings. Not only did this act give the frontman ample time to get in a few deep breathing exercises before commanding the stage, but it also got the crowd stirred up into a frenzied mob before the band launched into their first anthem of the night.
Zap yourself into the present day, and the intro is considered de rigueur for any and all units that are worth their salt in the hardcore scene. A good hunk of the time, we find these vocal-less bangers so amazing in all their hypnotizing fury that we wish they’d never end. If you feel us on this somewhat loose-ended theory, please feel free to tag along on this Crash Course as we offer up some stomp-worthy intros that we fantasize could be as endless and fulfilling as the appetizers at our favorite family-oriented chain restaurant.
CRO-MAGS, “We Gotta Know”
Within the first minute of Cro-Mags' debut LP, The Age of Quarrel, New York’s hardest band constructed the intro archetype that every band has strived for since the album’s release in 1986. With its gritty dynamics and crushing force, “We Gotta Know” proves to be the benchmark for which all hardcore intros should be judged.
LEEWAY, “Rise and Fall”
There was a fable about a buddy of a buddy of mine who had a mixtape in his shitheap car that only contained the first minute of this track, which opens up Born to Expire, the premiere full-length from Astoria, Queens’ pride and joy, Leeway. Although this entire track is a certified monster, we can’t blame dude for his actions, as this intro has been the catalyst for some of the most frightening dance floor mayhem we have ever witnessed in our lifetime.
FLOORPUNCH, “Intro / Changes”
It’s no secret the Jersey boys in Floorpunch distilled the best elements of NYHC to create a sound that was both reverential and revered. For further proof of this statement, gander no further than the opening track from their debut 7”, Division One Champs, for an intro that packs a wallop as forceful as frontman Mark Porter’s left hook.
WIDE AWAKE, “Last Straw”
Although many considered the Connecticut straight-edge hardcore scene of the late ’80s to be a bit too whitebread for its own good, neither meathead or edge kid can deny this rousing intro delivered by Nutmeg State quartet Wide Awake.
These Queens boys laid out one of the best tapes to come from the NYHC demo flood of the late ’80s. Outburst’s combination of covert metal moves and organic hardcore muscle is so spot-on that it’s no surprise it’s been covered many a time by present-day Dallas metal thrashers Power Trip.
SICK OF IT ALL, “G.I. Joe Headstomp”
Hey, what do you know? Yet another hard-as-hell intro barreling at us from the fertile moshing ground of Queens! But unlike the steady and hefty chug of the other intros listed here, Sick of It All's “G.I. Joe Headstomp” pivots between breakneck speed and violent rhythm to give you the best of both worlds.
PULLING TEETH, “Weeds”
When Baltimore behemoths Pulling Teeth spat themselves onto the world with their brutal debut 2006 full-length, Vicious Skin, they kicked it off with “Weeds,” a relentless throb of an intro that most definitely has been the soundtrack to more than a few melees in the pit.
WARZONE, “Intro Bust”
In the monumental avalanche of New York hardcore full-lengths, Warzone’s debut, Don’t Forget the Struggle, Don’t Forget the Streets, is one of the most essential of them all. As iconic as the record from which it comes, this twisting and careening intro most assuredly brings the house down.
JUDGE, “Take Me Away”
A lot of people never expected Youth Crew alumni John Porcelly and his band Judge to deliver such a mighty, metal-tinged intro as this one. But they did, and in doing so, provided many a sweatshirt-donning kid a chance to dance, dive and have some fun to this driving assault of an track.
Not only did San Diego’s Mizery put out one of the heaviest albums last year with Absolute Light, but they also gave us one of hell of an enthralling intro with “Paramatman,” a crunching lurch that’ll have you raking your face and clearing the dance floor in no time.