33 Straight Edge Records of 2022 You Might Have Missed (Edge Day Special)

It's the Edge Day again and we've prepared a list of recent straight edge records you might have missed.

Edge Day, October 17th, is an annual celebration of hardcore music founded by straight edge people in the United States in the late ’90s to show their true commitment to the drug free lifestyle. Fast forward to today, and we have gigs and special events celebrating Edge Day all around the globe.

For me, Edge Day has always meant a great opportunity to show that straight edge is an international phenomenon that is still thriving with a lot of new bands, releases, fanzines and a firm belief in the DIY ideals and politics espoused by the broader hardcore punk scene.

2022 is great for the straight edge scene. Syracuse, NY’s legends Earth Crisis released a new EP called Vegan For The Animals and Kentucky’s straight edge powerhouse Inclination will release their new album Unaltered Perspective later this week. In this list article, I’ll focus on an even larger number of releases than the similar articles I wrote for previous years, since I really want to give a platform to more straight edge bands far and wide, even the ones that I don’t really like that much music or lyric-wise.

It’s also a great way to show all those haters that the straight edge scene is here to stay.

1 Moral Law – The Looming End

Moral Law – The Looming End

I’ve been following Denver, Colorado’s vegan straight edge formation Moral Law since the early days of the band and I was really excited about the release of their debut full-length The Looming End earlier this year. Prior to the album release date, the band signed with the legendary California label New Age Records, which made the excitement about this record even greater.

When the record finally dropped in April, I was immediately thrown into a vortex of thoughts and emotions due to the band’s uncompromising sound and politicized lyrics. The edge metal revival has been going on for quite some time, but there’s rarely a band like Moral Law to bring a really fresh take to the genre, while exploring a variety of topics throughout the process. In these eleven tracks, the band is using their consistently heavy breakdowns, death metal influenced riffs-galore and the powerful voice of vocalist Alex Morales to speak about the environmental destruction, class war, police brutality, heteropatriarchal gender roles and ultimately writing the lead single “Abolitionist”, which is the best vegan hardcore song of the decade.

The Looming End is undoubtedly my favorite straight edge record of the year and it fills my heart to see a whole new generation of bands reviving a scene dear to heart.

2 Berthold City – When Words Are Not Enough

Berthold City – When Words Are Not Enough

Los Angeles hardcore pack Berthold City formed in 2017 by members of Strife, World Be Free, Internal Affairs, Allegiance and more. For the past five years the band has become a household name of the current USHC scene, with a string of short EPs released through their vocalist Andrew Kline’s own WAR Records label.

When Words Are Not Enough is Berthold City’s first full-length, released in March 2022 with a multitude of formats and exclusive variants. The LP builds upon the already established sound of the band and shines through its 12 songs with flawless hardcore production, incorporating various elements of the hardcore punk canon. There are songs that are more upbeat and melodic, songs that are harder and heavier, and there are faster youth crew influenced songs.

When Words Are Not Enough is an album that will appear to a wide range of hardcore fans, but it’s great that all members are still holding on to the straight edge label too.

3 Clava – Sudaméfrica

Clava – Sudam​é​frica

When I hear the words straight edge and Brazil in one sentence, I always think of the massive sound and fierce political lyrics of Point Of No Return and Confronto.

Hardcore punk has always been a potent force for social change in South America and Rio De Janeiro’s Clava continue on the tradition of putting the straight edge into a meaningful social context in their country. Contender for the straight edge record of the year, Clava’s Sudaméfrica consists of seven really diverse and dynamic songs sung in Brazilian Portuguese. Paying homage to their forebears, the sixth song “Pedra” is a Point Of No Return cover.

It’s really great seeing the band getting a well-deserved international recognition thanks to No Echo’s lengthy article about Clava. I can’t recommend this band enough.

4 Contention – Summer Offensive EP

Contention – Summer Offensive EP

Florida has been blooming with hard-hitting hardcore and straight edge bands for a while now, but Tampa’s Contention have been an undisputed favorite of mine since their self-titled demo in 2019 and the phenomenal Laying Waste To The Kingdom Of Oblivion EP released in the late Summer of 2021.

Their Summer ‘22 promo doubles on their straight edge aggression and H8000-fueled metal brutality with four more songs, including a furious Indecision cover. Hands down one of the best straight edge bands in years, fingers crossed a full-length is soon to come.

5 Caged – A Prison Built To Slowly Die

Caged – A Prison Built To Slowly Die

Bologna’s Caged is another unapologetic vegan straight edge band we’ve been following at DIY Conspiracy since the beginning of their career. Their upcoming debut full-length A Prisons Built To Slowly Die will be the freshest release from Ugly & Proud Records and sees Caged further entrench themselves within the ’90s metalcore sound that was also popular in their native Italy with bands like Reprisal, Purification, Sentence, From The Dying Sky, etc., but If there’s one band that I could compare Caged in both sound and attitude to, that has to be Brazil’s Point Of No Return. While Caged tick all boxes in terms of razor-sharp metallic riffs, punishing breakdowns and consistently-urgent vocal delivery, they’re also pushing the envelope a step further with their fierce political message.

Caged are not only singing about the important issues in the world, but they are also authentically involved in the current struggles for liberation.

6 Brave Out – World’s Rot

Brave Out – World’s Rot

In my previous reviews of Japanese youth crew bands like True Fight I’ve stated that it’s always been interesting to me how Japanese bands manage to represent the classic Youth of Today-inspired sound with such great precision.

Osaka’s Brave Out make no exception and their World’s Rot LP released in July 2022 by Brave Out’s guitarist Takasago’s label Fired Stomp Records stands out as one of the best youth crew records of the year. The sound of the band is clearly inspired by the youth crew revival sound of bands like The First Step, Mindset, Praise, etc., blended with some great melodic guitars not unlike Shelter. World’s Rot artwork looks great, the LP’s production is some of the best I’ve heard from a band outside of the States, and the songs stick out with exceptional songwriting and originality for the genre. 

7 Escalate – The Damage Is Done EP

Escalate – The Damage Is Done EP

I’m not sure if everyone reading this can pronounce Escalate’s hometown Veszprém right, but they surely speak the language of unrelenting vegan straight edge hardcore in a way that will make you break your nose in a moshpit.

This Hungarian band is vehemently opposing all forms of oppression and abuse towards non-human animals and their latest EP is a certified ripper. Their raw and chaotic style somehow reminds of the Left For Dead side on their legendary split with Acrid, but in the case of Escalate with even heavier breakdowns and mosh potential. If you haven’t listened to this record already, here’s another reminder to check it out. Escalate’s demo tape has also been pressed on a limited 7-inch vinyl recently and they really deserve all the hype!

8 XweaponX – Weapon X Demo

XweaponX – Weapon X Demo

What’s up with a whole demo consisting of songs about straight edge? This Louisville, Kentucky band features members of some of the most respected and passionate straight edge bands in the last couple of years and came into the scene with the only purpose of making a bold statement that straight edge is alive and kicking. They are quick to explain that “this is passion driven by rage” and make their point across through unrelenting, punishing sound. I’m usually not the biggest fan of these ninja moves, ignorant moshing and spinkicks at hardcore shows, but this is a straight edge band to make you let it all out. It’s fucking great if you like that kind of stuff. Straight Edge. Weapon X.

9 Arma X – Violento Ritual

Arma X – Violento Ritual

Madrid’s Arma X begin their unholy rites on debut full-length Violento Ritual with a song called “Heavy Straight Edge”. In their case, “heavy” means setting an uneasing atmosphere with gravel-growling vocals in Spanish, sung from the bottomless pits of hell, on top of a raw and violent sound drawing from a large pool of influences, ranging from NYHC, Clevo-hardcore and OG beatdown like Bulldoze to the Japanese “Burning Spirits” classics.

If you are into Integrity’s Humanity is the Devil while still caring about straight edge and international hardcore bands, then Arma X Violento Ritual is a must have!

10 Abstain – Infirm of Purpose EP

Abstain – Infirm of Purpose EP

Abstain has to be one of the most canon straight edge band names out there and I’m pretty sure there must be at least a few other SXE bands named like that. However, I know of only one other Abstain, coming from LA, who actually played pretty standard grindcore and had the mandatory splits with Nasum, Agathocles, and Unholy Grave.

But whatever, this Abstain comes from the cult San Diego scene and walks proudly in the footsteps of its mighty forebears Unbroken. Here, in Eastern Europe, we call style the “chugga-chugga” hardcore. Following a 2021 demo, Infirm of Purpose is Abstain’s latest EP and consists of five epic straight edge anthems, chock full of chugging riffs and determination. So expect 14 minutes of groovy metallic riffs, tough-as-nails breakdowns and passionate vocals, mouthing the right message. The first track is even called “Straight Edge Hymn”! Quite an epic work here.

11 Enact – S/T

Enact – S/T

Portland, Oregon’s straight edge quartet Enact came into our radar with a powerful two-song Promo EP in 2021, but it wasn’t until their self-titled record was finally released in May 2022 when I realized how amazing this band truly is.

Fast parts, energizing two-step sections, memorable hooks and heaps of uplifting melodies, while still maintaining a strong foothold on writing meaningful lyrics about social justice issues, straight edge and living a compassionate life. These eight tracks will pump you up with energy, surely hoping to see the band live. This is the kind of positive hardcore that will inspire you leave a better world to future generations.

12 Anklebiter – Demo 2022

Anklebiter – Demo 2022

Though not being my most played band this year, Anklebiter is probably one of my favorite bands on this list. Coming from the Northeastern part of the United States, Anklebiter features four youngsters playing passionate hardcore with a refreshing sound that truly stands out from the rest of the crowd. The four songs on their Demo 2022 are short, energetic and catchy as fuck. They are aggressive, yet really melodic.

Being straight edge head-to-toe, Anklebiter wears their influences on their sleeve, though they are anything but your generic youth crew band. The artwork is super cool as well, somehow reminiscent of xBishopx.

13 Envision – And Still… EP

Envision – And Still… EP

South Florida’s Envision released their latest EP And Still… in the end of March 2022. The band features Lennon Livesay on drums, who you might remember as the singer of Ecostrike. Other members of Envision played in bands like Moment of Truth, Seed of Pain, and xELEGYx.

While both Ecostrike and Envision are ’90s inspired straight edge bands, their songwriting approach is a bit different. In contrast to Ecostrike, where Lennon writes in-your-face songs about straight edge as basically the most important thing in the world, Envision’s singer Alfredo takes a more nuanced position, writing from personal and emotional perspective. This is also evident in Envision’s music, which doesn’t strictly abide to the tough guy straight edge canon. Their sound is still heavy, but it has evolved and transcended into a more accessible form of hardcore that could bring potential new listeners who might not be into band members’ other projects.

14 xUntold Sufferingx – Promo 2022

xUntold Sufferingx – Promo 2022

Another militant vegan straight edge metal band from the UK coming with the force of a sledgehammer in full swing. Animal liberation and veganism are their vantage points as the band’s name suggests. Their crushing 2021 demo was a stampeding beast, and now they are signed to the absolute best The Coming Strife label. I could only hope that a full-length is coming soon. Blistering, massive riffs meet mammoth death metal drumming and urgent, pissed off vocals. I especially love the typical British accent on the spoken parts of their songs.

TLDR: This is fucking massive.

15 xDELIVERANCEx – The Ultimate Sacrifice

xDELIVERANCEx – The Ultimate Sacrifice

I have always been staying away from Christian metalcore and wholeheartedly think that bands like Underøath, Zao, Death Star or Bleeding Through truly suck. On the other hand, Christian theology has always been a huge influence, though more in an allegorical way, for straight edge and vegan metalcore acts, even in greats like Earth Crisis, Catharsis, and Undying.

The Ultimate Sacrifice is Birmingham, UK’s band xDELIVERANCEx debut for The Coming Strife Records, and it is an instant edge metal revival classic. xDELIVERANCEx, however, is an explicitly Christian band, referencing the Bible to bolster their vegan straight edge and environmentalist stances. I don’t know what to think about this record as it’s crushingly good music-wise, with absolutely flawless metallic riffs, uplifting melodic passages and demolishing breakdowns, and I’m sure the Christian faith shouldn’t be reserved for and weaponized by patriarchal and homophobic right-wingers. Members of xDELIVERANCEx also play in many other progressive thinking bands from the UK and I hope they don’t hold any of those controversial stances regarding body autonomy, sexuality or gender expressions like many religious bands from the past.

16 xapothecary – Promo / Edification EP

xapothecary – Promo / Edification EP

Another metallic hardcore band from the UK with lyrics revolving around their uncompromising vegan straight edge ethics. The band follows on the footsteps of the other UKHC bands like xUntold Sufferingx and xDELIVERANCEx mentioned above, but their music is much more diverse, incorporating a lot of chaotic hardcore elements that remind of the Bremen hardcore scene in the ‘90s (Acme, Carol, Mörser) or more contemporary bands like xELEGYx.

Both their three-song Edification EP and two-song promo were released in 2022 and I can’t wait to hear something longer in length by this awesome XVX band.

17 Final War Records

Final War Records

Okay, I’m breaking the rules a bit here. I had initially wanted to include a release from the recent Final War Records catalog but it was really difficult to pick just one record, so I’ll just go on giving a shout out to the label itself. Final War Records is a young label from Germany, dedicated to the political vegan straight edge scene worldwide.

The label’s roster includes bands like Contact (Virginia, US), Prison of Hope (Germany), xRisalex (Turkey), Escalate (Hungary), Final Day (Scotland). At the time of writing, the label just signed with a new metallic hardcore band from Malang, Indonesia, called Day of Salvation. They’re doing a great job of releasing more obscure and socially-conscious vegan straight edge bands, because, as it’s evident from this list, the scene doesn’t start and end with Earth Crisis and those other bigger names.

18 Cherish – Your Suffering EP

Cherish – Your Suffering EP

Cherish is a straight edge band from Sydney, Australia, who released their debut EP earlier this year. The band follows on the footsteps of Have Heart, Miles Away, and The Effort, but fueled by political, queer-positive and sharply uplifting lyrics. This EP is one of the best finds of the year and it’s great to see it being re-released by Life. Lair. Regret. Records.

With some excellently written songs and great lyricism, Cherish really came into the spotlight on this one. Great music and attitude!

19 CLEARxCUT – Songs of Desire Armed

CLEARxCUT – Songs of Desire Armed

For the uninitiated, CLEARxCUT is a vegan straight edge band based in Germany but consisting of immigrants from different parts of the world. Their latest full-length Songs of Desire Armed takes their sound a step further with decent production quality and a nostalgic sound that takes the listener back to the classic ‘90s straight edge hardcore blended with the early 2000s Equal Vision/Trustkill melodic metalcore sound. To make things stand out from the crowd, they also put a dash of neocrust and post-metal epicness into the mix. The cover artwork features the most famous painting called Under the Yoke (Burning the Brushwood) by the Finnish artist Eero Nikolai Järnefelt from 1893, and the name of the album comes from the post-left anarchist magazine Anarchy: Journal of Desire Armed. The album’s lyrics revolve around various strains of anarchism, feminism, radical ecology and indigenous struggles.

The defining theme of the album, however, is “Hope” and how we should not give up fighting the good fight, despite the desperate times we live in. I really like this record and I’m stoked it finally came out in 2022.

20 SPARK – Supernova

SPARK – Supernova

SPARK’s debut LP Supernova appeared within our Straight Edge galaxy just a few days ago, but I’ve been listening to the album with great enjoyment several times ever since. Following on the heels of their promising demo and a split EP with Belgium’s Chain Reaction, Supernova features ten songs full of youthful energy, passion and intensity. Music-wise, it’s been well-fed by the favorite sound of all US straight edge classics you can name, from the youth crew foundations to the more refined tunes of the ’00s era like Set It Straight, The Suicide File, and Go It Alone. Along with the new CLEARxCUT LP, this has to be one of my favorite German releases this year.

21 Point of Contact – Vengeance EP

Point of Contact – Vengeance EP

Point of Contact is a straight edge band from Tampa, Florida, whose members have been involved in the aforementioned Contention and heaps of other hardcore projects. Their latest four-track EP called Vengeance was released just recently in September 2022, although all songs were written during the pandemic in 2020; they were just recently finished with lyrics. The songs this time are not about straight edge, though the band is still straight edge as fuck, but about personal struggles, heartbreaks and being unheard in a world that turns a blind eye to most problems.

Vengeance is one of the hardest hitting hardcore EPs of the year, whether you’re straight edge or not.

22 xBurnedx – Bien Cuit EP

xBurnedx – Bien Cuit EP

In the last few years Belgium has remained on the edge metal & hardcore map with bands like xDevourx, Invictus, and xDragnetx.

Longstanding European label Ugly & Proud Records is keeping an eye on the current Belgian scene for sure, and recently released a debut five-song tape of a newer band called xBurnedx, featuring members of countless bands from the last decade. The five tracks on this EP are seething with anger and discontent, setting a rotten world on flames. The vocals are harsh as hell and the band draws from a lot of metallic influences, while still keeping the tracks as short and violent as it gets. It’s a definite winner.

23 Distante – Cada Acción Cuenta EP

Distante – Cada Acci​ó​n Cuenta EP

Every year I found out about new straight edge bands from Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires, and though Distante released their first demo tape only two years ago during the pandemic, their latest Cada Acción Cuenta EP is a huge leap forward for the band. As with many other straight edge bands, they don’t offer anything new in terms of sound and originality, but these six tracks are played with genuine passion and infectious energy. They don’t sing in English but the production is great and I’m sure their lyrics are also inspirational, coming straight from the heart. It’s the spirit of the youth crew revival sound the way it has to be.

24 PULSO – Enfrentamiento Total

PULSO – Enfrentamiento Total

Barcelona’s PULSO is a reincarnation of the well-known youth crew band Appraise. Enfrentamiento Total is their second LP and continues PULSO’s tradition of delving into the more melodic side of the youth crew sound (think of Better Than a Thousand, 7 Seconds, Instead). Nine catchy tunes for stage-dives and high-fives, lyrics in Spanish and slick production thanks to the mastering genius of the legendary Don Fury in New York.

25 Impacto – Promo 2022

Impacto – Promo 2022

Another Spanish band on the list! Impacto came from the capital Madrid with two great demos in 2018 to revive the classic youth crew hardcore, yet their songs are on the harder and more aggressive side of the familiar sound. The two new songs released in 2022 continue where their demos left off, but the title “Promo” is maybe a prelude to an upcoming full-length. Gonna be keeping an eye on this band for sure.

26 No Cure – …For The Stainless Steel EP

No Cure – …For The Stainless Steel EP

Alabama’s No Cure delivers a glorious thundering racket for the cleanest minds among the metalheads, blending hefty amounts of punishing hardcore with the thickest old school death metal. No Cure‘s ironclad riffs, pounding breakdowns and vicious vocals that cut as sharp as a stainless steel razor blade will more than likely satisfy anyone into the most vicious metalcore with zero frills or filler. The last track is a cover of Project X’s timeless classic… Death Metal Revenge!

27 Urgent Kill – Kill Your Habits EP

Urgent Kill – Kill Your Habits EP

Keeping the torch of the youth crew sound alight, Amsterdam’s Urgent Kill released their debut EP Kill Your Habits in June.

Featuring scene veterans from bands like Off My Chest and Up Yours, band members are not in their first youth anymore. Toni is a self-employed barber, always sporting the best haircut in hardcore, and the head of the long running posi-core label Positive And Focused Records, Matti is an assistant doctor in Philosophy at the University of Bochum, K-ci is a social worker, and Hans teaches social studies. What bonds them all together is their true love for the sound of bands like Chain of Strength, which they infuse with the modern touch found in the more contemporary youth crew revival scene.

Without any frills and pretence, Kill Your Habits is a refreshing take on the familiar sound.

28 Hour of Reprisal – Siege // of heaven EP

Hour of Reprisal – Siege // of heaven EP

According to the info blurb on Hour of Reprisal’s Bandcamp page, they are “Norwich’s only ever Straight Edge Band”. The band was formed in 2021 and released their second short EP in August 2022. The two songs on this EP are packed to the rafters with heavy moshing breakdowns, technical riffs and gruesome vocals cutting through the mix with mammoth power. Really short yet solid UKHC release, repping the straight edge values with huge determination.

29 Protijed – Jediné, na čem záleží, jsou stopy lásky, které tu po nás zůstanou EP

Protijed – Jedin​é​, na čem z​á​le​ž​í​, jsou stopy l​á​sky, které tu po n​á​s z​ů​stanou EP

Featuring the singer of Czech straight edge legends Balaclava, Protijed is a political vegan straight edge band from Prague with raging ‘90s-inspired metallic riffs and a bit of crust punk and Bremen hardcore influences thrown into the mix. Their debut LP Stres was released in 2019 and I guess they played shows mainly in Czechia. Their latest EP, whose title translates in English to “The only thing that matters are the traces of love that will be left behind”, came out on Mayday this year and features four tracks with guest appearances of other Czech musicians on each song. If you miss bands like Germany’s Zann, this could be right up your alley.

P.S. If you wanna listen to more contemporary Czech straight edge hardcore, check out Lifelike’s S/T EP, released in 2021.

30 Remain – DEMO22

Remain – DEMO22

German straight edge band Remain came onto the scene with a self-released demo in April 2022 and played a handful of shows in Germany, Hungary, and Denmark. The demo starts with the typical intro/bust, followed by four songs that are short, sweet and full of in-your-face hardcore energy. The sound of the band is influenced by the likes of Project X, Floorpunch, and Bold. If you like that stuff, you may also want to check other newer youth crew bands from Germany like Tides Denied, Lifesize, Fragment, and more.

31 Rage of Despair – Constant Failure EP

Rage of Despair – Constant Failure EP

Straight Edge Hardcore from West Java, Indonesia. The band features members of many other local bands and play a type of hardcore with fast metallic riffs and moshing breakdowns that sounds very American. Think of bands like Down To Nothing, Terror, and Hoods. It’s a pretty standard hardcore that doesn’t shine with a lot of originality, but it’s always great to see straight edge bands from places like Southeast Asia. The last track is a Minor Threat cover.

32 Aspire – Back To Ashes

Aspire – Back To Ashes

For the uninitiated, Aspire is a longstanding straight edge band from the currently war torn Ukraine. The band has been around for decades and is valued as one of the first bands to bring the modern straight edge sound and NYHC influences to the post-Soviet scene.

Their latest album Back To Ashes (Обратно к пеплу) was actually released in 2021, but I’ll still put it in this article as the Ukrainian scene obviously hasn’t produced a lot of new releases this year. I was really excited when the album came out and immediately messaged the band to use a song for DIY Conspiracy’s straight edge compilation that came out last year. In my opinion, it’s one of the best Aspire records to date and definitely an album that should be listened by hardcore kids worldwide.

33 Corrupt Vision – “X YOURSELF UP” EP

Corrupt Vision – “X YOURSELF UP” EP

Yeah, I can keep this article going on with ten more generic youth crew or metal af vegan straight edge bands until exhaustion, but I chose to conclude with a straight edge band that made the unusual artistic decision to incorporate (anti-) ska influences into the mix.

Corrupt Vision’s “X YOURSELF UP” EP consists of only three songs but they hooked me with an unusual blend of breakdown-heavy East Coast Power Violence (No Comply, Asshole Parade, etc.) and the so-called Crack Rock Steady sound of bands like Choking Victim. What makes this record a real gem, however, is the second track which is actually a cover of Coke Bust’s “Fuck Bar Culture”. It’s one of my all time favorite straight edge songs and hearing a rendition of the song with those ska influences in the middle of the songs threw me on the floor in an instant. Amazing!

Bonus:

Youth Crew 2022 (Compilation)

youth-crew-2022-coverThe international youth crew compilation series have become a staple for the straight edge community since its first edition came out in 2008.

This time the seven-inch release dubbed Youth Crew 2022 features eight short but sweet and straight to the point tracks from bands like Distante (Argentina), Urgent Kill (The Netherlands), VAXXX (California, USA), Stations (Germany), Iron Deficiency (France), One Step At A Time (Belgium), Last Gasp (Ohio, USA), and Alive Inside (Austria). It’s available starting today as a joint release between Positive And Focused, Patient Zero, Youth Authority, and Seven Oaks Records.

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