30 Straight Edge Records to Check Out for Edge Day 2023

It's Edge Day '23 and we've put together another list of recent straight edge records you might want to check out.

Marked annually on October 17th, Edge Day stands as a fun way to celebrate the straight edge subculture—an empowering idea rooted in the early 1980s hardcore scene, advocating a life free from alcohol, drugs, and tobacco (among other things). Born from the song “Straight Edge” by Minor Threat, the straight edge has grown from a personal pledge into an influential global subculture. This ethos, while centered around abstention from intoxicants, often extends into a broader spectrum of activism for social change, marking a life of clarity, commitment, and conscious choices.

Every Edge Day, I feel compelled to shine a light on some standout selections from the international hardcore circuit. My focus primarily leans towards the more political, DIY bands, especially those that reflect my own worldviews. I’ve often come across reviews of straight edge records by music reviewers who are not part of the hardcore and straight edge scene. While they discuss the musical aspects, there’s usually a glaring lack of depth when it comes to understanding the true essence and message behind the tunes. So, as a straight edge person myself, I hope to provide some much needed authenticity.

Before we delve into this year’s curated list, it’s worth noting the outstanding Straight Edge And Proud compilation LP launched recently by Ugly And Proud Records. This collection boasts 11 powerful tracks from seven contemporary straight edge bands from different parts of Europe, with vinyl records still up for grabs from the label.

As we move on to the list, it’s worth pointing out that while I’ve tried to cover a broad spectrum, there may be some notable records that I’ve overlooked. My musical tastes are eclectic and include more than just straight edge bands. However, the ones featured here have particularly resonated with me this year.

1 Magnitude – Of Days Renewed​.​.​.

Magnitude – Of Days Renewed​.​.​.

Magnitude’s already staked their claim as a top gun in the straight edge hardcore scene, and Of Days Renewed… is another hammerblow cementing that legacy. Sure, it rides the same wave of fury as To Whatever Fateful End, but somehow this record rages even harder, locking them in with back-to-back straight edge anthems. Don’t even get me started on their kick-ass demo and EP. Their sound is dripping with that bold, ’90s hardcore swagger—chunky grooves and amped-up two-step sequences are their bread and butter. Though the latest offering’s a tad too shiny and produced for my punk heart, there’s no denying Magnitude’s towering presence. They’ve already carved out a monumental legacy, they’re heading straight for the hardcore hall of fame, right alongside the legends that wore thick X’s on their hands before ’em.

2 Power Alone – Nothingness EP

Power Alone – Nothingness EP

Drawing power from the likes of Foundation, Morning Again, and Earth Crisis, California’s vegan straight edge powerhouse Power Alone slams you with headbanging breakdowns, savage divebombs, and metallic onslaughts that demand full attention. Frontwoman Eva Hall roars intensely, ripping into social ills and systemic rot with every note. While some bands get lost in self-indulgence, Power Alone delivers a hardcore punch to the heart of capitalism, religion, and the suffocating grip of industrial civilization. It’s raw. It’s confrontational. It’s a sucker punch of mosh-worthy anthems combined with a ferocity that begs for a fight. For Power Alone, there is no bending, no half measures. Their message is loud, clear and uncompromising.

3 Hour of Reprisal – A New World on the Ashes of the Old

Hour of Reprisal – A New World on the Ashes of the Old

Hailing out of Norwich, UK, Hour of Reprisal’s evolution has been nothing short of blistering since their first tracks appeared two years ago. Their debut album, A New World From the Ashes of the Old borrows its title from a quote often attributed to the fiery anarchist spirit of Buenaventura Durruti during the Spanish Civil War. Cramming seven tracks into just over 20 minutes, the album is a merciless display of hardcore power and ferocity. They come at you with a feral mix of relentless hardcore, spine-chilling chords, and scorching harmonics, topped with vocals that hit like a freight train. With standouts like “1312”, “Failed State”, and “Rat Nest”, it’s clear their crosshairs are locked on the UK’s dark underbelly, particularly the British police, who can’t stop themselves harboring racists, rapists, and fascist sympathizers. Think Doom’s Police Bastard, but cranked up with earth-shattering breakdowns and a fierce straight edge backbone.

4 Eyeteeth – State Funeral EP

Eyeteeth – State Funeral EP

Following their debut EP, Straight Edge Violence, Eyeteeth are back to forge a path of resistance with State Funeral. Unleashing six blistering tracks that meld their ferocious hardcore with powerviolence galeforce, each song is a stark reflection of their radical political ideas and the current wave of discontent in the UK. The guitars growl with metallic wrath, the drums explode in dissent, and the fierce vocals exude pure unadulterated revolt, dripping with venom and contempt for a system that is failing before our eyes. “We don’t come in peace. We come for vengeance.”

5 xapothecaryx – Purity of Flesh, S​(​p​)​oiled by Greed EP

xapothecaryx – Purity of Flesh, S​(​p​)​oiled by Greed EP

Joining the ranks of UK’s politically-charged straight edge bands like Hour of Reprisal and Eyeteeth, xapothecaryx ignite a veganarchist fervor with their debut EP, Purity of Flesh, S(p)oiled by Greed. Amidst the frenetic dance of hardcore and metal, the tracks paint a bleak picture of societal decay while also serving as a clarion call for animal liberation and queer emancipation. Guitars screech and roar, symbolizing the anguished cries of creatures and the oppressed masses. The last track “Patricide” is a blazing anthem of queer pride and rebellion, rising fiercely against the looming shadow of the right-wing reaction. Far from just another outcry in the socio-political tempest, this album resonates deeply with a robust stand on animal and human liberation.

6 Berthold City – A Moment In Time

Berthold City – A Moment In Time

Coming from a rich hardcore lineage that includes old dogs like Final Fight, Allegiance, Internal Affairs, and the iconic Strife, LA’s Berthold City is a beacon of hardcore authenticity. With riffs that ignite, drums that resonate, and lyrics that inspire contemplation, their latest album is both refreshing and a nod to the classic US hardcore sound. While the LP takes a cue from the standard set by their 2022 release When Words Are Not Enough, it brings its own unique brilliance to the table. True to their origins, A Moment In Time dances between upbeat melodies, weighty anthems, and fast Youth Crew-inspired rhythms, creating a well-rounded hardcore experience. Dive in and feel the energy!

7 Year of the Knife – No Love Lost (Promo)

Year of the Knife – No Love Lost (Promo)

Emerging resiliently from a horrific tour van accident near Salt Lake City that left the band members seriously injured, Year of the Knife marks their triumphant return with the much-anticipated album, No Love Lost, slated for release on October 27. Madison Watkins, the band’s vocalist, faced particularly severe injuries, including multiple broken bones and a traumatic brain injury, making her compelling debut on this album all the more affecting. Bassist Brandon Watkins remarked, “It’s Madi’s big debut, and she truly shines despite the odds.” Drummer Andrew Kisielewski, who himself navigated the challenges of multiple surgeries and months of rehabilitation, expressed his love for the album, stating, “It’s 20 solid minutes of pure YOTK passion.” As a testament to their collective spirit, every member poured their heart into the album’s creation, merging their individual influences into a sound that’s uniquely their own. The proceeds from No Love Lost will contribute to the band’s continued recovery. As YOTK stands resilient in the face of adversity, we send our heartfelt wishes for their full recovery and much love during this time.

8 Vantage Point – Against Myself (Promo)

Vantage Point – Against Myself (Promo)

Massachusetts Straight Edge crew, Vantage Point, is teasing the hardcore scene with two tracks off their upcoming album, Against Myself, set to drop on November 10th via hyped US label Triple B Records. The album promises nine raw cuts, echoing themes of self-forgiveness and personal introspection. Rewind a bit: these guys made waves starting in 2016 and have since delivered three notable EPs, with An Answer You Won’t Find from 2019 being the latest. Rooted deep in the Boston hardcore landscape, they’ve rolled with bands like C4, Chaos Cross, and Final Gasp. Taking cues from the likes of Inside Out, Turning Point, and Burn, we can anticipate a mix of introspective lyrics and abrasive beats. Can’t wait to see the final result.

9 Envision – The Gods That Built Tomorrow

Envision – The Gods That Built Tomorrow

Diving into Florida’s vegan straight edge scene, Envision took some time to grow on me. Yet with every step they’ve taken, they’ve upped the ante. Their latest album, The Gods That Built Tomorrow, is brimming with hardcore authenticity viewed through a fresh, compelling perspective. This crew has mastered the art of merging hard-hitting rhythms with intricate guitar work; it’s the kind of sound that grabs you and will not let go. This album is both a nod to their roots and a bold step into new territory. Blending heavy metal vibes with ’90s-style straight edge hardcore? It’s a wild mix, but they pull it off, placing this record in a class of its own.

10 Anklebiter – To Live and Withstand EP

Anklebiter – To Live and Withstand EP

Drawing inspiration from early Lockin’ Out Records and youth crew revival vibes, Anklebiter sidestep the macho clichés typically tied to hardcore. Their debut demo last June hinted at their potential, but To Live And Withstand is a game-changer. Kicking off with the dynamic instrumental “Northeast Straight Edge,” the record then detonates into anthems like “I Am…” and “Daredevil.” Despite the rapid-fire pace, each track is loaded with rich variety, infectious hooks, and melody. Lyrically, their words resonate with desperation, frustration, and sheer angst. Standing proud with X’d up hands, Anklebiter channel a spirit that’s simultaneously aggressive and welcoming. Theirs is a hardcore anthem—blisteringly fast, passionately angry, but radiating pure intent.

11 Decline – Broken

Decline – Broken

Chicago straight edge band Decline, with members from groups like Haunted Life, Expired Youth, and Bystander, has been delivering fist-pumping and anthemic hardcore since 2013. Steadfastly supporting the marginalized and oppressed communities, speaking out against injustices to both humans and animals, they’ve always made their message clear. After the buzz of their 2018 EP, Own Your Words, and a memorable West Coast tour, the Covid lockdown served as a creative interlude for the band. The outcome is their 2023 LP, Broken, launched by the iconic New Age Records. This album, offering eight compelling tracks alongside a notable screen-printed B-side, underscores Decline’s consistent sound and dedication to their cause. True to the essence of hardcore, Broken is a bold statement that the genre remains a political force, resilient and unyielding in the face of societal injustice.

12 Remain – End of the World

Remain – End of the World

I recently stumbled upon a punk rocker in a Facebook discussion group arguing about the conservative leanings and questionable politics of youth crew bands. While there may be a grain of truth to a handful of bands from the original youth crew era in the US who became Trump supporters in their mid-life crisis, this is hardly representative of the scene as a whole. On the contrary, modern youth crew-revival bands, such as Germany’s Remain, champion inclusivity and unabashedly confront injustice, whether in the hardcore scene or in the outside world. With six fervent tracks and cover art that echoes the vibes of the aforementioned Decline, Remain represent the youth crew spirit not only as a badge of self-worth and camaraderie, but also as a beacon of social liberation and unyielding support for the oppressed. Welcome to the progressive era of youth crew hardcore; not a passing trend, but the voice of a defiant generation.

13 Remain Sane – My Body is a Cage, My Mind Holds the Key EP

Remain Sane – My Body is a Cage, My Mind Holds the Key EP

Taking off as an international collaboration based on shared vegan straight edge ethos, Remain Sane brings together the hardcore prowess of Czech veteran Milan (Balaclava, Kovadlina, Protijed, among others) and Swedish dynamo Mattias (from the likes of Anchor, Gust, Disavow, among many others). Their maiden record comes via Coffee Breath Records, a Czech label which directs 100% of its sales towards benefit projects, highlighting their commitment beyond just music. This partnership ensures that the venture isn’t rooted in profit-making or mere nostalgia. Spanning four powerful tracks, the EP resonates with echoes of legendary groups like Drift Again, Shield, and Abhinanda. While the lyrics offer a depth of sentiment, “Who I Am,” the third track, emerges as a quintessential straight edge anthem, capturing the essence of their shared passion. This is more than music; it’s a statement of deep devotion and commitment.

14 xDEVOURx – Flowers of Fire, Walls of Water

xDEVOURx – Flowers of Fire, Walls of Water

Belgium’s metallic hardcore legacy, tracing back to the iconic H8000 scene, finds a powerful continuation in xDEVOURx. Their fresh offering, Flowers of Fire, Walls of Water, hits the mailorders via Ugly And Proud Records, reinforcing the band’s indelible mark on the current straight edge hardcore scene in Europe. Across ten tracks, the album serves up a rich blend of down-tuned metallic strings, reminiscent of heavyweights like All Out War, Arkangel, and Congress, all grounded by a relentless rhythmic pulse. The raw vocal delivery, paired with striking spoken word interludes, paints a grim canvas of looming environmental decay and societal fragmentation. As seasoned straight edge warriors, their message is clear: acknowledge, act, and stand up against the tide of complacency. XXX

15 Disavow – On The Verge EP

Disavow – On The Verge EP

From the heart of Sweden’s hardcore scene, vegan straight edge veterans Disavow have been delivering raw energy since their 2016 demo and the following year’s Half Empty EP. However, it was their 2019 full-length, paired with a European tour alongside Wake of Humanity and CLEARxCUT, that truly showcased their power. After a silence amplified by pandemic restrictions, Disavow has roared back with On the Verge, an explosive EP for a world on the verges of collapse. Within its four tracks lies a pent-up frustration, embodied through fierce rhythms and shrewd lyrics. This time, they’ve redefined the game—melding the intensity of straight edge hardcore with shades of powerviolence and a crusty undertone.

16 Cherish – Project XOXO

Cherish – Project XOXO

From Australia’s far-flung shores, the vibrant pulse of straight edge hardcore remains alive and kicking. I’ve consistently kept a watchful eye on the releases of Life. Lair. Regret., and queercore band Cherish have solidified their spot as one of my top picks from their impressive roster. Following their brilliant debut, Your Suffering, they’re back to impress with six compelling tracks in Project XOXO. This EP is a heartfelt quest for allies, social change, personal growth, and a vision of a better world for all. The journey kicks off with “Hope Against Hope” and hits a chord with their sharp non-binary and queer perspectives on the straight edge scene with “xReinventionx”, which evokes memories of Nick Riotfag’s iconic zine My Edge Is Anything But Straight. Culminating with the fiercely resonant “All The Pain”, this EP is a tightrope walk between raw intensity and a message of resilience and hope. While their distinctive sound warrants repeated listening, the lyrics standout as a testament to the passion that pulses through every note. “Take these X’s, reinvent them. Bent as the world we live in, broke as the ones who raised me. Out of shape in streamlined living, I got the queer edge it keeps on giving.”

17 Absolute Truth – Where Does It Start? EP

Absolute Truth – Where Does It Start? EP

From Chicago, Illinois, following the likes of Decline, comes another straight edge tour de force: Absolute Truth. Their latest EP, Where Does It Start?, radiates sheer hardcore authenticity, elevated by classic artwork and layout designed by Andrew Kline, known for his involvement with Strife, Berthold City, and as the mastermind behind WAR Records. While their music reverberates the spirit of seminal hardcore bands such as Inside Out and A Chorus of Disapproval, Absolute Truth doesn’t shy away from weaving in contemporary influences, reminiscent of bands like Down To Nothing, Carry On, and Backtrack. Their approach doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it’s refreshingly genuine and delivered with pure conviction. Comprising six fiery straight edge anthems, the EP crescendos with the band’s eponymous track, “Absolute Truth”, punctuated by defiant lyrics like “I refuse to die the death of a fool. I choose to live my life clean instead. I will always be straight edge!” What more could you ask for?

18 xWEAPONx / World of Pleasure – Split EP

xWEAPONx / World of Pleasure – Split EP

The collaborative prowess of xWEAPONx and World of Pleasure has culminated in a split EP that was one of the most ridiculously HARD-AS-FUCK releases in the straight edge realm this year. With roots in Knocked Loose, thanks to members Isaac Hale and Bryan Garris, and expanded by the talents from bands like Two Witnesses and Harm’s Way, xWEAPONx is an embodiment of raw, relentless, straight edge energy. Their contribution to the split starts fiercely with “Paid in Blood”, a track guaranteed to get your adrenaline surging. Another highlight, “Domination III”, is their homage to World of Pleasure, continuing the metallic legacy of its predecessors. Notably, Jess Nyx of World of Pleasure features prominently, this time chanting “Straight Edge domination”. Hailing from Calgary in Alberta, Canada, World of Pleasure, once a duo venture between Jess and Colter from Mortality Rate, has now blossomed into a formidable XVX band. Their opening track “World War X” is a testament to their signature metallic rifts and unyielding vocals, while simultaneously nods to xWEAPONx’s “People Like You”. Another standout, “Uzis Akimbo”, not only showcases the band’s affinity for gaming-inspired titles but is a lyrical nod to xWEAPONx’s “In Spite Of”, with a militant vegan twist. The ferocious intensity of this split EP is nothing short of electrifying. The combined might of both bands makes for one of the most fierce and hard-hitting releases of the year. A must-listen for anyone claiming the edge, now and forever!

19 xRISALEx / xINVICTUSx – Split EP


Blooming from the two radically different landscapes of Turkey and Belgium, xRISALEx and xINVICTUSx come together to set everything ablaze with their scorching split LP. xRISALEx, channeling Turkey’s historical complexities, offers a fierce blend of aggression through their tracks. They don’t shy away from confronting the shadows of the Ottoman Empire and the contemporary shackles of Turkey’s authoritarian regime. With four tracks that pulsate with anger and resolve, the band’s signature moment comes with “Laying Waste to Empires”, a rousing call for freedom, liberation, and autonomy. xINVICTUSx, on the other hand, is a blistering force of Belgium’s edge metal. Delivering five tracks that are as rapid as they are searing, the band tackles pressing topics from white privilege to haunting reflections on humanity’s uncertain path and the looming shadow of social and ecological devastation. Released in March 2023 by Ugly And Proud Records, this split may have been an under-the-radar gem, especially for those outside of the European straight edge circles. However, its impact is undeniable. Once you let the needle drop on this record, it commands attention, striking with the intensity of a speeding freight train. In these uncertain times, listen to this record as a searing political manifesto.

20 TRUExFEELING – In Decay (Single)

TRUExFEELING – In Decay (Single)

Coming hot off the heels of Bulgaria’s revived hardcore scene, TRUExFEELING remained a well-kept secret for a while, only to make a striking debut during the second day of DIY Conspiracy’s Mayday festival. Defining their sound as ‘brutal edge metal’, they’ve since played multiple shows across the country, reigniting strong fervor for straight edge and addressing issues of addiction and complacency within the scene. Their debut single In Decay dropped on the first day of May, with an additional exclusive track featured on the Straight Edge And Proud compilation by Ugly And Proud Records. As this piece is being published, anticipation is building for TRUExFEELING’s upcoming Edge Day show in Sofia. They’ll be joined by Sofia’s own xCHOKEx, another straight edge act promising uncompromising hardcore for the devoted. Sofia Straight Edge is back on the map!

21 No Cure – Straight Edge Die Slow Fuck You (Single)

No Cure – Straight Edge Die Slow Fuck You (Single)

After two intense EPs and touring with standout bands, Alabama’s No Cure have reignited the flame with a re-recorded version of “No Cure Straight Edge Die Slow Fuck You” from their 2022 EP, Cursed From Birth. This five-piece powerhouse seamlessly blends metalcore and hardcore with bold lyricism that staunchly advocates straight edge beliefs. Their commitment to this message has been evident since their debut single Laceration Divine in 2022, but this reworked track takes it up a notch. Lines like “Every drunk driver is a fucking target / Every car wrapped around a tree gets no sympathy” exemplify the band’s raw emotion, reminiscent of tracks like Body Count’s “Cop Killer.” The sheer force is amplified by sentiments like “So fuck your grieving family who will never find peace.” The confrontational lyrics stem from personal loss; the anguish and devastation caused by drunk drivers who have impacted their friends and family. This song is a fervent reflection of that anguish and its aftermath.

22 Cleansing – Throne of Misery (Single)

Cleansing – Throne of Misery (Single)

Finland’s Cleansing have released a new single in July 2023, solidifying their prominent position in the metallic hardcore landscape. Since their scorching 2019 demo, described as a “raw metalcore straight edge beast,” the band has been in the spotlight, garnering praise for music that brilliantly captures the essence of ’90s metalcore and diverse vegan straight edge influences. Their debut, released on German label Bound by Modern Age, showcased not only their musical ingenuity, but also their profound thematic depth. In 2020, Cleansing’s EP Dark Current presented an immersive blend of metal and hardcore, illuminating their edge-metal prowess while tackling themes of addiction and confinement. Their latest offering, “Throne of Misery,” sets the stage for their upcoming full-length debut, which is slated for a late 2023 release. The track, dripping with loneliness and angst, offers a tantalizing glimpse of an album that will focus on human vulnerabilities such as loneliness and addiction. Through it all, Cleansing continues to innovate while never wavering from their foundational ethos.

23 What Counts – Indiana Straight Edge EP

What Counts – Indiana Straight Edge EP

Hailing from the cities of Bloomington and Indianapolis, Indiana, What Counts proudly wave the banner of their home state with their debut EP, Indiana Straight Edge. A recent formation, this band has quickly made its mark since their inception earlier this year. While members have associations with other local outfits, the primary emphasis here is unmistakably on their straight edge attitude. Embracing the timeless youth crew blueprint, the EP unfurls over five energetic tracks, kicking off with a spirited intro echoing the band’s name. Influences span from iconic Lockin’ Out bands like Mental, Righteous Jams, and Justice to more contemporary acts. The band’s true brilliance, however, lies in their expert ability to blend nostalgic tones with an invigorating passion that shines through both their music and lyrics. While modern youth crew can often tread clichéd territory (and terrible vocals), What Counts rejuvenates its authentic spirit and ethos with a powerful determination.

24 Forewarned – Melbourne Straight Edge EP

Forewarned – Melbourne Straight Edge EP

Australia’s straight edge band Forewarned has delivered one of the year’s most overlooked EPs outside their homeland, and it’s essential to spotlight it here. The three tracks on the EP serve as blistering reminders of the intense delivery and dark overtones of bands like Excessive Force, Integrity, Torn Apart, and the mid-’90s metallic hardcore scene. However, I’ve got my concerns about their chosen band name. Not only do they share a name with a shitty Christian rock band, but they are also reminiscent of a US hardcore band whose straight edge singer turned out to be a sexual predator and abuser. Hopefully Forewarned will consider a name change for future releases and diversify their streaming platforms beyond greedy bastards like Spotify and Apple Music. Regardless, their Melbourne Straight Edge promo is tight as hell.

25 Accusation – Demo 2023

Accusation – Demo 2023

This year has witnessed a surge in outstanding hardcore demos, with Accusation’s 2023 demo surfacing as a pinnacle in the straight edge domain. Spanning a tight one to one-and-a-half-minute duration, each of the five tracks is a masterclass in fast and aggressive hardcore—brimming with mosh-worthy sections, fierce riffs, and rapid breakdowns. Those with an affinity for the Boston hardcore style—think of bands like The Boston Strangler, No Tolerance, and Stop And Think—will find themselves gravitating towards this gem. Brought to life by the UK’s esteemed Quality Control HQ and the deft recording skills of Tom Pimlott of the infamous Violent Reaction and Rated X, this demo is undoubtedly the straight edge revelation fans of the raw old school recordings were anticipating.

26 Dead To Rights – Demo 2023

Dead To Rights – Demo 2023

Glasgow, Scotland—a hotbed for fervent hardcore/metal with bands like Mourning, Despize, Demonstration of Power, and Hellbound, coalescing around the Northern Unrest label—Dead To Rights bursts onto the scene. Formed by members of these very bands, Dead To Rights mark their territory with a 2023 tape debut. Comprising five rapid and impactful tracks, the sound is reminiscent of mainstays like Right Brigade, Ten Yard Fight, Floorpunch, and the early echoes of Youngblood Records. While many have walked the well-trodden path of the genre, Dead To Rights’ demo stands as proof that it’s possible to breathe a new life into a classic formula. From the first breakdown to the last, this demo lands blow after blow, underscoring that straight edge remains a powerful force to be reckoned with.

27 Legendary Weapons – Demo 2023

Legendary Weapons – Demo 2023

Legendary Weapons, a new straight edge collaborative project, marks the union of talents between Sky Page and Davis Driver. Sky, once renowned for his drumming in the Northwest Hardcore scene with esteemed bands like Cutting Through and Safe and Sound, embarked on a new musical journey following his move to Omaha, Nebraska in 2019. Swapping drumsticks for guitar picks, his fresh endeavors led to the riveting sounds that now define Legendary Weapons’ demo. Davis experienced a similar trajectory, being known for playing bass in Life Force, but lended his voice to the project following his relocation to Portland, Oregon. The tracks are deeply reminiscent of iconic bands such as No Tolerance, Brotherhood, and Straight Ahead—with the latter even earning a cover in their demo. Comprising four explosive tracks, the demo is a testament to old-school hardcore’s enduring spirit, infused with a contemporary, unyielding determination.

28 No Better Way – Demo

No Better Way – Demo

Hailing from Orlando, Florida, No Better Way burst onto the scene in 2023 with their high-energy demo. Comprising three tracks, each song stands as a testament to their unwavering commitment to the straight edge ethos. Fans of classic Revelation Records and Youngblood Records bands will find familiar echoes in these songs, yet No Better Way’s deft musicianship and sweet production make them stand out. Vocally, there are subtle shades reminiscent of Have Heart’s seminal The Things We Carry, adding another layer to the band’s sound. Though brief, this demo makes a bold statement. No Better Way is certainly one to watch, and they’ve secured a spot on my radar for the future.

29 xADHERENCEx – Demo 2023

xADHERENCEx – Demo 2023

Bearing the unmistakable mark of straight edge bands with X’s framing their name, San Francisco’s xADHERENCEx have made a thunderous debut with their 2023 demo. Consisting of five tracks, the demo showcases a powerful blend of nail-biting breakdowns and robust metallic riffs that embody the very essence of aggressive, uncompromising hardcore. It’s hard to miss their commitment, when the words “straight edge” echo in almost every song, save for the instrumental interlude. While xADHERENCEx does delve into slower, heavier beatdown sections, they truly shine when the tempo ratchets up. The vocalist, with his venomous delivery atop rapid and ruthless riffs, makes it clear: xADHERENCEx is here with a message, and they can’t be ignored. “Straight edge I still believe”

30 xCAMBIARx – Demo

xCAMBIARx – Demo

In the vast sea of international hardcore releases, there are those that transport you to a different time, and Mexico City’s youth crew xCAMBIARx does just that. Listening to them takes me back to a time when I was eagerly flipping through xeroxed zines, seeking out reviews of demo tapes from acts all over the world. Bands that, while often sounding similar and possessing that distinct lo-fi production, had an immeasurable commitment to their ethos. Cambiar’s six tracks, all in Spanish, may remind you of previous bands in terms of sound and artwork. Yet, they cut through with undiluted straight edge fury. Among their tracks, they proudly claim their truth, “STRAIGHT EDGE”, swiftly followed by the fast-paced old-school ripper “STRAIGHT EDGE ES MÁS QUE PALABRAS!!”, affirming that for them, straight edge is indeed more than just words.


Shout out to all the other bands that didn’t get on the list, to all the straight edge kids out there, to the labels that are still releasing straight edge bands despite financial difficulties, and to new zines like XVX Zine that are keeping the flame alive!

P.S. Below is the blistering video for Hour of Reprisal’s song “Rat Nest”, it’s one of the best hardcore videos I’ve seen in a long time.

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