10 iconic bands in Ukrainian hardcore

In this part of our series of materials, we'll mention the 10 most iconic Ukrainian hardcore bands. For the formation of the list, several veterans of the scene were interviewed, mostly musicians, but also the promoters of the concerts.

If we talk about the roots of Ukrainian hardcore, then its trail should be sought in the early 2000s, when local teams began to try to recreate hardcore punk. Various bands began to appear in different parts of the country, but the most active were bands from the capital and the south part of Ukraine — Odessa and Crimea. At the moment, it remains that Kyiv and Odessa are the centers of hardcore music in the country and the main layer of teams from there.

Hard times for the hardcore scene started in the second half of the 00s' — closed events and the constant risk of ripped off events kept the hardcore party in a very limited circle of participants. Toward the end of the first decade, the situation became much easier — the concerts became open, the community began to expand, but it did not manage to be without the bad incidents even in the early tenths. In some cities, unpleasant incidents happened, but Lviv was the loudest in 2012 — a situation with neo-nazis, when the musicians and guests of the event fought off the attackers with glass bottles, knives and gas cylinders for about 10 minutes.

As time goes on, generations change, many have already left the stage, and many are just coming and gradually new bands are emerging in different parts of the country: Suffer in Zhytomyr, Tank-2000 and Пьяная Шваль (Pianaia Shval) in the capital, for example, Wheelz of Steel in Zakarpattia.

In the meantime, let's talk about the top ten most iconic bands for Ukraine during the existence of the hardcore scene.


Not an active now, the project was created around 2010 (the exact date is unknown) in the south of the country — in Odessa, rich in hardcore collectives. In the same year, the first EP "In search of soul" was released, the material on which was distinguished by evil and metalized music. The next record was released already in 2011 ("EP 2011") and then, 5 years later, Leviathan recorded their last EP 2016, which consisted of only two tracks. In the same 2016, the band gave their last concert at the local Cobra Fest and ceased to exist. Leviathan members are involved in The Night, Rising and Flame projects now.


Reminded band from Kyiv is playing for just over five years, but it may well be considered one of the scene’s flagships. Live and energetic performances are supported by several strong releases: the guys have several EPs (S/T EP 2013, Conflict and Shoot) and split "Sand" with Crude Buster (2016). They are very close friends with Bluesbreaker band and often perform and have tours together — the bands are part of the 044hc organization.


Relatively old, but at the same time a very significant vegan straight edge band — it was formed in the south of the country by musicians from Odessa and Crimea, played European-style metalcore of 00s', in the spirit of Maroon, Cast From Eden, Undying. Noteworthy was not only the material that was highly appreciated both in Ukraine and in the CIS, but also by the ideas that the team members adhere to. Everyone in the band was vegan, opposed to alcohol companies and for equality between all species on Earth. Their ideas and the lyrics made many people think about how human egoism penetrated the human mind. After the collapse of xDeclarationx, the musicians were spotted in Leviathan, Transilvanian and Reptiloids.


Formed 10 years ago, in 2009, from the participants of Humble Opinion, Undercurrents and Riot on the Radio. In the same year, they released their first demo, and "Self-titled EP" in the next one. And then it started: the guys played music in the spirit of Cro-Mags and received the status of a cult group in our latitudes. Several times they took part in big festivals in Russia, like This is Moscow or Raketa in St. Petersburg. At the moment, the band is more inactive but can take part in some shows from time to time and gather a crowd without any problems. After the collapse, the musicians of Woundead were spotted in Bluesbreaker, Maloi, Wolverine Blues and Battle Ax Culture.


One of the most successful domestic teams, smoothly replacing the vector of creativity in the direction of grunge music, but at the same time continues to enjoy incredible popularity within the scene. Bluesbreaker live shows are a must see for all guests of the capital who are interested in hard music and hardcore lovers. Concerts are actively played in their native Kyiv and periodically go on tours — to Europe or, as in the past year, through native expanses. In their discography, they have four EPs (Arcanum, Never Knowing Peace, Chain Gang), which later came out as a compilation on Amendment Records, and the latest release "Palais Ideal" (2018) that clearly displays the current sound of the band and the material that can be heard on Bluesbreaker events..


Aspire can be safely considered the pioneers of the New York hardcore of the 90s in the post-Soviet space. The first S/T EP of 2009 was very loudly distributed around the community and raised the demand for the group to the highest level. Later, the band has made some changes in the composition and recording of the full-length album "Нити" ("Threads"), which was released in 2014. Over the years of activity, have performed a lot, including large tours in Russia. What can we say about their significance, if during their performance at Maiak Fest the hall could have been scored almost to the full, which is more than 300 people!

Keep on Fighting

The vegan old school hardcore band from Sevastopol did not last long: fully assembled in 2006, the guys began to actively develop the local scene (at the time of their foundation, Keep on Fighting was the only hardcore band in the city), recorded the ten-song demo "Promo CD" and, due to problems inside the band, ended the existence of KoF in 2008. Over the years of activity, they managed to go on a mini-tour around Ukraine with the hardcore band Spunky Yank from Artyomovsk (now Bakhmut), where they played with Humble Opinion, Bread’n’Battery, Swallow! Swallow! Splinter and other representatives of the scene.


The band from Simferopol, founded at the end of 2009, quickly gained popularity and became revered throughout the country. Indeed, the band that was loved by everyone: the love of the listeners was clearly expressed in the choir, which every time woke up during the performance of the main hits. Their performances at the Maiak Fest was the greatest ones, where the entire hall sang along with Zhenya Svishchev, not only on the stage itself but also further indoors. Separately, it is worth highlighting their participation in the 2013 winter BTSFF — an incredibly vivid and emotional show.

During their existence, they have released several releases, including the full-length album "Кулуар" ("Couloir") 2013, which was released both on disks and on vinyl. The latest material of the team at the moment is the short EP "Мы" ("We") 2015, which was recorded after the participants had traveled to different cities. And later the project was completely frozen.


Another band from Odessa, another legend of the Ukrainian hardcore. The structure included participants of Bread'n'Battery, Reason Thousand, Clearsight, and used to have Youth of Today, Judge, Mouthpiece, Turning Point, Battery in their influences. It is considered one of the cult bands, along with Aspire. Always stood out bright live performances and words between songs.

The Symbioz

Veterans of the Uzhgorod hardcore have been on the stage for 15 years and are now actively preparing to record new material. During their existence, they played in many cities of the country and released two full-length albums "Твій світ" ("Your World) 2005 and "Невтішні картини сьогодення" ("Sad Pictures of Today") 2011, EP "Шлях поневірянь" ("Path of Poverty") 2012 and several splits (with Birth of Ignorance, Avrora6542, Корча). They always stood out due to their hard sounding and gloomy social lyrics and considering that the value of this group does grow several times as this is one of the only few active projects in Western Ukraine.

These bands also deserve attention:

  • Homesick — Odessa, hardcore punk — a band that appeared in 2011 and brought punk rock back into hardcore. They have a great discography and deservedly received people's love.
  • Humble Opinion — Kyiv, a modern melodic hardcore — a band from the capital that lasted from 2006 to 2010. They have only one demo, and the participants subsequently played in various iconic hardcore teams of Kyiv.
  • Sike — Kyiv, hardcore punk, sxe — a band that included members of Clearsight, Bluesbreaker, Woundead. They have two demos and one 7" record, and a large number of concerts in Ukraine and abroad. Officially stopped playing in 2016.
  • Strike Each Other — Ternopil / Kyiv, beatdown hardcore — a band with 10 years of history that clearly holds the given vector, playing metallic beatdown hardcore. The band is well known among the niche public abroad.
  • Set Adrift — Odessa, 90's oldschool hardcore — one of the most iconic bands in Ukraine that has continued the hardcore 90's tradition. Have a series of releases and a clip for the song "Hourglass". Last recorded single "Blame" was released last year.
  • Time of Defeats — Kyiv, 90's hardcore/metalcore — one of those few teams on the Ukrainian stage who played metalcore with a reference point to the classics of the '90s and the '00s. There are several demos and two full-length albums in the asset. They stopped playing in 2017.
  • Kingpin — Odessa, hardcore — guys from Odessa, who continued to deal with the legends of nyhc Leeway. The band was fruitful to the releases, has a fairly large discography. The band organized the Maiak and Cobra fest festivals. There are no news from the band now, but there was no official announcement about the cessation of activity. Some participants play in The Night.
  • Rude Riot — Kyiv, oi / streetpunk — one of the few domestic street punk bands that actively acts within the national hc / punk scene. The boys have two full-length albums, the second one has a very noticeably hardcore spirit.
  • Clearsight — Kyiv / Odessa, youth crew hardcore — the collaboration of the participants of the iconic bands of Kyiv and Odessa. They have three releases, "Not Ashamed" EP 2013, was produced on the legendary React Records label. They don't play live shows often, but at the same time always have one of the best shows among domestic bands.
  • Dr. Bormental — Kharkiv, hardcore/punk — the band started its activities in the far 2004 and was active until 2007. In 2006, they went on a tour with the Шоу Трумена (The Truman Show) in Ukraine with the guys from Zhytomyr, and after 2010 their recordings were seen on split from Заводь, Колесо Дхарми (Zavod, Dharma's Wheel). Full, but small, discography of the group can be listened to on their bandcamp page.
  • Zrada — Kharkov, hardcore/punk - a band led by Sukhar - vocalist of Dr. Bormental in the past. Unfortunately, there are not many releases of the band, but Zrada compensates them with great live concerts. They already have several European tours.
  • Remorse — Chernigov, hardcore — probably the oldest and most original operating hardcore band in Ukraine. Remorse began to play more than 15 years ago, mixing hardcore, stoner, free jazz and a bunch of other styles. There are 5 full-length albums in the discography, the last one of which was released this year. Unfortunately, due to the fact that the band was not integrated into the Ukrainian hardcore punk scene, it did not receive decent attention.
  • Dan Stark — Chernihiv / Lviv, hardcore, thrashcore — other representatives of the Chernihiv scene. Again, a stylistic mix in music, which is based on thrashcore. Everyday tragedies of real people are taken as a concept for lyrics.

Thanks for the help in writing the material going to Venia Tolstopyatko, Pasha Vorona and Andrei Dron.


Cover - Anastasia Inri

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