If you’re new to the concept of dis-core, you should first check out the early releases by Stoke-On-Trent’s Discharge who inadvertently paved the way for the subgenre back in 1980, during UK punk’s violent second wave, with their insanely distorted guitars and ultra-intense, impassioned vocals propelled by a primitive, attacking drumbeat, widely known as the ‘d-beat’.
Discharge literally wiped the musical slate clean and opened the door for thousands of frustrated youngsters to carve out their own musical legacy, technical ability be damned. It was no real wonder a swathe of similar-sounding bands followed in their wake; they planted a poisonous seed in the seemingly barren soil of 80s Britain, and something nasty inevitably took hold that then spread its glorious noise around the world.
The likes of Varukers, Doom and Extreme Noise Terror from the UK, Mob 47 and Anti-Cimex from Sweden, Rattus and Mellakka from Finland, Crucifix and Diatribe from the States, Ultimo Gobierno and HHH from Spain, and countless others, all owed a huge debt – both sonically and stylistically – to Discharge. And it was only a matter of time before some bands took their admiration one step further and began adopting the ‘Dis’ prefix for their name. After all, imitation is the greatest form of flattery, right?
Especially when Discharge took a near-fatal nosedive with their hardcore fans by releasing a pretty lame heavy metal album, Grave New World, in 1986. Perhaps frustrated by their heroes’ spectacular fall from grace, some bands just ramped up the Discharge worship to satisfy their own cravings for some filthy d-beat mayhem – that inimitable rhythm drowned in violent feedback, persistent simplistic riffing, angry barked vocals and anti-war/government lyrics - and for better or worse, dis-core was born, arguably reaching its zenith in the early-to-mid-90s.
Of course, what started as an appreciative nod to the Discharge style soon became outright plagiarism and eventually a parody, prompting bands like Active Minds to speak out against the lack of originality manifesting itself in the punk scene with their Dis Is Getting Pathetic EP in 1995. But that certainly didn’t deter the dedicated d-beat acolytes from their sonic pilgrimage.
So, without further ado, and just for shits and giggles as much as anything else, here’s some prime examples of feisty dis-core…
1. Disfear – A Brutal Sight Of War EP (1993)
Top drawer d-beat from Sweden, this was recorded and produced by none other than Tomas Skogsberg at the infamous Sunlight Studios. No wonder it sounds like the dog’s bollocks then, and turned them into one of the most popular crust punk bands out there.
By 2008, they had not only toured the US several times, but recorded their last album, Live The Storm, out there, with Kurt Ballou from Converge. The band were originally called Anti-Bofors – AB Bofors being a Swedish arms manufacturer that have been producing anti-aircraft cannon since the 1930s. As with many of the dis-core bands, their sound gradually grew more palatable for more mainstream metallers as they increasingly incorporated a Motörhead influence.
2. Dischange – Seeing Feeling Bleeding (1993)
More Swedish goodness (the Swedes really nailed down this style) from one of the first and best bands to wholeheartedly embrace the dis-core mantle. After two pretty brutal demos in 1989 and 1990, and a split seven-inch with the UK’s own Excrement Of War, they got themselves signed to metal giants Nuclear Blast for this, their only full-length. Members later formed Meanwhile, another great d-beat band, who were a little more prolific – check out their 1995 album, Remaining Right: Silence, for some exceptionally powerful Discharge worship.
3. Disclose – Tragedy (1994)
This Japanese band nailed the Discharge aesthetic as well as cranking the intensity of their sound up a few notches. They released an insane amount of splits during their 15 years together, with DIY d-beat punk bands from around the world, not least of all Hellkrusher and Squandered from the UK, Totalitär from Sweden and Besthöven from Brazil; many of these were on the respected Japanese labels MCR and Dan-Doh. Sadly, their singer Kawakami died tragically of an overdose in 2007, bringing them to a premature end.
4. Disaster – War Cry (1991)
This ripping Halifax, UK band were known to do a few Discharge covers in their time, and were probably one of the first conscious progenitors of the dis-core style. And they pretty much nailed it to the wall. After building a name for themselves via the tried and tested route of recording a demo and appearing on various underground compilation tapes, they still didn’t have enough songs for a full LP, so opted for a MLP in the vein of Discharge’s classic Why? 12-inch instead, garnering themselves airplay courtesy of legendary Radio One DJ John Peel, who certainly knew a thing or two about noisy punk bands.
5. Disgust - Brutality Of War (1993)
Smashed out in just a few days by members of Extreme Noise Terror, Dr & The Crippens and Blitz – with Barney Greenway from Napalm Death originally mooted to handle vocals, until Dean Jones from ENT stepped into the breach – you can feel the palpable energy of the material’s spontaneity.
They did two further albums, with differing line-ups, but neither of them came close to the raw fury of their debut. Earache signed them up without even hearing them play a note for this first album, but they jumped ship to Nuclear Blast for 1997’s A World Of No Beauty, that even saw Wurzel from Motorhead briefly joining their ranks.
6. Dissober – Sober Life… No Way’ (1994)
More Swedish dis-core, from a band who also acknowledged the perennial influence alcohol has had on the hardcore punk scene. This album was released by Distortion Records, a Swedish label legendary for their untiring contribution to the d-beat genre.
Driller Killer, Perukers, Atomvinter, Warcollapse, Arsedestroyer – their roster is both endless and timeless. The album even includes a cover of Grave New World, reimagined as a full-on d-beat thrasher to show how it could have sounded if Discharge had stuck to their blazing guns in the 80s.
7. Disfortune – Disanthropy (2014)
Ultra-gnarly and viscerally raw (and limited to 666 copies), this Bristol band knew how to make a proper noise, and birthed such killer songs as In Bristol There Is No Law, Cider Sunrise and Straightedge My Arse. After a self-released CD-R, The Great Disappointment, and the brilliantly-titled D-Beat Noise Marines rehearsal release, they hit their stride with this MCD, that also boasted eye-searing art from Mark ‘Skinny’ Orton, whose work has adorned the cover of many an underground punk release. With eight songs clocking in at under 10 minutes, it certainly didn’t outstay its welcome.
8. Disease ‘Destructive Noise Raid’ EP (2016)
These prolific Macedonians specialise in split releases with likeminded noisemongers, including shared offerings with Disclass and Dispose, just to single out the obvious dis-core bands, but this 2016 EP gets the vote because it opens with a rampant Disclose cover and is rougher than a drunken badger’s arse.
Unusually for the genre, they’re only a three-piece, but make one helluva racket for a trio, and they’re still active today, sounding more misanthropic than ever on their recent split with Manchester’s supremely vicious Better Reality.
9. Disarray – Disarray EP (1984)
This Japanese band were breaking new ground back in the early Eighties. They released two EPs and two cassettes, all of them fast and furious, and Ranch Records compiled their discography onto one LP in 2008, entitled 1982–1986, which you can of course find on Discogs.com. Their vocalist Ryuji went on to join Cocobats, the popular Japanese nu metal band that released a dozen albums on Toy Factory Records during the 90s and 00s.
10. Dishuman/Dishurt ‘Split’ EP (2021)
Evidence if any were needed that Discharge captured the imagination of punk musicians around the planet, this superb split captures two current bands at the top of their aggressive game. Hailing from Bandung, Indonesia, Dishurt are incredibly convincing, barrelling along like they invented the genre (their Cops! I Hate You! Cops! I Am Sick Of You! EP is also very worthy of investigation), whilst Portugal’s Dishuman are disgustingly fuzzed-out, sounding not unlike a hoover overheating in a missile silo, but impossible not to love. And they get bonus points for subverting Discharge’s War’s No Fairytale into Punk’s No Fairytale.