Melodic hardcore is a subgenre of hardcore punk. It is more melodic than traditional hardcore, with less aggression. Melodic hardcore, with its strong emphasis on melodic exploration, is distinct from both emocore and pop punk, although these genres are often combined or used interchangeably. Nonetheless some melodic hardcore bands do share common scene origins with emo and pop punk bands as well as some post grunge from the mid to late 90's


Dag Nasty is a touchstone band, hailing from mid-1980s DC, with Dave Smalley of Boston's DYS on vocals and Brian Baker (ex-Minor Threat) on guitar. Dag Nasty's sound was an extension of the direction Minor Threat was developing with the Out Of Step LP before they broke up.

Gorilla Biscuits came out of the late 1980s youth crew straight edge scene, and while they were initially just one of many Youth Of Today clones of the era (albeit musically more similar to Side By Side) they eventually evolved an original and highly influential sound with the release of the seminal "Start Today" album -- echoes of which are still being felt in today's post-hardcore scene. In some ways Gorilla Biscuits paved the way for post-hardcore, as the guitarist Schreifels went on to found one of the defining post-hardcore bands: Quicksand. Other side projects included the band Moondog, writing music for the Civ project as well as the World's Fastest Car, Walter & The Motorcycles, Rival Schools and Walking Concert bands.

Turning Point, a New Jersey band, was also under the influence of Youth of Today's youth crew hardcore genre, but by the time they had passed the growing pains of their demo and first 7", their later material (the 1990 LP It's Always Darkest Before The Dawn etc.) proved to be the defining moment of melodic hardcore sound. These records were to be a direct influence on other New Jersey bands like Lifetime.

Many of these pioneering melodic hardcore bands sounds are what form an essential part of the styles that has been borrowed by bands across the modern punk and hardcore spectrum, encompassing pop punk and pop-influenced hardcore.

Defining musical characteristicsEdit

Minor sevenths and minor ninth chords used in combination with an open string modal playing style. This style was probably inspired by Bob Mould, extended by Brian Baker in Dag Nasty and later by Dan Yemin with his work in Lifetime (their early releases on New Age Records are good examples of the genre).

Drop D-tunings on guitars and bass is common for post-1990 melodic hardcore to achieve a heavier sound than possible with a standard tuning.

200bpm and 220bpm is a very common tempo for post-1990 melodic hardcore.

Guitar licks and vocal hooks with 5th or 9th harmony is common in post-1995 melodic hardcore.

Triplets and tapping (both for guitar and bass) are becoming more and more common features in newer melodic hardcore.

The common number of beats per bar in melodic hardcore is 4/4.