The Origins Of Crabcore

By now we’ve all had a bit of fun with Attack Attack! (not to be confused with Welsh power-punk band Attack! Attack!) and their triumphant debut as the world’s greatest crabcore band.

Crabcore, you say? Ohio’s God-bothering boys in black actually play a awkward mix of techno, screamo and metalcore (with added vocoder) but they have been dubbed crabcore due to a single scene in their viral music video for the single ‘Stick Stickly’ (named after the talking icypole stick that hosts Nickelodeon’s afternoon slot) lifted off their Rise Records debut Someday Came Suddenly. While this clip is incredibly laughable, I must reiterate: They. Are. Not. Kidding.

Did you catch it at 1:18? How about the choreographed double guitar toss at 0:58? How about the on-the-spot jogging in unison at 2:54? The perversely deep squats at 2:38? For a stitch-inducing breakdown of their breakdowns, check out the second-by-second evisceration at Buddyhead.

Obviously, internet snarks have been tearing Attack Attack! apart for their dance moves, but the true source of our ire is the way the band is smashing together genres with scant regard for flow, sense or respect. That’s arguably the only reason New Mexico tykes Brokencyde are often lambasted in the same breath as Attack Attack!, considering their nauseating music uses crunk more than metal. But they still have those testicle-lifting screeches.

Any questions about that “gay” video? Have a gander here, where the directors explain that it was shot for zero dollars in four hours, and the 4o oz being poured on the sidewalk (presumably for all the singer’s grounded homies) was nothing more than harmless apple juice.

The Guardian has showcased crabcore, there’s a group, it has featured on a slew of blogs and there’s already a petition to stop an entry for the genre from being deleted from Wikipedia (you’ll be astonished to learn that the online petition had no effect).

So from whence did this sewerage-stew of a genre originate? The immediate predecessor would be UK miscreants Enter Shikari, who chanced a blend of post-hardcore and trance with their 2007 debut Take To The Skies. In the same year, a Seattle crew of art-punks called the Blood Brothers broke up after a decade of crafting what I’ll call kitchensinkcore; throwing yelps and screams together with a hyperventilating mix of abstract indie rock, prancing new wave and feral hardcore (and did it pretty damn well).

But they all have a single origin point. If you skim down the outraged comments at Buddyhead, you might notice a certain John H defending Attack Attack! Soon enough it becomes clear that this is probably the genuine bleating of the band’s bassist John Holgado (especially since later posts use his whole name and seem utterly gormless). After decrying the Stone Roses (“boring-as-fuck”, “unoriginal” and “a dime a dozen”), John H responds to another poster by saying “refused are a huge influence on us, im [sic] sure we would tour with them if they were still together.”

Blame Refused. A decade ago these Swedish hardcore revolutionaries (both musically and politically) released their landmark album The Shape Of Punk To Come to howls of protest… initially. Hardcore purists scoffed at their orchestral intros, trance outros, jazz interludes, drum’n'bass buffers (hear Brutist Pome #5, soundtracking this cute animation), and gypsy accordion motifs. Members went on to play in the (International) Noise Conspiracy, and many have attributed their arty deviations to late-’80s/early-’90s Washington post-hardcore outfit the Nation Of Ulysses and ’90s Philadelphia vampire punks Ink & Dagger, but The Shape Of Punk To Come was undoubtedly the most influential album of the ’90s punk and hardcore resurgence.

Recently I had my last DJing hurrah before I dumped or hocked 90 per cent of my CD collection. It was at a ’90s punk and hardcore reunion night. I played the hardcore room and every hour on the hour, on both levels, each DJ spun the only single from Refused’s iconic final album. And every hour on the hour, the crowd of 30-year olds wearing ironic shorts, Blink-182 tees and chain wallets went apeshit.

The Used, Crazy Town, Snot, Anthrax, and countless others have dared to cover this iconic tune. We give you the 1998 proto-crabcore masterpiece: Refused’s ‘New Noise’.

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  1. Jeb says:

    This music makes my soul hurt, but I can’t stop listening to it…

  2. Mel Campbell says:

    I’m mainly impressed by the way the crotches of their meggings can withstand all that squatting. A denim/spandex blend, I expect.

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