Show Review: Highlights from This is Hardcore 2018

Photo: Wass Photography

Another summer, another edition of This is Hardcore. After a stellar lineup last year (featuring Disembodied, Pulling Teeth, Marytyr A.D. and Shelter), Joe Hardcore and company had big shoes to fill. And they delivered… mostly, providing another weekend of stage dives, Obituary t-shirts and limited-edition Vein merch.

The most glaring omission from the festival was California hardcore crew Rotting Out, who were confirmed to play the festival following frontman Walter Delgado’s release from prison for trafficking marijuana in 2016. Early last week, the band posted on Instagram that they wouldn’t be playing the festival due to an injury sustained at Sound & Fury. Disappointingly, the festival organizers gave no heads up to attendees that Rotting Out wouldn’t be playing nor was a replacement added to the bill. Better luck next year.

Despite that, a number of ripping performances (and an equally impressive food truck lineup) from members of the old guard, long-defunct acts and plenty of younger bands reminded once again why This Is Hardcore has been a staple festival for more than a decade. Below are the performances that stood out the most to me over the weekend, July 27 to 29.  If you weren’t there, or if you just really need to watch that killer stage dive again, check out Hate5six’s coverage of the festival, which he’s already hard at work uploading.


Incendiary are one of the best, if not the best, bands in hardcore right now. Their third LP, Thousand Mile Stare, dropped last year and it translates incredibly well to a live setting. Their high-energy performance encouraged countless stage divers and on-stage pile ons. Vocalist Brendan Garrone even found himself in the crowd at one point. Following resident hardcore hype beast Vein is no easy task, but Incendiary made it look easy.

Wisdom in Chains

Wisdom in Chains love Philadelphia, but the feeling is mutual. The outfit hail from northeastern Pennsylvania and have played 10 out of 11 installments of This is Hardcore, seemingly never losing their passion for the local scene. They played songs that spanned their career, including songs from their latest, Nothing in Nature Respects Weakness (a contender for best hardcore album of 2018) and other staples, including the Pennsylvania anthem “Land of Kings.”

Useless trivia: This is Hardcore mastermind Joe Hardcore and Hate5six camera wizard Sunny Singh both guest in the video for “Already Dead.”

Carnivore A.D.

The reunited band that was once fronted by the late Peter Steele played a set that was simultaneously silly and ripping. Carnivore A.D. played songs from both Carnivore full-lengths, Carnivore and Retaliation, and looked like they had a blast doing it. The set was dedicated to Steele and guitarist Keith Alexander, who played in the band from 1983-1985 and later died in 2005.

Year of the Knife

Year of the Knife are one of the most talked-about straightedge bands making music right now, and their performance This is Hardcore let the previously initiated (me) know why. The Delaware metallic hardcore crew delivered a steamroller of a performance, delivering one of the weekend’s angriest and heaviest sets.

Shark Attack

Shark Attack—who originally broke up in 2001—proved to be a crowd pleaser with their ability fast, energetic hardcore punk that, despite playing shows for less than a year when they were first active, got the crowd up and moving. Six Feet Under Records reissued a remastered version of Shark Attack’s discography earlier this year, so it’s a good time to dive (pun not intended) into their work.