A good record label is like a trusted friend who knows the ins-and-outs of your music taste. If a trusted label puts a new or unfamiliar record out, it’s like a cosign on the quality. In the early 2010s, one such label was Harvcore Records. Working mainly with bands in the Pennsylvania and New Jersey region, the label put out early releases from many bands who became touring and regional staples in the years to come. While there hasn’t been a new release since 2017, here are five times Harvcore Records ruled.
Edgewise / All Else Failed – Safe Harbor Split
Philadelphia hardcore mainstays All Else Failed put out their most recent track, “Break the Cycle,” on a split with with Pennsylvania hardcore band Edgewise. The two-song split is a killer modern-day effort from two reactivated, essential ‘90s acts. The money raised from physical sales went to Safe Harbor, a non-profit providing needed support to homeless men and women in Chester County, PA.
Burdens – You Can’t Save Us All
Burdens should have been much bigger than they ever got. Mixing hardcore with extreme metal, You Can’t Save Us All contained the best of both worlds with fresh, riff-heavy guitar playing, actual hints of melody, impassioned vocals and more two-step opportunities than one knows what to do with. Their brand of blackened hardcore fury may not have exploded like other acts, but it still sounds fresh today.
Rock Bottom – Born II Hate
This is hardcore by people who love heavy metal. With lyrics like “Your bloody carcass, soiled in piss / Carved into your skull, the number 666,” Rock Bottom do things fast and messy; first EP Born II Hate is a 10-minute ripper that keeps a foot in both worlds. Their full-length Down with the Devil (also on Harvcore) is a cleaner take on the sound, but Born II Hate wears its love for Satan-worshipping heavy metal on its sleeve.
Agitator – Enter Vice Lords
Ultra-straightedge practitioners Agitator didn’t leave a lot of room for interpretation on their Enter Vice Lords EP. The five songs on the release are a blistering condemnation of drugs, alcohol, society, fate and abuse, with little room for argument or discussion.
Lifeless – NLFTW
New Jersey heavy hardcore outfit Lifeless came into their own on NLFTW, an album that owes as much to Crowbar as it does to beatdown. Sludgy guitar riffs and the occasional almost-clean vocal recall Kirk Windstein, if Kirk Windstein were into breakdowns and violent mosh pits. As the No Love for the World album title suggests, Lifeless are the polar opposite of PMA-minded hardcore.