Punk rock has existed in many different shapes and sizes since its conception in the mid-late '70s. From the original garage rock tinted sound of the Ramones, to the vicious hardcore sound of Gallows, punk has proved itself to be surprisingly versatile over the years. 

Black Flag, 2019 / Photo Credit: Billy Bennight/Zuma Press/PA ImagesBlack Flag, 2019 / Photo Credit: Billy Bennight/Zuma Press/PA Images

Hardcore punk alone has had quite the journey to end up as the entity it is today, having been spliced, compared and crossed over with multiple genres. However, none of this would be possible if it were not for the sub-genres' founding fathers; names like Dead Kennedys, The Exploited and the band most relevant to this article, Black Flag

Given the lack of support for up and coming hardcore bands from huge rock corporations online, in print and on the airwaves, it would be easy to assume that hardcore punk is dead. But, this could not be any further from the truth as the sub-genre is alive and well, even if it does operate beyond the horizons of mainstream exposure nowadays. In this article, we will look at five amazing modern hardcore punk bands that are essential additions to your favourites list if you love Black Flag. 

5. Hands Off Gretel

Hailing from Barnsley, Hands Off Gretel are one of the UK’s fastest rising punk acts thanks to their amazing live energy and catchy tunes. Despite being just five years into their careers, they have played several prestigious festivals such as Download Festival, Isle of Wight, Camden Rocks and several others, showing that bookers as well as fans can see their almost unrivaled potential. 

Although Hands Off Gretel have enjoyed a steady rise to fame for the most part, their 2019 studio album, I Want The World, elevated them to incredible heights. From here, they have managed to make the most of this momentum and released a brand new EP in March titled The Angry EP. Hands Off Gretel have tour plans in place for spring of 2021, and Covid permitting it is sure to be a wild string of shows you won’t want to miss. 

4. Pressure Cracks

Pressure Cracks are a relatively new group but have enjoyed a swift rise to fame, mainly thanks to the incredibly talented musicians who make up the bands ranks. Founded by Fever 333 vocalist, Jason Aalon Butler, Pressure Cracks is (technically) a supergroup formed of Fever 333 and Scars Of Tomorrow members.

Since their formation in 2018, the band have consistently released one EP a year, with the latest coming out in January of this year. This Is Called Survival is the name of this most recent release and exhibits a catalogue of gnarly hardcore conventions. Butler’s vocal velocity from Fever 333 easily carries into this heavier environment, with key songs from the group including Collages & Collagen and the title-track from their 2019 EP, Ready For You

3. Scumsters

Led by Slaughter to Prevail vocalist, Alex Terrible, Scumsters are one of the newest bands on this list, with only one full length album to their name at present. 

However, this self-titled record is more than enough evidence to show us that Scumsters have a lot of potential with their catchy rock vibes and powerful punk presence. Released in 2018, this album is living proof that punk isn’t dead, thanks to amazing tunes such as Follow Me, F**k All Who Don’t Believe in Me and Cyka Blyat.

The promise of a follow-up record is still up in the air though, as the band rarely use their social media accounts and the majority of Alex Terrible’s time is consumed by his Slaughter to Prevail work. But, this certainly hasn’t stopped them from accumulating almost one million streams on Spotify and a solid reputation across Europe.  

2. The Hell

Despite only being around since 2013, The Hell have built up a lengthy repertoire of music thanks to their once astonishing recording schedule. Having released two albums in back-to-back years, their glittering reputation has faded slightly after they immediately went five years without releasing anything. The recovery is now on though, as The Hell’s latest EP, Doosh, is a compact, fun and infectious hardcore release that you simply have to hear.

This British group seems determined to make up for lost time after a long time away, and have left some room for innovation in their new material also. Moving away from their metalcore roots and towards a hardcore punk sound has really paid off for them, and will hopefully serve them well in the releases that are to follow.  

1. Knocked Loose

Arriving on the scene with a bang in 2013, Knocked Loose have already established themselves as a genre leading band as far as modern hardcore punk is concerned. You’ll be hard pressed to find a band with as much bite and intensity as Knocked Loose on the current scene, possibly making them the closest we can get to a modern day Black Flag right now. 

Of course Knocked Loose also carry their own distinct identity, which is detectable through all their music. Their 2019 album in particular, A Different Shade of Blue, is an especially brutal release that possesses levels of aggression, disdain and frustration that most modern hardcore musicians can only dream of obtaining.

Fans of Knocked Loose should also check out similar names such as Lotus Eater and Graphic Nature if they want to discover even more brutal British hardcore acts.