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The Hardline Legacy

Everybody familiar with 90’s vegan straight-edge music and probably a whole lot of people into hardcore/punk in general know that there was a movement with a set of principles and belief-systems that called themselves HARDLINE. I, as a collector of hardcore music and 90’s in particular, am also aware of the influence it had on that entire decade, if not to say it kickstarted it all. That’s why I make this post, not because I am hardline but because I’m digging into the entire history of punk and hardcore and feel it’s relevance to a huge part of the scene I’m partaking with.

Back in the primary stadium of the 90’s a movement grew out of the hardcore and hardcore punk scene and was taking the most radical stance ever. This stance or ideology was formulated by Sean Muttaqi of the band VEGAN REICH. A record was made on the label that was also called hardline. You can understand that by means of making Hardcore music, adding the militant lyrics, distributing the record worldwide and especially convincing people or educating the fans a movement gets bigger. I believe expanding the believe system and bio-centric ethics was a goal as they were very militant and wanted a global change that started with the local scene.

This edification and militant will to convince is proven by finding all these inserts along with the Vegan Reich 7″:

The Hardline Manifesto
Truths For Edification
Meat / Dairy / Egg Industry Front
Meat / Dairy / Egg Industry Back

As I listen to the three records put out on Hardline Recordings, I come to the believe that band VEGAN REICH laid the foundations and made the concept of the hardline movement. That being done other bands followed but weren’t so defining the hardline theory, rather making things concrete.

The second release is the STATEMENT “Prepare For Battle” 7inch. With this the music gets better. And brings a less defining message and a less diplomatic approach than Vegan Reich. The main stance is that pacifist views no longer do.

Then the third record; RAID “Words Of War”. This is the most Hardcore sounding release.

The matrix etchings are tongue in cheek:

A: You believe in violence, well I do to
B: Your’s against animals, mine’s against you

The music of these records seems inferior to the message they want to bring. And that’s in my opinion one of the critics you can formulate against the Hardline movement. Another thing I want to say is that in my opinion the movement was too extreme, BUT maybe they needed to take an extreme stance if they wanted to make a change . They haven’t succeeded in convincing everybody in the hardcore scene but they did manage to give a swing to it. The entire decade that followed people took over elements of the hardline ethics and acted to them. I mean in Europe and in the States vegan bands arose, bands that got into veganism also and represented it and took actions (direct actions, zines, manifestations, etc). So their theory didn’t unify the scene but did leave a huge mark.

Another criticism is from Ian Mackaye found on Wikipedia

The hardliners’ elitist, strict, ascetic, often violent and controlling stance has often put them at odds with hardcore’s “think for yourself, do what you choose” attitude. Ian MacKaye, in the second recording of ”Out Of Step” by Minor Threat, stressed that straight edge “is not a set of rules”. Hardliners have been harshly criticized for their stance on sexuality, i.e. their belief that homosexuality and bisexualty (and even masturbation, according to some hardline literature) are unnatural and therefore wrong, and their opposition to abortion.

Another thing that puzzles me is the following question: “what has music on itself  to do with veganism and hardline?” Maybe the question is solved by defining hardcore and hardcore punk as natural aggressive music. In the sense that hardliners were pretty pissed off, and that the music was an outlet for that anger. A sort of channelization of anger, hedonistic compensation for the sober life-style and maybe even a natural defence-mechanism by making loud and hard music…

Any other thoughts about this? Feel free to leave a comment.

Lastly a cult note that I found in the Vegan Reich 7″:

PS: click on the pictures to make them appear bigger in your screen

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