Emerged as a beacon, illuminating the resilient essence of Lion City Hardcore (LCHC), “The Spirit Remains...” compilation, released by Divided We Fall Records, echoes the legacy of the iconic “Together At Last,” gathers the city’s hardcore stalwarts and emerging talents, and crafts a sonic narrative that spans three decades of true DIY passion.
Featured acts include Destiny, Kill On Sight, Renegade, Wreckonize, Recover, Losing End, xdetesterx, Mystique, and Overthrown, each contributing their feirce sound and story to this historic assemblage.
As we delve into this vibrant compilation, we’ve invited a select few of these artists to share their insights and stories. Their responses offer a glimpse into the personal journeys and collective ethos that define LCHC.
The interview below highlights the enduring spirit and evolving dynamics of this thriving community in the pulsating heart of Singapore’s hardcore scene. Read up below.
Tell us more about your band. Introduce your project and give us a brief rundown of your latest releases and what’s coming up for your band in the next few weeks.
xdetesterx: xdetesterx is made up of Danny (vocals), Syafe (bass), Halifi (drums), Elias (guitar) and Jerry (guitar). We’re a straight edge band and take influences in our sound from older edge metal bands. We just dropped our demo under The Coming Strife records from the UK and are currently in the midst of writing our EP to be released sometime in the first half next year. We’ll be on a bit of a break until then due to our own commitments.
Radigals: Radigals was formed back in 2012, though since then we’ve had a change of line up, our purpose still remains – standing against discrimination, underestimation, and devaluing of females, women empowerment, and sharing personal life struggles to raise awareness as well as allowing anyone who may be going through the same thing/ have gone through something similar to know they are not alone.
Our latest release was in 2019, called Self-Titled(S/T). It portrays our sisterhood and also features a track called Trapped. The lyrics were written by a friend who had a close friend experience abuse and harrassment. We were honoured that they wanted us to tell their story with their words through our music. We hope to be the voice for the voiceless/ a platform of expression.
We have a couple more songs in the works and we’re looking to release it next year so stay tuned!
Recover: Hi. Azfar here representing Recover. The band has been around since mid 90s.
First appeared in the 2nd infamous LCHC compilation called Rage Generation. Recover went through plenty of hiatus and changes with the lineup. But ultimately, we came to an agreement that no one owns Recover. Someone mentioned that Recover is like an institution of like minded friends who feels connected to Recover one way or another.
We do plan to release something of a decent length. It’s been hard to focus creatively when all of us have our lives filled with the usual family and work. Everyone in the band respects everyone’s priorities and time. We always try to make it happen. It will come. Hopefully sooner than later. No deadline set yet.
Renegade: Aul – Our band Renegade was formed in 2019, members of State Of Pain, Guilty mind and Abiator. We released our demo late 2019 and had our first show right before covid hit. Mid 2022 we released an EP (The Truth Shall Kill Them) and had a short run of SEA weekenders.
We just released a single for the LCHC compilation ‘Knife in the dark’ concurrently writing for an LP hope to start recording it by early 2024
Wreckonize: Wreckonize consists of members from Losing End and the now defunct band, Fuel. For inspiration and influence, we tap from the sounds of 90s to early 00s bands such as Bulldoze (RIP Kevone), Everybody Gets Hurt & Billy Club Sandwich.
We put out an EP titled Tried & True not too long ago, available on all streaming platforms so feel free to check it out.
On 16th December we’ll be playing the Lion City Hardcore 30th Anniversary show. It’s our last one for the year but it’s a perfect way to wrap up 2023. There’s some significance to where it’s held too, as there hasn’t been a show played on those grounds for a long time.
Destiny: We’re a band called Destiny. Elton plays drums, Farid’s on bass, Elias & Jerry slings guitars, and Elvin on vocals. We play old school melodic hardcore inspired by the likes of Shield, Abhinanda, and Turning Point. We released our demo back in 2020 and another single on the Out For Blood Vol. 2 Comp last year. We’re putting the finishing touches on our 5 track EP set to release early next year.
Losing End: Sean: We’re a 4 piece metallic hardcore band. We just released a new song after 6 years as part of the Lion City Hardcore compilation. We actually have a whole EP that we recorded but we’ll probably release it next year. Our next show is opening for Citizen in March.
Mystique: Syaf: Mystique is me on vocals, Farza on guitar, Izzat on bass and Izaam on drums. We’re mainly influenced by CroMags with a metallic touch from bands like King Diamond. We put out a 2 song demo in May this year and are currently in the studio recording our upcoming EP.
Share your perspective on the local hardcore punk scene. When did you first become part of it, what drew you to this scene, what were the first bands you connected with, and how long have you been a part of it?
xdetesterx: I (Jerry) only started going to shows somewhere in 2018. I was attending a mixed-genre show and I didn’t know what to expect from a hardcore. The moshing intrigued me the most and I was also wondering why people were piling on top of each other trying to grab the mic. After which I started attending as many shows as I could. I think Hollow Threat and Losing End were the 2 bands I was always excited to see. I’d say I’ve been a part of hardcore for 5 years now. Learning the essence of hardcore, finding friendship in it, and expressing myself. Being here in hardcore is true joy for me. Our scene only looks bright promising and I’m sure it’s only going up from here.
Radigals: Our local hardcore punk scene is small, but it has since grown in terms of exposure all over the world – for both our local scene and bands.
Esty: I’ve been to local gigs of different genres since 2007, fell in love with hardcore in 2009. I instantly feel comfortable in the scene, even come down for shows every weekend, seeing many overseas bands coming to Singapore to play small hardcore/punk shows and how I can relate my growing up experience, angst and struggle with lyrics of hardcore punk and the people definitely drew my attention. Shoutout to Bloody Rejects, Secret Seven, Obscure, Straight Forward and Roundhouse.
Cheryl: I think i started in mid 2009? Went to a few metal shows with friends before going to metalcore/hardcore shows. Hardcore spoke to me on so many levels, maybe as a teen i had more angst lol but also it helped me learn and be aware of so many things out there – the lyrics and music has always been relatable (still is to this day). It just felt like home because there were people who had the same mindset, experiences, troubles, ethics like me.
Recover: My answer for this is pretty personal. The answer will definitely not be the same for the rest of the band members.
The current lineup of Recover consists of members who came into the scene and various point of time. Me, being the youngest member by age, only started dipping my feet in the hardcore punk scene in 2004-2005?
Izar (vox) was already prominent in the scene since probably 92-93. He’s the only involved in both the well known LCHC compilation album in 1993 as well as the current “The Spirit Remains” compilation in 2023. Ratnor (bass) and Rizal (drums) probably started dwelling in the hardcore scene around 95-96?
The local band that actually got me passionate in the hardcore scene, as you may have guessed, is Recover. I was in awe every single time I watched them especially during their prime with probably the most well known Recover lineup consisting of Izar (vox), Fairuz (guitars), Ratnor (bass), Shahran (drums).
Plenty of other bands which will be endless to mention, but Recover is the reason my flames started burning strongly for LCHC.
Renegade: Aul – I started going to hardcore shows during 2012, the first few bands that really kept me going were Straight Forward and tipping point. Throughout the years it’s more welcoming now then it was back then, but too welcoming ain’t that good too right?
Wreckonize: When I just started out playing in a band (which for the record, wasn’t a hardcore band), we somehow played a show that had hardcore bands on the bill – Straight Forward (rip), a household name in LCHC, being one of them.
Even before the first chord hit, the vibe in the room shifts, which was exciting to witness and just prompts you to do something even if you look dumb. The crowd pileups and singalongs were definitely what made me gravitate toward hardcore shows more.
It did feel intimidating with the rowdiness and recklessness, but the energy was raw and genuine and that’s what I loved.
Destiny: We all came into hardcore at different points of our lives. Elton and Elvin are in it for about a decade now. The rest of us discovered hc about 5 or more years ago. The scene has undergone many changes throughout the years with highs and lows including the 2 year break from shows because of COVID. But since returning from the break we’ve been prospering as a scene so far, with shows popping up once and even twice a month recently. We connected with earlier bands like Straight Forward, Hollow Threat and Losing End.
Losing End: Sean: We’ve been around for as long as we can remember. Going to shows at venues that don’t exist anymore. A Lot of the bands we used to watch as kids don’t exist anymore either. The first Singapore hardcore band was called Stompin Ground but the most active band that was around when we started of was called Overthrown. We then started learning more about hardcore and started our own bands, learning to be designers, learning about production, making zines, getting involved in labels, promotion, bookings. Right now, we run Blacklisted Productions where we books bands into South East Asia. We also play in a couple of other bands.
Mystique: Syaf: I first started going to mixed genre shows in 2014 and slowly eased myself into hardcore shows in 2015. I always loved how hardcore has been a collaborative thing – for example you can participate at shows by moshing, singing along to the bands. Basically it’s not a passive, spectator sport and you are welcome to be involved if you want to. That collective energy is contagious and I will always be excited about it. Locally, the first bands that resonated with me were Losing End. For overseas bands, I started out by listening to Freedom and Fury. I guess this year marks my 8th year being a part of it?
How do you see the development of this local scene? What are your views on other hardcore punk scenes that might be close to your heart?
xdetesterx: I think it’s steady and progressing. Seeing newer kids come to shows and also hear talks of them forming new bands are some signs. Our organizers are constantly bringing bands from all over the world to play shows here, and also helping get us local bands out there to play shows overseas. I think I can clearly see the friendships and support that helps makes our community work. I think any hardcore scene out there in the world would be close to my heart. Hardcore in Singapore, hardcore in Asia, hardcore in the States, hardcore in Europe, anywhere. Hardcore is the same everywhere as it’s the spirit, ethics and values that everybody shares to makes a scene work. (And also moshing. Hard, hard moshing.) [And riffs]
Radigals: Definitely growing more and more throughout the years – it doesn’t stop, many new faces yet the old faces are still around and actively contributing and supporting the scene. Although there aren’t as many venues as before, we’re thankful that there are still a small handful around that are open and willing to cater to hardcore punk shows. Ticket entry prices, venue rental are definitely more expensive now compared to before, due to the increase of cost of living and basically everything else in Singapore.
Esty: Indonesian hardcore punk scene has always been close to my heart, given their high population, each show always looks like a festival. Indonesia’s hardcore punk energy is one of a kind.
Cheryl: I agree with Esty! Also most recently the South Korean scene! Shout out to True Color Collective and Make Me Dance booking, and especially Big Chang and Jason who have been hospitable, friendly and kind when we visit Korea – showing us cool places every time and making us feel right at home.
Recover: In my personal opinion, I am proud of the state of the hardcore punk scene now. I still do attend the local shows pretty regularly and I do see a lot of faces whom I don’t find familiar. Young ones especially. Which to me, is really great! It means there are newer people in the scene. It means the scene is growing.
And let me tell you how proud I am with the effort put in by various organizers in the scene but special mention to the awesome people from Blacklisted Productions / Divide We Fall. 2023 has been a year of a lot of bands touring the region thanks to them. Hopefully in return, we will have more recognition and have more LCHC bands touring outside the region.
Renegade: Mizzud – In the near future, I expect the local scene to prosper and attract more new kids to come to shows. Newer bands should be given better opportunities to grow, for example, calling them for more shows. It is important to cultivate a supportive community to ensure the hardcore scene never dies.
I find the hardcore scene in Indonesia intriguing, we went there last year and they made us feel like home. The scene there is massive and it’s a norm to have a crowd a size of a football field. They also have tons of amazing bands such as End In Pain, Centra and Limbo. They’re the real deal. It is evident that Indonesia has a promising Hardcore scene, and they are a force not to be reckoned with.
Wreckonize: Looking back for at least the past decade, I personally feel that there’s definitely improvement. That being said, there still is and always will be, room for improvement.
Right now, we’ve got people who give a fuck about the community as a whole, ensuring that everyone involved in running a show gets what they’re owed, and not see it as an opportunity for profit.
We’ve got bands who give a shit about not only their craft, but the message they wish to convey through their songs.
We’ve got show-goers who genuinely wanna be at shows to support the bands, and not just so they can have their minute of fame and post it on their socials.
And because it hasn’t been said before, is understanding that not everybody’s gotta be cool with everybody, but at least we’re able to co-exist.
I have the utmost respect to EVERY local hardcore scene in Southeast Asia. Imo, Indonesia is killing it right now. What they’ve got going on is something that they can proudly call their own. From 30-50 capped venues to full blown festivals, their support and love for their hardcore scene is inspiring.
Destiny: We’ve got a pretty dedicated scene here, small in numbers but strong in bond. Our organisers work hard to put shows together, bringing bands to tour on our side of the world. The scene in South Florida is popping off right now, shout out to equinoxbookings.
Losing End: Sean: The hardcore scene in Singapore has grown a lot in terms of quality. The music is getting better and the kids really a fuck about how they sound now. The community is more wholesome right now and everyone gives a shit about the important things. The kids are talking about important matters and especially protecting others.
The Indonesian Hardcore scene has been popping off. Their bands are going out on SEA tours and that is really awesome to see. The amount of kids coming out to their shows are also insane! We’ve played with a few of the Indonesian bands recently and shit went off!
Mystique: Syaf: I love how the local scene has expanded to have a wider range of sound as compared to how it was when I first got into it. I feel the community has come a long way and the 30th anniversary tape compilation and show is a great way to celebrate it. Over the years I’ve been inspired by South Florida HC and NWOBHC from the UK and how they made their own scene the way they’ve envisioned it to be. It takes a lot of collective agency to develop a community like that. I’ve been to shows in other countries watching some of my favourite bands but nothing beats the experience having a scene you feel that you can belong to.
Do you have any other bands, not on this compilation, that you’d like to promote or recommend to our readers? Anything from your local scene, the wider Asian scene, or even the international hardcore scene. What are your top picks and choices, any standout releases from this year?
xdetesterx: Speed. To see a hardcore band explode from Sydney out into the whole world inspires me to feel like I could do it too. And I hope this feeling is shared with other hc kids in bands out there.
Whispers from Thailand. I don’t need to introduce them but I felt the need to highlight how talented they are as musicians, and also how sincere they are as people.
My top picks/standout releases for this year are:
‘On Skylines On Embers’ by xnomadx
‘With Thorns of Glass and Petals of Grief’ by Balmora
Both of which are under Ephyra records from Connecticut.
Check out out Best Vegan sXe Hardcore Records of the year feature HERE.
Radigals: Local: Spirits, Crash Course, Constitution
Rest of Asia: Peach(Indonesia), Somebody Fool(Indonesia), Steadfast(Indonesia), PukulxBalik(Indonesia), Kenya (Bali) Unseen(Malaysia), Check Your Head(Malaysia), LastxMinute(Malaysia), Numb(Japan), Kruelty (Japan), Stand Out (Japan), Human Brutality (Taiwan), Rexrez (Thailand), Flush!! (South Korea), No Shelter (South Korea), Slant (South Korea)
Recover: I just can’t mention the bands by names. All. All releases coming out of this small Lion City are always fire.
The quality of new bands coming out of the lion city, are just amazing. The bar somehow is set up pretty high that it’s just quality after quality.
I won’t say which one is the best. Just give all of them a listen. But most importantly, come down to the shows and watch the bands. That’s the best way to support the bands and the scene. Ok
Renegade: SEA BANDS THAT ABSOLUTELY NEED TO BE HEARD ⁃ Whispers (Thailand), ⁃ The Shredder (Thailand), ⁃ 2DK (Singapore), ⁃ Angulimala (Singapore), ⁃ End in pain (Indonesia), ⁃ Defy (Indonesia), ⁃ Moneybag (Malaysia), ⁃ Triangle (Malaysia)
2023 has to be one of the hardest one ever to pick but the top release this year has got to be: NEVER ENDING GAME – OUTCRY
Wreckonize: Check out 2DK, Angulimala, Spirits, Hollow Threat
Top 3 personal favorite releases 2023: Outcry by Never Ending Game, The Beast Is Back by New World Man, In My Way by Hold My Own
We also recommend these bands: Mil-spec, Wreckage, 10 to the Chest, Sanguisugabog.
Standout releases this year include: Collateral – Demo, Wreckage – Our Time, Mil-Spec – Marathon, Envision – The Gods That Built Tomorrow, Fiddlehead – Death is Nothing to Us, Feverchild – Altering a Memory
Losing End: Sean: There have been a few bands that didn’t make the compilation because of scheduling issues like Angulimala, Remnants, Vital Sign, Constitution, 2DK, Hollow Threat, Spirits and Heel.
Outside of Singapore, Whispers, Monument X, Shredder and Depressed from Thailand. Zip, Peach, Keep It Real, Defy, Kenya from Indonesia. Moneybag from Malaysia. Shockpoint and Clean Slate from the Philippines.
Top releases for the year would be from Dying Wish, Collateral, The Scheme Compilation, Diztort and Fiddlehead.
Mystique: Syaf: A couple of my personal favourite bands who had releases this year are Peach, Diztort, Blow Your Brains Out and Collateral.
Peach from Medan, Indonesia is one of my favourite bands from this region.
They just debuted last year but already have a few promising releases out.
I’ve been listening to Diztort’s new LP on repeat. Blow Your Brains Out’s LP is just a fusion of everything I love about hardcore in one album. Collateral’s 4 min demo is perfect hardcore to me.