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Darkcore is a type of music that derived or evolved from breakbeat hardcore and was created as a backlash against happy hardcore (sometimes called 4-beat). And because of this, the genre aims to be as "not happy" as possible, one of the characteristics that gives this style of music its defining sound.
Its tempo is pretty average for a sub-genre of hardcore, usually ranging from about 150 beats per minute, and not usually exceeding 160 beats per minute. While being average for hardcore music, it's still a very fast genre, giving it added possibility to increase the "darkness" level.
Evolving from breakbeat hardcore, its main drum structure is going to be that of break music. It will also feature basslines with a very low frequency, further adding to the desired negative effect. It will use a synthesizer, sequencer, drum machine and heavy use of the sampler (less used in later forms).
And similar to dark ambient, it will typically use horror-like effects, like high-pitched, dissonant violin chords (you know, like the "dee-dee-dee" that can be heard is those older horror movies), screaming or other effects, like sirens or alarms. However, as the genre got older, the heavy use of these effects has dropped substantially, and artists more rely on what they can do with the synthesizer to create the same atmosphere.
This genre of music was a backlash (counter-movement) against the happy variant of breakbeat hardcore that came out just before this one. They both emerged around 1992 in the United Kingdom, but obviously the happier variant came first. And in 1993, it saw its first (and only) significant release, featuring many songs with stylistic properties of this music.
It is thought that this genre of music had a big influence on drum and bass and later in the 1990's it spawned a sub-genre known as darkstep.
Darkstep is very similar in style, with the use of horror-like samples and heavily distorted basslines. It uses a few specific breakbeats in its sound that include the firefight break and the amen break, with a metallic, ringing and dissonant snare drum.
Average Beats Per Minute: 150-160
Where It Originated: The United Kingdom
Stylistically Similar To: Darkstep, Hardcore Breakbeat, Drum and Bass
Year Developed: Early 1990s
General Hardcore - Back to the overview of hardcore.
4-Beat - Yes, it has four beats to the bar, along with other specifics.
Bouncy Techno - Deriving from gabber, while dawing influences from techno as well.
Breakbeat Hardcore - Hardcore breakbeats, influenced by techno and house music.
Darkcore - You won't be finding any happiness here.
Digital Hardcore - Fast, aggressive and full of attitude, these guys mean business.
Gabber - Be a Gabber for life and the Gabbers will welcome you with open beats.
Happy Hardcore - You won't be finding any darkness here.
Speedcore - It's fast, aggressive and angry. Perfectly fits into the hardcore puzzle.
UK Hardcore - Can you guess where this music comes from?
You are at darkcore.