Here, you can find information about the different substyles of music within the main hardcore style. Every piece of style info includes some pictures and example of DJs/producers which are with that style.
In the beginning days of Hardcore, the music had still a lot of influences of other house styles, such as Mellow or Techno. In about 1992, the big seperation between hardcore and mellow/club/techno happened. In this time, the Thunderdome project was started too! And, we all know that it was and still is a great succes. The big parties, merchandise and over 30 CDs prove this.
If you think of oldstyle, then you think of DJ Rob. He was playing in the legendary club Parkzicht in Rotterdam. In the early nineties, Rob shocked his audience, who were bored by all of the sizzy disco songs, with a new and hard sound! Parkzicht is (together with the Multigroove in Amsterdam) the place where hardcore grew big. Rob made some oldschool hits like Boy's Interface and The Beat is Flown (with lyrics by MC Joe). Every gabber should know the last one by hearth!
Oldstyle isn't made anymore nowadays, although there are some DJs who make music which is a lot like it (DJ Isaac - Face Down, Ass Up), yet it still lives. At almost every big houseparty, even the non-hardcore parties, there's a special room with oldstyle music. Usually DJs like Rob, Pavo and Paul spin the wheels here.
When the Happy Hardcore became popular in 1995, the normal hardcore was highly influenced by it too. The speed of the period before the happy hardcore (I'm talking about the Rob Gee-period) remained, but the music itself became a lot softer, and not so dark and underground anymore. Sped-up voices became very popular, happy samples were added to the music, and everybody was hakking with a big smile on his/her face.
During this time, the gabber scene grew rapidly, compilations like the Thunderdome CDs reached the top of the album charts in Holland, and big parties were held very often (Thunderdome '96!). A perfect example of the style I'm talking about here is the Thunderdome 11 CD (which this site was named after).
Sadly, this style of music is hardly made anymore. But, who knows what the future may hold...
The commercial happy hardcore came to life in about december 1994. Charly Lownoise & Mental Theo are the first ones to score a big hit with this style of music. Previously, they were underground hardcore DJs, who tried to reach the charts once with Live at London, but didn't really have succes with that. But this new single, Wonderfull Days: a track with a sped-up voice and a soft fast beat, does have succes! It reaches number two in the national charts! A new style of hardcore music is born: Singles with a happy radio mix, and some other hardcore versions on it. After this, Charly & Theo score some more hits with tracks like This Christmas, Together in Wonderland and Your Smile. Eventually their style became more and more like german Rave music, and couldn't really be called Hardcore anymore.
DJ Paul also starts making this type of music. His first happy track, Life is like a Dance is a big hit. His singles are like those of Charly & Theo: some radio mixes, and some hardcore mixes. After Life is like a Dance, his style grew more and more to Eurodance: a rapper and a female singer became part of his "group". Chart-succeses like Luv U More, Rave On and Don't leave me Alone were released. The big diifference between Charly & Theo and Paul is that Paul never stopped making real hardcore or abondoned the gabber scene. While he climbed up the charts, he still released hardcore tracks like DJ Paul's Nightmare. He even released a special hardcore version of his happy hardcore album.
One of the most popular happy hardcore labels was the Pengo label of ID&T. This label started in 1995. Most releases on it were (especially in the beginning) tracks by real hardcore DJs like 3 Steps Ahead and The Prophet, but all with a radio-version. Later on, the releases became more and more commercial, with Eurodance-like groups as Critical Mass and 4-Tune Fairytales. Some of the best releases (in my opinion) were: 3 Steps Ahead - Drop it, DJ Weirdo & DJ Sim - Go Get Busy and The Prophet - Big Boys Don't Cry.
Nowadays, happy hardcore is hardly made any more. The big hype around groups like Critical Mass and DJ's like Paul is gone. The groups are disbanded, and the DJs are making Hardcore again.
One of the first newstyle tracks was made in 1997 by Dark Raver and DJ Vince. Intelligent Hardcore is often seen as the very first hardcore track, since it was made during a time when all other hardcore still was fast. It became a big hit, just like its successor Thunderground.
Some newstyle is becoming more and more industrial and experimental. A good example of the style that I'm talking about is the 24th edition of Thunderdome: Past, Present, Future. This industrial/experimental style, which is made by DJs like Promo nowadays, was invented much earlier by Marc Acardipane (PCP). The kicks in this style are different from the standard kicks, and there are also some techno influences in the music.
It's hard to say how long newstyle will remain the most popular style. It has been here since about 1998, so it's not that new anymore. Personally I think that the (experimental) newstyle will not die in the future like Happy Hardcore has, but when hardcore will move on to another sound, it will probably be a different sound still alive within the hardcore scene (just like terror is).
In the normal hardcore scene, Holland is the main country. That's not the case with terror. The most terror comes from countries like America (Lenny Dee), France (Manu le Malin) and Australia (Nasenbluten), but Holland does have some good terror DJs/producers, like Akira, Drokz and Reanimator. Popular labels are Bloody Fist, HHS, the earlier mentioned Industrial Strength and Dark Park.
People often look down on terror DJs, but because terror has speeds ranging from 140 to 560 BPM, it's very difficult music to mix. People also often think that its devilish music which evokes agression, but that's far from the truth. Terror is, like extreme metal or punk, music to let oneself go! Terrorgabbers are often the most fanatic people.
Symbiont is an important name in the terrorscene nowadays. Now that the Tunnel of Terror is gone, Symbiont is the most important terror-party organizer. Their first party, Total Darkness, in de Vechtsebanen in Utrecht, was a great succes, with DJs/live acts as Kotzaak Klan, Stickhead and Reanimator. Symbiont has proven to be a good organizer. The terror scene in Holland will probably only get bigger in the near future. De difference between Terror and normal Hardcore will get bigger, and the group of fanatic terrorgabbers will probably grow.
The two labels for artcore and darkcore where started when XSV, the company which had been releasing records made for the Ruffneck, Ruffex and Ruff Intelligence labels went bankrupt. Ruffneck had to start from scratch again, and he formed two new labels: Supreme Intelligence, a darkcore label (which was the continuation of the Ruff Intelligence label) and Gangsta, an artcore label (which was the continuation of both Ruffneck and Ruffex).
Artcore/Darkcore were often not played on the main hardcore parties, but lately there has been a change in this. On some hardcore parties, there is now even a special darkcore room, like on Masters of Hardcore. Probably the most succesful darkcore group is Endymion (read about them in the producers section). They are playing on lots of (small, but also bigger) hardcore parties now, just like the artcore DJ Nosferatu.
Personally I think that there is a good future for artcore and darkcore. Let's hope we'll hear and see more of it, also on the big parties like Thunderdome and Mysteryland.