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The Vault: American Hardcore (2006)

American Hardcore kicks off with an excellent quote about the rebellion that impelled the American hardcore punk scene in the late 70s and early 80s. To paraphrase, they were rebelling against the 1950s fantasy that was popular in the 1980s; they were rebelling against the backlash against the various civil rights movements of the time. The backlash culminated in the election of Ronald Reagan and the corresponding cultural change that still resonates today, nearly 30 years later.

Protest against regressive horseshit is fantastic, and should be encouraged.

By tapping into the anger caused by a society trying to maintain its own inequality, these musicians created an energetic, fast-paced genre spun off from the original punk movement. Songs were typically performed by people with very little musical talent, so the music had a very raw sound. Hardcore punk is more an outlet for emotion than an expression of art.

Unfortunately this limited sound produces a very repetitive style; most of the songs are near undifferentiable, and consist of naught but thrashing guitars and incomprehensible screaming. The documentary mirrors this repetitiveness. Talking head style interviews break up live concert footage. The interviewees mostly say the same things, and the songs mostly sound the same.

It's an interesting movie for the insight it gives into a fascinating musical and political movement, but it wasn't terrifically well done.

I give it 1 / 3 bloody noses

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