Nu style gabber aka Mainstream Hardcore

There was a somewhat divisive split in the hardcore scene starting in the late 1990s. Some producers started embracing a slower style characterized by a deeper, harder bass drum that typically had a longer envelope than was possible in the traditional, faster style. This newer sound was referred to as "New Style" (or "Nu Style") and "New Skool" and as the tempo got slower and slower it began to become similar to hard house.

Many hardcore enthusiasts hated hard house and the club scene it typifies, and frequently DJs would be booed by one group of fans and cheered for by another at the same party, depending on the tempo and style of music they were playing. This is similar to the rivalry and mutual dislike that surfaced earlier between fans of "regular" hardcore and happy hardcore. Eventually the two styles met in the middle, and most gabber today is produced in a bpm range of 160-170. This is typically a little bit slower than the Rotterdam style of the mid-1990s and somewhat faster than the slowest Newstyle tracks that emerged.

The difference between nu style gabber and the old skool one(presented in an earlier post)essentially consists in one thing: the tempo.

Oldskool gabba, staying true to its mentality, defines "hardness" in speed: tracks rarely go under 160 BPM, and bassdrum rolls often go up to a speed where the beats themselves are hardly distinguishable from each other.

Nuskool gabba, however, slows the speed down to 150 BPM, but extends the length of the bassdrum so the bass-frequency resonation keeps on longer. (In this aspect, "nugabba" obviously cannot be considered less powerful than its precursor, although slower hardcore is often less energetic.) A typical style is a style best made known by Rotterdam Terror Corps: the beats are divided into triplets and all hoover notes are played in a short, staccato-like fashion, giving the song a march-like feel.

A common misconception about gabber is that it is loud but primitive music. The style (somewhat limited by the fans' taste) evolved during the years into a creative genre, where complex rhythmic and melodic combinations are more and more common. In more recent gabber, melodies and drums are overlayed with various effects, which add richness to the music. Gabber has grown into a serious style of music where producers are encouraged to experiment, largely because the limited characteristics of hardcore, which force artists to approach several different music styles to create memorable music.

Because of the extreme tempo and aggression of the music, and the shaven heads and clothing preference being associated with skinheads or neo-nazis, some generalize that gabber fans are all members or supporters of neo-rightist or neo-Nazi groups. For example, in the early 1990s, gabber gained a following in the very small neo-fascist rave scene in the American Midwest and in Germany. Most gabber fans do not belong to the aforementioned groups, and many producers has released tracks that vocally speak out against for example, racism.

Random Track: Nitrogenetics - Pledge Of Resistance


  1. Some notes:

    - First known Nustyle track is "Intelligent Hardcore" by The Dark Raver and DJ Vince released in 1997.
    - The earlier tracks with marching rhythms and hoovers are more Nustyle, but it is debatable if the current Mainstream Hardcore with trance melodies and long breakdowns is this "Nustyle" anymore.
    - When referring to Mainstream Hardcore, the term "Gabber" is rarely used anymore in The Netherlands where this style originated. The usage died some time after the scene went underground in the late 90's. This wasn't the case in other countries though, so the term is still haunting around. "Gabba" is also a German Hardcore style that tends to be more uptempo (for example check out the label Gabba Nation). Nowadays in the Hardcore scene worldwide people tend to use the terms Hardcore or Mainstream Hardcore. The general term for the Mainstream style and the more underground subgenres is Hardcore Techno.

  2. I totally agree with the comment of Zutsuu.

  3. But you left something out...
    Gabber is more so associated with the evolution of acid house into a more faster aggressive techno style of music as to where the term Hardcore is more closely related to the evolution of a more industrial style influence. examples being The Netherlands for Gabber and the Frankfurt Germany style sound for Hardcore. Probably useless information but it is notable to point out that Hardcore today actually sort of comes from the joining together of many different evolutions of electronic music. The more aggressive you make electronic eventually it all becomes hardcore.