Most popular in The Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Belgium, characterized by heavy bass drum sound, usually created with distortion, generally 150-220 bpm.
Gabber, gabba (pronounced gahba or gahbuhr in Dutch) is a subgenre of hardcore techno. The style was born in the Dutch city of Rotterdam in the early 1990s.

The essence of the gabber sound is a distorted kick sound, overdriven to the point where it becomes a square wave and makes a recognizably melodic tone. Gabber tracks typically also include samples and synthesised melodies with the typical tempo ranging from 160 to 220 bpm.

The term 'gabber' traces its roots back to the Hebrew word "khaver", meaning 'mate' or 'friend', the word is at this moment a normal word in the Dutch language. Apocryphally, one of these gabbers wanted to enter the Roxy in Amsterdam, where the bouncer said, "No, gabber, you can't come in here." Source of the Dutch term for the genre, "gabberhouse", was DJ "Hardy" Ardy Beesemer.

Gabber is characterised by its bassdrum sound. Essentially, it comes from taking a normal synthesized bassdrum and overdriving it heavily. The approximately sinusoidal sample starts to clip into a squarewave with a falling pitch. This results in a number of effects: the frequency spectrum spreads out, thus achieving a louder, more aggressive sound. It also changes the amplitude envelope of the sound by increasing the sustain. Due to the distortion, the drum also develops a melodic tone. It is not uncommon for the bassdrum pattern to change pitch throughout the song to follow the bassline.

The second frequently used component of gabber tracks is the "hoover", a patch of the Roland Alpha Juno synthesizer. A "hoover" is typically a distorted, grainy, sweeping sound which, when played on a low key, can create a dark and brooding bassline. Alternatively, when played at higher pitches, the hoover becomes an aggressive, shrieking lead. Faster gabba tracks often apply extremely fast hoover-patterns - gapping (changing the volume rapidly between the maximum and silence) is often used. Common elements also include guitar riffing (often done live at gabber parties) and MCing (more often than not also distorted).

Lyrics and themes of mainstream gabber usually deal with self-indulgence, sex, violence and anti-establishment. However, it must be noted that gabber songs usually carry a hint of irony in themselves - although some songs are meant to be taken seriously, this is by no means a trend. Lyrics in conscious gabber tracks usually you revolve around psychiatric behaviour to conspiracy theories, apocalyptic revelations and social criticism, albeit a large portion of these themes come from speech samples taken from movies and other songs.

Random track: Rotterdam Terror Corps - Gabber mafia


  1. I wonder if there has been a gabber track with positive lyrics and themes?

  2. rtc - gabber mafia???

    wtf gabber mafia is recored by gabber mafia

  3. of course there R smarter lyrics ;)

  4. Gabber is not a musicgerne, it's a subculture, the track is oldschool hardcore.

  5. Who cares about the lyrics of a gabber track. Back in the early days the voice samples just had to have something "cool", using the voice as an additional instrument, instead of being a singer/rapper.