Stylistic origins Oldschool jungle
Cultural origins Early 1990s, United Kingdom
Typical instruments Synthesizer - Drum machine - Sequencer - Sampler
Mainstream popularity Low
Derivative forms Drum and bass, especially darkstep
Hardstep - Darkstep
(complete list)

Darkcore is a subgenre of jungle (not be confused with the more recent developments of Hardcore) that became popular in the United Kingdom hardcore rave scene in late 1992. It is recognized as being one of the direct precursors of the genre now known as drum and bass. Darkcore was a counter movement to the happy alternative that occurred at the same time — both styles evolving from breakbeat hardcore. The name was most likely derived from the track "Darkcore" by Two Dark Troopers, released on Basement Records in 1993.



Darkcore is characterized by layered breakbeats at around 150 to 160 bpm combined with very low frequency bass lines. In addition to these basic traits, dark themed samples such as horror movie theme music or cries for help were commonly included. As the style evolved, the almost gratuitous use of horror elements was dropped as producers relied more on simple effects such as reverb, delay, pitch shifting and time stretching to create a chaotic and sinister mood.

Artists and Labels

Many of the British hardcore and junglist DJs of the day dabbled in darkcore for a time, mostly around its heyday in 1993, but some of the more notable DJ/producers of darkcore include:

  • Johnny Jungle
  • Goldie
  • Doc Scott
  • Jack Smooth
  • Metalheadz productions
  • Reinforced records
  • 4 Hero
  • Tango
  • Bizzy B
  • Remarc
  • Lewi Cifer
  • Hyper-On Experience
  • International Rude Boyz
  • Q Project
  • Top Buzz
  • DJ Ratty
  • FBD Project
  • Fallout
  • DJ Crystl
  • Skanna
  • Essence of Aura
  • Peshay
  • Wax Doctor

Significant releases

The 1993 CD release Hard Leaders III - Enter The Darkside contains many popular darkcore tunes of the era.

Examples of darkcore tracks

  • BlisSsynth - The Tell Tale Heart
  • Metalheadz - Terminator
  • Nasty Habits - Dark Angel
  • Two Dark Troopers - Darkcore
  • The Invisible Man - The Beginning
  • FBD Project - The Core
  • Boogie Times Tribe - The Dark Stranger (Origin Unknown remix)
  • Skanna - Until The Night Is Morning
  • DJ Scoobie - Wait 4 The Bass
  • DJ Crystl - The Dark Crystal
  • Tango & Ratty - The Killer
  • Fugitive - Mind Games
  • Remarc - Help Me
  • Phrenetic - The Candy Man
  • Jungle Buddha - Drug Me
  • Green Buddha - The Chamber
  • Trip - The Snowball
  • Lewi Cifer - Heat
  • Babylon Timewarp - Changing
  • Sound Corp - Regentime Part 2
  • DJ Gershwin - Solar Energy
  • Ed Rush - Bloodclot Artattack
  • DJ Dove - Bird Of Prey
  • Essence Of Aura - Soul Temptation
  • T.H.C - The Dark Zone
  • DJ Crystl - Deep Cover
  • Dillinja - Deadly Ceremonies
  • Criminal Set - Dreamscape
  • Silver Fox - Dreaded Beast
  • Origination - Out Of This World
  • Q Project - Champion Sound
  • DJ Hype - Weird Energy
  • Essence of Aura - Can I Dream
  • Doc Scott - NHS
  • Suburbia -"2"The Dark

Darkcore today

Today, darkcore is used to describe the entire array of breakbeat producers and DJs who work within the 160-190+ BPM tempo range. Its current configuration, darkstep, is notably different in quality and process availability as the modern drum and bass elements are included.

See also

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