Did Pop Punk Kill Hardcore? Or Was It Emo? East Bay Punks Protected Left Beg To Differ With Their New Release, “Fossil”, Out On 10/28/2019

Release Date: 10/28/2019                                

Format: Digital 

Location: Oakland, CA

Current Lineup: (Per Facebook)

  • Mario: Guitar/Vox
  • Bret: Bass/Backing Vox
  • Trey: Drums

Favorite Tracks: Never Know, Old Life, Worst Part, and Reboot

Sounds Like: Overtime, Bottom Bracket, Voice Of Addiction, and The New Narrative


During the rise of pop punk circa 1990s I began to wonder what would happen to hardcore punk. Out of nowhere bands like Blink 182, Goldfinger and Greenday, began to overtake the airwaves. Its successor emo pop, was less desirable to me with bands like Fall Out Boy and Panic At The Disco. I knew punk was changing after seeing Fall Out Boy on the Warped Tour line up back in 2006. Don’t get me wrong I hold a special place in my heart for the Gilman bands, yet I’m not a big fan of emo. 

I like to also point out the massive popularity of the Tony Hawk Pro skater games as contributing to the rise of pop punk, although hardcore bands were on some of the soundtracks. So this leads me to today’s question. Did emo and pop punk kill hardcore? Before anyone accuses me of saying, “Punk Is Dead”, let me clarify PUNK NEVER DIED it only evolved into different forms. 

East Bay hardcore punks, Protected Left want you to decide with their latest release, “Fossil”. So let’s check out the new EP. “Never Know” is the first track up with powerful drums, heavy bass lines and intense guitar work. Lyrically it’s written in a question format. I dig it. 

The next rack is, “The Swell” this track is 100% skatepunk. This song could’ve easily ended up on one of the Tony Hawk soundtracks. Some heavy bass lines, almost metal with some sweet guitar solos rage on within. I think this where pop punk changed by losing the metal solos. I kind of miss them, so it’s great to hear a solo in this track. 

Next up is my favorite song on the EP, “Old Life”. The massive onslaught of fast hooks, perfected drums and vocals continues. A bad-ass guitar solo compliments the end, before slowing and allowing a few acoustic notes in. This song kicks ass! “Worst Part” follows being the shortest track on the EP, at 45 seconds long. Probably the best 45 seconds of my life! 

“Reboot” is the last track on the record and my second personal favorite. The lyrics are amazing, sad, yet hopeful at the same time. Here’s one for your, “Break Up Punk” playlist! It’s short and sweet. As we have come to an end, it’s time to wrap up this review. I began by asking the question, did pop and emo kill hardcore? The answer is, NEVER. There are a thousand or more bands out there playing hardcore for years to come. 

Pic by Heartless Jen

Protected Left’s, “Fossil” proves to us that hardcore is a root of punk rock and it’s staying power is timeless. With tracks like, “Never Knew”, “Old Life”, “Worst Part”, and “Reboot” this EP will leave you wanting more. Be sure to pick it up here on release day, https://protectedleft.bandcamp.com/. On a side note come see Chicago’s Voice Of Addiction this Saturday at BAR BAR!

Check out their last release below! Get it on tape!

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Track List (Per Bandcamp)

  1. Never Know
  2. The Swell
  3. Old Life
  4. Worst Part
  5. Reboot

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