Tel, who is in the band Chadburger, has written two brilliant reports to show how alive hxc is in Korea! Get inspired...
Cheongju used to be the second biggest scene in Korea, and there was MF Crew (Mooshimchun Fuckers Crew; Mooshimchun is a river running through the city, 'chun' is Korean for river) who ran a label and promoted regular shows in the city. The scene there seems to have disintegrated since MF Crew disbanded a year or two back.
13 Steps were heavily involved in MF Crew, they are now signed to GMC. One of the biggest bands in Korean hardcore. I think they're based in Seoul now, though I'm not sure. Their current guitarist and drummer are in the veteran streetpunk band Rux, so 13 Steps are forced into periods of inactivity. Their first two CDs are fantastic, fast NY style hardcore; their new(ish) full-length is much more metallic-sounding which is less to my tastes, but it got a great reception in the scene here.
The only other hardcore bands I can think of coming out of Cheongju right now, though, are Combative Post who play melodic hardcore in a similar style to FC Five from Japan, and Sink To Rise who play old-school hardcore and got a lot tighter after a couple of recent lineup changes. Sink To Rise actually have two bassists, but since no clubs in Korea have the correct equipment to plug in two bass guitars at once, they have to take turns playing shows...!
Both those bands are on Townhall.
Daejeon has a barely-existent scene. The only band I'm aware of is Noeazy, who are a metalcore band signed to GMC.
Daegu is a scene that everyone in Korea is hoping will replace the Cheongju scene. Flagship band Sinklair play melodic hardcore, they cover a couple of Comeback Kid songs so I'll be lazy and use that as a point of comparison.
Their singer Dooho is one of the leading members of Ballaz Crew, along with a guy named Donghwi who is in a new band called Blood Brothers.
My favorite Daegu band is Axcutor; though they regularly play hardcore shows in Daegu (even opening for Bane last month), they actually play a blend of grind and death metal.
Shows in Daegu are generally well-attended, by a relatively young audience; the hope is that enough of these kids will go on to form bands.
Busan has a small but strong scene, which as far as hardcore goes is mostly based around 24 Crew. The four bands in that crew are...
Lazarus Vendetta (grindcore)
FatalFear (melodic death/thrash metal)
Gwamegi (used to be a mix of hardcore and grind, but seem to have mellowed out lately and now play metalcore)
To My Last Breath (deathcore, released an EP on Townhall last year). There's gotta be more hardcore in Busan (and Daegu, for that matter), but I'm so far removed from that city that I don't know about it.
As for 'zines... bROKe In Korea was an English-language 'zine covering all aspects of punk and hardcore here, and published 3~4 times a year; I'm pretty sure that's dead and buried now, though. There are a few Korean-language 'zines such as Rosa Times (named after its editor, Jae-hwa aka Rosa), but I don't speak much Korean so I am not too aware of what's out there in Korean language.
You've probably noticed the word 'crew' pop up several times... coming from the Western world, I always used to associate the word 'crew' with dumb macho idiocy, but over here that's definitely not the case. There is little to no fighting at shows and as far as I know there are no serious beefs anywhere in the scene. In this country, a crew is still what it used to be in the West - nothing more than a group of friends helping each other out.
Straight-edge is also much more positive here than it is in the West, though it's also much rarer. Every straight-edger I've met in Korea is aware that the decision they've made is theirs, nobody tries to tell people that they're not allowed to drink/smoke/whatever. The Geeks are the only straight-edge band as far as I know (and only 2~3 of the five members are straight-edge). I'm straight-edge, but none of my bandmates are, and I don't make it a lyrical topic. I wouldn't be surprised if there's less than 50 sXe people in the whole country, including foreigners (who are usually around for a year at the most). The documentary Edge has just been translated into Korean by Ki and a girl called Mi-Jin, and will premiere in Korea next Sunday; it'll be interesting to see if it has an effect on the popularity of the straight-edge lifestyle in Korea.
I'll try and be more concise next time, promise! (because I won't be sitting here trying to make sure I haven't missed out any friends' bands!)