Monday, 26 July 2010

Bosnia - Tuzla

As far as back in late 80s and the beginning of 90s Tuzla had its deep roots in hardcore/punk/metal music. Though much notable in the early 90s, metal scene and the bands representing it had its counterpart in early thrashing hardcore band Ludilo.

This band is widely considered as first to play loud, fast and raw punk music which appealed to the underground youth of Tuzla and Yugoslavia in general. Ludilo managed to release couple of EP’s and the LP Idi Bez Traga containing tracks such as Terror Piva, Daj Seko Daj and Egoista.

Perhaps the most prominent band through 90s was mighty Rupa u Zidu. They were punk rock band fronted by charismatic and influential Damir Avdić who was one of the originators of free thought, even in war times during the first half of 90s in Tuzla. In almost 10 years, Rupa u zidu released 4 albums: Samo hladno in 1991, Budi samo na distance in 1994, Love Me My Darling in 1995 and Laku noć pacijenti in 1996. The 5th album Kora was recorded in 1999 but it was never published. After decade of sharing stage with Rupa u Zidu, Damir Avdić continued to perform alone, releasing a few albums during the first decade of the new millennium. He also wrote a few books and theater plays.

In the late 90s and early 2000s punk band called Punkart emerged from Tuzla’s basements bringing the new energy and revitalizing the scene. They critically spoke about politics and the nationalist government fronted by SDA party, although Tuzla was probably the only city in Bosnia Herzegovina which wasn’t led by nationalist (negative context) party.

Early 2000s were productive for Tuzla’s hardcore scene as some newcomers appeared...

Nula Plus

Despotic Bullet (formerly Landsberg)



Defence (rapcore phase of the band)

Almost all of them played more aggressive and metal influenced style of music, supported by harsh vocals and heavy riffs, finding their influences in Pro Pain, Sepultura and early thrash metal bands such as Metallica, Slayer etc. Despotic Bullet played shows sporadically as to couple of years ago, often flirting with metal sounds and covering bands such as Sepultura etc. They self released Demo in 2005 containing 5 tracks. Likewise DB, Backstab also didn’t play or rehearse on regular bases, they recorded couple of demo songs, and played club and festival gigs.

The most notable was probably the one with Sarajevo’s hardcore giants Kontra on their 5th birthday. As far as Nula Plus is considered, this band was formed of members of Ludilo and some metal bands from Tuzla area. At their very beginnings, they played some kind of NYHC style of music, supported by screaming vocals, making their appearances on some notable festivals and demo band contests, even winning one. Over the years Nula Plus changed numerous members, experimented with other musical forms including electro and lost almost all their fans, losing touch with hardcore scene and lacking attitude.

By 2005 almost all hardcore punk bands were dead or played for their sake in rehearsal rooms. A few kids were sick of this lethargy and inaction on the scene, founding now prominent hardcore band Hobson’s Choice. This new energy put Tuzla back on the map, and brought home some essentially new ideas, as HCXHC (Hobson’s Choice hardcore) introduced straight edge ethics through its lyrics for the first time in Tuzla hardcore history. They openly criticize the school system, government, foreign troops in Bosnia Herzegovina, religious fanaticism etc.

HCXHC regularly plays gigs around Bosnia Herzegovina and ex Yugoslavia. Up to this time, they have released two EP’s - Dysfunctional Family in 2007 and With Brute Force in 2009; and currently recording long awaiting LP under the title Deadly Groundz. Over the years band was heavily influenced by the sound of bands such as Knuckledust and early Throwdown but the latest course sets the band towards trashy sound. The lyrics and thematic approach were majorly influenced by Trial, Seattle, WA. HCXHC’s members (also known as HCF – Hobson’s Choice Friends) traditionally organize annual show every June including prominent Balkan hardcore/punk/metal bands; distribute releases through ZERO distro; organize lectures and documentary films projections; actively involve in alternative scene of Tuzla etc. Through this period Hobson’s Choice became if not the most active band on Bosnian underground hardcore scene taking its part on prestigious festivals and notable gigs around this area such as Exit Fest, Sarajevo Metal Fest, Interground Fest, Rising Force Fest, playing shows with bands such as Kontra, Toxic Death, Born From Pain, Dead Vows, My Dying Bride etc.

Sadly, HCXHC is the youngest band on Tuzla hardcore scene, as some bands tried to tell their stories but called it quits before they actually emerged out of their rehearsal rooms such as punk hardcore band Treća Smjena or changed their course by leaving hardcore scene and making their names playing metal such as Contusio (ex Sacrifice). According to the first Hardcore Matinee which was overcrowded and took place this June in honor to the 5th birthday of Hobson’s Choice, there is still hope that some new kids will involve in the scene.

It is important to state that hardcore gigs in Tuzla never happened at regular basis, simply because of lack of space, but also because of disinterest in making some, which often forced promoters to improvise. Moreover Tuzla has never had any hardcore fanzines, labels etc. There are currently no active hardcore bands except Hobson’s Choice or individuals who are actively involved in hardcore scene except those in HCF (except Damir Avdić (ex Rupa u Zidu) who regularly publishes books and music regarding to social phenomenon in Bosnia Herzegovina). Backstab called quits, Despotic Bullet doesn’t rehearse anymore, Nula Plus takes part on mainstream scene and Punkart changed its course from punk to indie rock.

The most notable gigs in Tuzla were: SMF + Punkart in 2008 (almost 600people attended the show), benefit show for the little kid Mahir - Born From Pain + Hobson’s Choice + MTS in 2009, Devastation (USA) in 2008, Bogamber in 2007, and annual shows by HCF including bands such as Kontra, This Is How We Feel (SRB), Toxic Death, Neverlost (SRB), Trash Union (SRB), MTS, Unrise, Backstab, Despotic Bullet and many more.


  1. hey Brian thanks for this one.


  2. Ziveli za odlican tekst.