Minor Threat was one of the original innovators of hardcore and easily one of the most brilliant of the genre (alongside such contemporaries as Bad Brains and Gorilla Biscuits, and that's not even including west coast hardcore at the time, with such standouts as Black Flag, Dead Kennedys, and the Circle Jerks). Although it's often said that Bad Brains invented hardcore, Minor Threat did a great job of refining the burgeoning genre and altering it to fit their own purposes, as many HC bands of the time did. Bad Brains merged a high-speed punk sound with reggae influence and rastafarian sounds, and Gorilla Biscuits gave the genre a dose of metal. Minor Threat always had a pure, fast punk sound. They played songs with extremely fast guitar progressions, bass lines, and explosively fast drum beats.

To go along with their endless fury and unrelenting energy were some very intelligent and insightful lyrics by the charismatic Ian MacKaye. His work with Minor Threat is best remembered for single-handedly inventing the straight-edge movement with the song of the same name, a 45 second blast of light-speed hardcore with lyrics rejecting drug abuse. Since then Ian has refused to associate himself with the straight-edge movement, which has unfortunately become, with exceptions, a cult of dogmatic and intolerant youngsters who are sometimes even prone to violence.

Minor Threat released a few explosive and powerful records in the early / mid 80s. These are all collected on the utterly flawless and totally essential Complete Discography CD. They include classics like "Minor Threat", "Bottled Violence", "Out of Step", and of course "Straight Edge" as well as great covers like the incendiary version of Wire's "12XU" and The Monkees "Stepping Stone." I highly recommend that everyone pick this up if you haven't, it's one of the most energetic, brutally insightful and influential hardcore punk music ever made.