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Hardstyle is an electronic dance genre mixing influences from techno and hardcore. Early hardstyle typically consisted of an overdriven and hard-sounding kick drum with a lot of sustain, with intense faded or reversed basslines accompanying the beat. Hardstyle also utilises harsh and distorted synths, detuned and distorted sounds accompanying the main instruments along with a lot of modern hardstyle songs that also incorporate poetry and story telling within the music.
The natural evolution of music has seen hardstyle mellow out over time. What was once a very dark, assertive and powerful genre began to incorporate trance-like synths and uplifting melodies. Modern kicks are also now layered, with multiple layers of higher frequency distorted kicks, combining with a lower frequency tremble to create a thicker and fuller kick drum. During the mid-late 2000s, pitching kicks became popular in hardstyle as well, and all this has led to hardstyle becoming more accessible and popularity increased. Many hardcore artists produce hardstyle tracks as well, and many newer Hardstyle tracks are written in compound time (for example, older Headhunterz and Noisecontrollers work).
Hardstyle has also been an influence on other styles of electronic dance music as well, most notably big room house, that shares similarities with hardstyle, like structures, rhythms and later pitched kicks.