Hardcore never went away, the kids have been playing in basements and garages and small spaces since I can remember. When I lived in Vermont in the late 90's there were always shows going on, there was a space in Burlington where i saw Iceburn (in their jazzy stage, not their crunch stage) and there was a teen space in Brattleboro that was always having punk shows. Here in NYC there are weekly shows at ABCNO RIO and everytime I'm visiting the family in Maine I see shows advertised around Portland and New Hampshire.
But in the 90's you had all the Lookout and Billy Joe shit going quadruple platinum, and there's commercial bands that sort of hardcore sound (more of a cheap mosh metal with expensive gear really) but the singer starts singing the lamest lovey dovey lyrics. I want to kill him. Or worst, shitty rap pus.
For me, hardcore went down a dead end alley with "crust", its a one idea one sound, near tuneless guitar blur, the same fucking drum beat and a singer with less melody than a deisel engine. i think there is a similarity with some of the contemporary noise scene. People make a lifetime career out of one idea. Well , it keeps it simple and predictable for everyone. Or, they pour some kind of food product over the audience and themselves and the next day the blog-dogs are shouting "brilliant and genius"!
For me, the Negative Approach reunion was probably the most important event in American music last year. That and the Rhys Chatham tours.