Mathcore

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Mathcore is a progressive, rhythmically complex and dissonant style of metalcore that emerged in the 1990s. It was pioneered by bands such as Converge, Coalesce, Botch, The Dillinger Escape Plan and Candiria.

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THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN One Of Us Is The Killer Album Cover One Of Us Is The Killer
THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN
4.27 | 15 ratings
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PSYOPUS Ideas Of Reference Album Cover Ideas Of Reference
PSYOPUS
4.42 | 4 ratings
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BOTCH We Are The Romans Album Cover We Are The Romans
BOTCH
4.10 | 5 ratings
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ROLO TOMASSI Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It Album Cover Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It
ROLO TOMASSI
4.17 | 3 ratings
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CONVERGE Jane Doe Album Cover Jane Doe
CONVERGE
3.95 | 24 ratings
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THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN Irony Is a Dead Scene (with Mike Patton) Album Cover Irony Is a Dead Scene (with Mike Patton)
THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN
3.95 | 9 ratings
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THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN Dissociation Album Cover Dissociation
THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN
4.00 | 5 ratings
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THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN Calculating Infinity Album Cover Calculating Infinity
THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN
3.93 | 14 ratings
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PSYOPUS Our Puzzling Encounters Considered Album Cover Our Puzzling Encounters Considered
PSYOPUS
4.00 | 3 ratings
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THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN Ire Works Album Cover Ire Works
THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN
3.78 | 17 ratings
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CAR BOMB Centralia Album Cover Centralia
CAR BOMB
3.76 | 5 ratings
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BOTCH American Nervoso Album Cover American Nervoso
BOTCH
3.70 | 5 ratings
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mathcore Music Reviews

CAR BOMB Centralia

Album · 2007 · Mathcore
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siLLy puPPy
Formed on Long Island, New York the mathcore band CAR BOMB didn’t waste any time crafting a totally obnoxious fusion of metalcore bombast with progressive rock complexities. After a couple demos, the quartet of Michael Dafferner (lead vocals), Elliot Hoffman (drums), Greg Kubacki (guitar) and Jon Modell (bass) set out to create the loudest and most abrasive musical output they could muster up and on the debut CENTRALIA which was named after an utterly doomed town in Pennsylvania that was abandoned after an underground mine fire, these hyperactive and over-imaginative freaks pretty much succeeded.

Mathcore is a challenging and difficult listening experience for sure. Absolutely everything is wrapped with the sonic equivalent of barbed wire and only accessible for those with Ankylosaur armor, however it is impossible to dismiss CAR BOMB as mere noise makers no matter what your musical proclivities happen to be. This is a serious band that as over the top as it may be, engages in highly nuanced and sophisticated slabs of iron plated metal music that excels at an equal ratio of bombast turned way past 11 and unpredictability calling its bluff and upping it one hundred and elevenfold. The results are enough to wake the dead and to kill the living.

While mathcore got its start in the New York based Lethargy all the way back in 1992 with Mastodon drummer Brann Dailor in the mix, the most irritating subgenre of metal has become, well, even more irritating as time goes on! Yep, it’s all about maximizing the most extreme forms of music and taking them even further, EVEN further than the comfort zone of most self-proclaimed metalheads. Add a heaping mix of progressiveness to the mix and you have something that will instantly suffocate the uninitiated and make all the non-open-minded ones of the world instantly run for cover as this stuff is the equivalent of a nuclear attack in the musical world!

With tags like technical, complex, heavy, aggressive, dissonant, energetic, manic, uncommon time signatures, dark, hateful, pessimistic, misanthropic and arhythmic, you know you’re in for one heckuva ride with CAR BOMB. Clocking in at a merciful 32 minutes, CENTRALIA is a non-stop metal bombast ride through extremely aggressive sonic assaults. The music is relentless as pummeling guitars, bass and drums are accompanied by the most hardcore screamed vocals that Dafferner can force out of his throat. Not overly far from what bands like Behold The Arctopus and Psyopus have to offer, CAR BOMB maintains its own distinct sound that offers a scant few moments of reflection with soft clean guitar passages but more often than not pummels the hell out of your senses with an incessant supply of start / stop guitar riffs decorated with unusually complex time sigs.

Graced with track titles such as “Cielo Drive” which refers to one of the locations of the morbid Manson Family killing sprees, you know what you’re in for with this brutal beast and at this stage CAR BOMB was merciless with one brutal arrhythmic assault after another and for that i am completely enamored with this completely anti-commercial display of aggressive and energetic parade through bombastic riffs and incessant orotundity. Every musician on this one is at the top of his game and as far as the most brutal extremes of mathcore without the complete surrender to atonality, then you can’t go wrong with CAR BOMB’s excellent debut album CENTRALIA. This is the stuff nightmares are made of. Don’t close your eyes, sunshine. You might be in the wrong CAAAAAAAAAR! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

DAUGHTERS Canada Songs

Album · 2003 · Mathcore
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After the tiny little declaration of existence from the 2002 debut EP that only clocked in under five minutes, the Providence, Rhode Island based DAUGHTERS emerged the following year with their official debut album CANADA SONGS which nearly tripled the playing time of just over 11 minutes long but yet despite the short playing time found the band evolving significantly and packing in as much activity as a warehouse of fireworks exploding in the night’s sky.

It didn’t take much time at all for DAUGHTERS to carve out their own niche in the core arenas of the metal underground. While staunchly retaining their grindcore roots, this band of naughty noise makers pummels through ten tracks at breakneck speed incorporating punk infused core elements with technically laced progressive time signatures run amok with a rather avant-garde process of adding the playful interplay of timbres, tones and tempos with brief moments of psychedelia.

Possibly the mathcore version of Between The Buried And Me, right from the opening track “Fur Beach,” DAUGHTERS carpet bombs the listener with a dizzying array of musical elements tucked away in every blistering guitar riff led cadence that include bizarre mercurial stylistic changes within the technically steeped potpourri. The winning team of Alex Marshall (vocals), Jon Syverson (drums), Pat Masterson (bass) and Jeremy Wabiszczewicz (guitar) display an uncanny instrumental tightness as if they are telepathically connected.

While DAUGHTERS were clearly in the noisecore section of the music store, they were much more as they deftly crafted melodic constructs that unfolded within the context of chaos tantamount to taming a seemingly untamable multiple-alarm fire in a munitions factor that explodes in harmonious and orderly ways. Crazy chaotic guitar swirls coalesce into freaky pseudo-melodies kept staple by oscillating rhythmic stability, atypical no wave atonalities nihilistically creep into the nooks and crannies. Surreal sounds effects ebb and flow unpredictably.

For those who are not familiar with the bombastic origins of DAUGHTERS may be shocked to hear how crazy these early recordings are compared to the more chilled and detached feel of the modern fairly metal-free albums like “You Won’t Get What You Want” sound. This debut is a live wire of excess energy that attacks like a lightning bolt from the sky and you, the listener, are the lightning rod to receive the full electrical shock. This is only for the most hardcore extreme metal addicts out there. Listen with caution but don’t be surprised if you actually start liking this!

DAUGHTERS Daughters

EP · 2002 · Mathcore
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With an errant disregard for niceties and general aberrancy, the Providence, Rhode Island based DAUGHTERS debuted in 2002 not as the neo-no wave and industrial sensation that they have become known for but rather as a punk infused mathcore noise making unit that formed in the ashes of the grindcore band As The Sun Sets where vocalist Alexis S.F. Marshall, guitarist Jeremy Wabiszczewicz and drummer Jon Syverson all played together.

After the addition of Pat Masterson on bass, the new group reconvened as DAUGHTERS and released this debut EP only three days after their official formation. At a mere 4 minutes and 13 seconds, this tiny four track vinyl 7” was more like a declaration of existence rather than a bona fide release but nevertheless displayed a new more technical infused evolution that moved beyond the As The Sun Sets experience.

The track titles pretty much tell the whole story: “Hello Assholes” (1:00), “Flattery Is a Bunch of Fucking Bullshit” (1:35) “A Room Full of Hard-ons and Nowhere to Sit Down” (0:31), “My Stereo Has Mono and So Does My Girlfriend” (1:07) as they display extreme contumaciousness punk infused hostility alongside a rather humorous display of irony.

Even at this early stage DAUGHTERS was already displaying a trait that allowed them to stand out from the other bombastic noise based acts in the core subs of metal. While the members were just as capable of cranking out the caustic guitar and bass riffs with pummeling percussion and hostile screamed vocals, the extra touches elevated DAUGHTERS to a higher status.

Tucked into the swirling salvoes of grindcore outbursts are intricate progressive touches that allow the riffs to shape shift with extreme time signature deviations coupled with more surreal softer passages that take a 180 from the frenetic cannonade of relentless orotundity that pummels the senses. While a mere blip on the greater music scene, this eponymously titled debut EP nevertheless sowed the seeds.

At this point DAUGHTERS weren’t too different from other technically infused mathcore bands like Botch, Car Bomb, Psyopus, Behold… The Arctopus or The Dillinger Escape Plan but somehow they managed to infuse a little of their own personality into these tiny turgid eruptions of unbridled energy. An interesting start for those who want to go back to the origins.

THE ZYGOMA DISPOSAL The Forgotten

Album · 2013 · Mathcore
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While the mathcore style of metal (a subgenre of metalcore, often referred to as noisecore or experimental metalcore) had its roots back to post-hardcore punk of the 80s with most notably Black Flag and Minutemen providing a unique inspiration in the polyrhtyms, dissonant riffs and complex rhythmic tempo changes, the sub really took off in the 90s with bands like Botch, Coalesce, Converge and The Dillinger Escape Plan added extreme metal elements and were leaders of this brutal and bombastic pack. The sub was fairly popular throughout the early 2000s with bands like Between The Buried And Me and Psyopus taking it to its logical conclusion by adding ridiculous layers of progressive complexities. The sub kind fizzled out with some of the bands dropping the math/metalcore aspects and focusing on just progressive metal.

Well, knocked out but not dead, the mathcore / metalcore style still inspired a many up and comers with its schizoid freneticism fueled by extreme metal bombast. Belgium’s THE ZYGOMA DISPOSAL didn’t want to accept that the party seemed to be over and nobody was dancing any more. Come 2010 this band would release a two-track EP titled “Flesh.Made.Void” but wouldn’t put out their debut album THE FORGOTTEN until 2013. Quite similar to the progressively infused metalcore antics of Between The Buried And Me’s colorful “Colors” era, THE ZYGOMA DISPOSAL turns out to be one of the genre’s best kept secrets with their exquisite talented musicianship as they schizophrenically zigzag through different soundscapes and tie them all together quite well.

The album is bookend by two completely non-metal tracks. “The Lost” is a lounge jazz opener that sounds more like something you’d hear at a speakeasy from the 20s that even has a trumpet in the mix. The finale “The Alone” is a mellow-rocker that slowly ratchets down the intensity into a mesmerizing cooling off period that attempts to pacify the listener after having been sonically assaulted. Everything in between though, is pure intensity! This actually begins at the final moments of “The Lost” which bursts into heavy rock elements before the next track “Minus Infinity” begins the mathcore assaults. Right from the getgo, bands like Dillinger Escape Plan and Between The Buried And Me certainly come to mind by THE ZYGOMA DISPOSAL have latched onto their own style of mixing the mathcore with disparate non-metal elements.

One of the strongest elements of THE ZYGOMA DISPOSAL are the excellent diversity of guitar riffs. With a mathcore tag, one can expect the usual frenetic schizoid million-mile-an-hour riff assaults whizzing up and down the scales with staggeringly complex time signature abuse, but guitarist Kenzo effortlessly scales the metal guitar with Deftones styled alternative metal riffing, swing jazz, or just plain old heavy metal. The band contrast the deafening orotundity with spaced out moments that uses piano, trumpets and horns to great effect. While the vocals are permanently set on aggro-over-the-top screaming like hell has taken over, there are creepy vocal samplings that pop up from time to time. While frenetic in nature, the music doesn’t always gallop as fast as humanly possible, but rather contrast within the dissonant metal phases is quite common as well. Tracks like “Grim Haven” are just completely unhinged and only for insane asylum dwellers!

Forget trying to find a physical copy of this one. They sold out the scant copies made a long time ago. This is pretty much a Bandcamp experience only but if you’re interesting in bands like Between The Buried And Me, The Dillinger Escape Plan or War From A Harlots Mouth with a penchant for jazz-influenced mathcore and outstanding turn at the drop of the hat changes, then THE ZYGOMA DISPOSAL is a band you should check out. BTW, the word ZYGOMA refers to a bone of the side of the face below the eye which forms part of the ZYGOMATIC arch and part of the orbit in mammals. Also known as malar bone. It’s sort of a roundabout nerdy way to explain what to expect here. A form of music so crushingly brutal that it’s like a punch to the face that DISPOSES of parts of your anatomy! While devastatingly bombastic, the thread that keeps THE FORGOTTEN together is it always retains a melodic thread stitched throughout.

PSYOPUS Odd Senses

Album · 2009 · Mathcore
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PSYOPUS only took a mere two years to follow up their melody mutilating sonic assault “Our Puzzling Encounters Considered.” And although ODD SENSES pretty much picks up where that album left off with their insane mathcore metal that is turned up past 11 and is guaranteed to frighten small animals and parents, there has been drastic changes in instrumental duties! In fact only mainman Christopher Arp is back with his insane guitar antics and all other musicians are making their debut in the strange musical butchery of PSYOPUS. Firstly, Adam Frappolli has been replaced by Brain Woodruff on vocals. Secondly Fred Decoste has been replaced by Michael Horn on bass and finally Jason Bauers has usurped the percussive throne of Jon Cole and also contributes some marimba to the mix. Surprisingly, the band sounds relatively similar to the past in the shredding core elements that would strike fear into any sensitive ears but there are also plenty of fresh new elements on board to make this a worthy continuation of the sonic melody mutilations heard on the first two albums.

While the intro “44” is a short ambient slice of doom and despair, quickly the true opener “Medusa,” a track that describes the difficulty of getting over someone when you have to see them all the time, ushers in both the core elements of PSYOPUS but also finds Woodruff adding some death metal growls to the mix. Arp is on fire as he not only displays his hammer-ons from hell but manages to induce a trance-like experience from super-slides as well with as much intensity as you could expect. Despite all the usual mathcore elements on board with the PSYOPUS stamp of approval they add all kinds of new touches to create a more dynamic ear canal assault for the listener to engage in. Tracks 1-5 are pretty much heaviness of the usual PSYOPUS plan with creative new ways to destroy melodic developments and seduce sinister spirits into creating anti-earworms but there are plenty of surprises on ODD SENSES.

“Boogeyman” is quirky crazy as it begins with several members including the girl who left the telephone message on the previous album’s bonus track all taking turns reading poetry and each member reciting random words with a music box in the background but alternates with the brutal mathcore assault that we know so well. A tried and true tradition continues with a third installment of “Imogen’s Puzzle Pt 3’ only this time is recorded with a back backmasking technique without any obvious Satanic messages to be found. Paul McCartney is still alive and only Jay Chou can hear it “只有你能聽得到!” “Choker Chain” is the typical mathcore as usual but also continues the theme of the extended theme of troubles with women as it incorporates the echo effect of the hidden track on “Our Puzzling Encounters.” On that hidden track a girl leaves a telephone message and when she says the word ANNOYING it last for 23 minutes. On “Choker Chain” this effect is used repeatedly with irritating cliche clingy girlfriend quotes mixed which finds its way tucked in between the metal outbursts.

“Ms Shyflower” begins with Gregorian chants of some kind and then becomes more of a heavy progressive metal type of music heard from Enslaved but ultimately picks up with the zany aggro vocals however the guitars stay fairly reserved for Arp as it’s not about craziness and more about mood setting. Perhaps the most alternative track that utilizes dissonant chords rather than frenetic hammer-ons and finger tapping but still heavy as friggin’ hell. “A Murder To A Child” proves to be the most UN-PSYOPUS track of all and all about Arp’s delving into avant-garde classical music with dissonant guitar chords and bizarrely structured progressive compositional styles. It’s totally a classical acoustic piece with Matt Colbert helping out with classical guitar, Owen Tomaszewski on cello and Adam McOwen on violin. As usual Arp adds on an overly long hidden track that takes up over 20 minutes of real estate, however this one is actually pretty interesting when they shut the bleep up. The music is basically a continuity of different jam sessions that cover the gamut of different types of metal to simply hard rock. Unfortunately it also includes pathetic attempts to be funny with ridiculously stupid skits that are stupid as bleep. This is a good case of why musicians need to stray far from the comedy world and vice verse (hear that Eddie Murphy?) Nevertheless despite this final faux pas of stupidity, i really love this album. Very cool for anyone who delves into the extremities of metal.

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