Metalcore

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Metalcore, a portmanteau of metallic hardcore, is a fusion sub-genre of heavy metal. The genre is a diverse blend of a number of elements, melding the genre’s roots in hardcore punk with death metal and and thrash metal. The genre saw its beginnings in the late 80s when bands such as Integrity, Earth Crisis, and Converge began to fuse elements of the hardcore punk scene with the heavy metal and thrash metal scene. Metalcore is not the first metal-hardcore hybrid, and a distinction is made between metalcore and crossover thrash, which is a hybrid of thrash metal and hardcore punk, but which, unlike metalcore which is broader in scope, focuses on a number of specific elements from both genres.

These bands began to develop a similar style, with linear compositions with aggressive verses and melodic chorus with an emphasis on breakdowns, where the music slows and becomes much heavier, which is conducive to moshing and head banging. Breakdowns are generally considered as the defining element of metalcore. From 1989 to 1995, this style of music exploded in popularity in the underground metal community. After 1995, numerous bands began to put more emphasis on melody in their metalcore, fusing more melodic death metal, post-hardcore, and occasionally emo elements into their music. By the late 90s and early 2000s, many metalcore bands had attained a very popular status, with bands such as Avenged Sevenfold, Killswitch Engage, and Atreyu enjoying popularity outside of the normal metalcore scene and successful album sales.

Much of the metalcore genre has a similar and distinct style, which is based upon intense vocal work, much of which is either screamed or growled, and some artists combine these with clean melodic vocals in choruses and other passages, heavy and often at times technical instrumentation with a heavy emphasis on down-tuned, palm muted guitar and double bass-based drumming, and a heavy emphasis on breakdowns and solos. Although some bands are exceptions to this style, the vast majority of metalcore bands share this similar style.

A number of distinct sub-genres of metalcore have emerged over the years, with Mathcore and Deathcore being the most prominent.

Mathcore (which has its own child-sub on MMA), emerged in the mid-90s with the work of bands such as Converge, The Dillinger Escape Plan, and Botch, is the fusion of elements of math rock, which is rock based on complex time signatures, rhythms, and instrumentation, and metal genres such as thrash metal, death metal, and metalcore itself. This genre has a heavy emphasis on speed, aggressiveness, and intense instrumentation.

Deathcore, which emerged in the early 2000s, is another sub-genre of metalcore which fuses elements of hardcore punk and death metal. It has its own child sub-genre here on MMA due to it prominence and popularity.

Melodic Metalcore can also be called out as a subgenre with acts like Avenged Sevenfold and Killswitch Engaged and other acts who mix hardcore punk with melodic death metal.

Electronicore / Trancecore emerged in the 2000s, melding metalcore and post-hardcore with electronic elements. The style was made popular by bands such as Attack Attack!, Crossfaith, Enter Shikari and The Browning.

Another subgenre is Progressive Metalcore, which some include under mathcore, while others distinguish between mathcore and progressive metalcore, with mathcore emphasising technicality and progressive metalcore displaying progressive traits without necessarily being technical.

Metalcore bands such as Winds of Plague and Across the Sun have begun to incorporate symphonic elements into their style, suggesting the rise of yet another metalcore subgenre - namely, symphonic metalcore.

There are also artists who operate at the fringes of the genre, who are sometimes categorised as metalcore acts and sometimes cross into a neighbouring genre as in the case of God Forbid, who operates within the transition zone between metalcore and thrash metal.

Metalcore Inclusive Genres:

Deathcore

Mathcore

Melodic Metalcore

Trancecore (A.K.A. Electronic Hardcore)

Written by Andyman1125 with the input of the Metal Music Archives admin team.

Sub-genre collaborators:
  • Bosh66 (leader)


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Album · 2017 · Metalcore
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siLLy puPPy
SIKTH took the progressive metal world by surprise when they debuted their unique and demanding debut release “The Trees Are Dead & Dried Out Wait For Something Wild” in 2003 which along with the avant-garde tendencies of Meshuggah changed the coarse of djent guitar styled extreme progressive metal in the early 21st century. This Watford, England based band emerged seemingly out of nowhere and showed the world a new way of melding the avant-garde with progressive rock and metalcore. Despite being cited as major contributors to the djent guitar sound and dizzying mathcore freneticism, SIKTH only released two albums in a four year span and then suddenly disappeared into the ethers of the underground only to let a whole slew of imitators (think of bands like Periphery) to fill the newly created vacuum. In 2015 the band dropped a little teaser of an EP called “Opacities” which showed that they were still in top form and ready to jump back into the mosh pit and fight it out with the newbies on the block. Finally in 2017 we see the long waited third release THE FUTURE IN WHOSE EYES? which emerges a full eleven years after the last full length album “Death Of A Dead Day.”

One of the main reasons for the band’s initial demise in 2007 was the fact that the duo vocal team of Mikee Goodman and Justin Hill had left the band to pursue other musical endeavors and since a great deal of SIKTH’s signature sound is utterly dependent on this one-two vocal punch, the band called it quits lest they sound like any old metalcore band with progressive leanings out there. The band rekindled their connections when Goodman returned but Hill had apparently jumped ship for good, so in with the new blood and Joe Rosser makes his debut as the second vocalist. The album also has been released in two formats. There’s the original release with 12 tracks and the Earbrook Edition that has two bonus discs, one of re-imagined tracks and another of the entire album in all instrumental form. Whaaaat?!!!! Now who wants to hear an instrumental album of SIKTH? The vocals are half the fun! I’ve forsaken this bonus pack and stuck with the originally intended program.

As the album begins with “Vivid,” it sounds like SIKTH never went away as the combination of Goodman’s socially conscious lyrically prose bursts out in schizophrenic screams with the combo effect of Dan Weller and Graham Pinney’s duo guitar onslaught of blistering core based guitar riffing. The rhythm section of James Leach on bass and Dan Foord hammering out precision percussion is fully aflame as well. SIKTH is back and means business. “Century Of The Narcissist?” only continues to ramp up the frenzy and sounds very much like SIKTH’s comfort zone as heard on previous albums only incorporates a nice mix of both screamed and clean vocals with a rather alternative metal type of riffing approach. “The Aura” displays a new style for a full album SIKTH album although was present on the EP “Opacities” as baritone poetry is read introducing yet another blistering metal assault to the senses. At this point it’s clear that SIKTH has mellowed out a bit as they have incorporated a lot more slower passages that mix and mingle with the bombastic as fuck trademark maniacal madness that they are known for.

“The Ship Has Sailed” is yet another short poetic prose with dark ambient musical accompaniment that ushers in yet another progressive metal / metalcore frantic mashup. By the time we get to “Cracks Of Light” it is apparent that the spoken poetic prose mixed with the clean progressive metal style is here to stay as the hardcore elements are deemphasized and only appear in certain proportions in the mix. While these developments were laid out on the EP “Opacities,” it is now quite apparent that the band has been working on fusing these elements into their new style which takes the balls-to-the-wall aggressiveness all the time and allows the music to expand into a more diverse arena. Depending on your reaction, you could possibly deem this as an attribute of “selling out” or simply “maturing.” Perhaps it’s a bit of both considering three singles have been released from this one, however bands need to move on and find a new relevant way to express themselves and metalcore is not exactly the easiest of metal genres to expand one’s tentacles into new arenas. SIKTH prove on THE FUTURE IN WHOSE EYES? that they can still stand ground with the best of the newer metal bands out there.

True that this one doesn’t have the same whoah factor that the first two albums did and it took me a few more spins to appreciate but once it sinks in, the results are stunning in how they have mixed and melded hitherto unthinkable aspects into their musical mania. In addition to the newer elements already mentioned, there is a very mature approach to the production standards which is quite professionally and pleasantly executed. After a skeptical start with this album, i think it has grown on me to the point i’m actually glad that SIKTH have returned. With the more dynamic effects of pacing the aggressive elements that intermittently commingle with more ambient and more subdued alternative metal approaches, SIKTH have found yet another avenue of musical delivery which is very different than their earlier albums where it was 100% adrenaline firing at full speed with more subdued respites later on. Here they maintain a flow of different energy levels that ultimately works quite well. While this album does tend to lack some kind of major high that blows me away, i can’t fault it in any way as well. It seems that it was only my unrealistic expectations that kept me from initially warming up to it. After accepting it for what it is, i’m quite enamored by the maturity of composition and musical performances.

ATTILA Chaos

Album · 2016 · Deathcore
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Kev Rowland


So, Attila are back with their seventh studio album since their debut in 2007, and they are still peddling the same brand of deathcore that either makes them a great band or not, depending on your opinion. To say they are immature is probably one of the politer ways of describing them, as they roll out a string of words designed to offend in “Public Apology”, and I just kept thinking that it might appeal to me if I was fifteen years old again – although I still think I had better taste in music when I was that age. Their music also owes a great deal to Korn and bands such as Limp Bizkit, although not nearly as good (and I must confess to not being a fan of LB either).

Some of the songs do show some promise and even some originality, with the more death-oriented “Obsession” being a case in point, but there is just too much banality and pandering to hopeful radio play to make this an album that I will ever suffer again now I have written about it. That they have made it to the seventh album says something their perseverance, and possibly something about the target audience, but this isn’t for me.

STEVIE T. Album of Epicness

Album · 2015 · Metalcore
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Unitron
While heavy metal has its fair share of comedic acts, with the likes of bands such as Psychostick and Tenacious D, metal hasn't really had a band or musician parodying in the vein of Weird "Al" Yankovic. Sure, most comedic metal bands have a sense of parody to their humor, but Steve Terreberry (Stevie T.) may just be the Weird "Al" of rock and metal.

With an album titled Album of Epicness, which features a cover with Steve looking like some deathcore dude-bro, this clearly isn't something that's going to be intellectually stimulating. What we have here are hilarious parodies of various rock and metal bands/genres all played with great musicianship. There's a mix of various styles here, the most prevalent being metalcore/deathcore. "Emotionless and White" is a parody of Motionless and White, "A Night to Forget" jabs at A Day to Remember, "White Veil Grooms" takes on Black Veil Brides, etc. "Heaviest Song Evar!" mocks the standard technical and brutal death metal bands that sound just like the other, and contrasts the brutal music with the opposite on the lyrical end.

Each parody really nails the source material, and Steve takes no prisoners when it comes to mocking these bands. The best one, and one that I didn't actually know who it was mocking until I looked them up, is "Gangsta Djent". It's a pretty hilarious rap-metalcore song, and it became even funnier when I heard the source material, Attila. It's spot on, and it's not even an exaggeration. Be sure to watch the music video for this one, it makes it that much better. Another one of the best is "All Alone, and No One to Bone". This song brings a long-needed jab on the breed of whiny alternative rock bands that have dominated rock radio since the 90's.

While Stevie T's Album of Epicness most likely isn't going to be an album that will be in constant rotation on a listeners stereo, it certainly makes for one hell of a good laugh. Combined with the videos, these songs are a great slice of musical mockery. If you want a laugh (and can take a joke if you like some of the bands parodied), then check this album out. Hope you found this review helpful, feel free to comment!

SIKTH Opacities

EP · 2015 · Metalcore
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siLLy puPPy
After a near decade absence after their 2006 album “Death Of A Dead Day,” the English progressive metalcore outfit SIKTH dropped a little EP out as an appetizer to keep their fans salivating for yet another full album. Despite only having released two full-length albums, OPACITIES is actually the fourth EP following the twin EP output of 2002 and the 2006 release “Flogging The Horses.” The band members are exactly the same as their previous lineup, so this is very much a genuine SIKTH release and once again the band delivers an outstanding cross-pollination of hard and heavy metalcore fused with their brand of extreme progressive metal that often reminds me of the type Enslaved weaved into their albums such as “RIITIIR.” OPACITIES is a short but sweet EP with six tracks not quite reaching the half hour mark.

OPACITIES pretty much continues the well-known style that SIKTH unleashed on their full-length albums, that being highly caustic core type riffing mixed with progressive song structures. While on the full albums Mikee Goodman utilized his frenetic screaming vocal effect as his main sonic instrument of torture, on this one there is a lot more emphasis on clean vocal delivers. The opening tracks “Behind The Doors,” “Philistine Philosophies” and “Under The Weeping Moon” are the most recognizable SIKTH tracks sounding very much like the noisiest and obnoxious tracks heard on the earlier albums, however the core elements are somewhat toned down and progressive metal riffing is just as and often more prevalent and sometimes it actually sounds more akin to heavy alternative metal styled riffs.

The biggest surprises are the spoken word “Tokyo Lights” which utilizes a poetic approach along with vocalized shadow and sound effects to create a very memorable and bizarre track. With no instruments to be heard. “Walking Shadows” returns with the full furry of progressive core riffing and metal intensity including some trademark frenetic vocals akin to the opening tracks but “Days Are Dreamed” completely changes things up with an etheric atmosphere that introduces a clean vocal track that is not metal at all but rather a progressive rock composition that will probably remind more of the newer Opeth albums than of earlier Sikth releases as the mood is thick and the symphonic touches dominate.

OPACITIES is a quirky little mix of old and new for SIKTH but still manages to deliver a satisfying shot of their unique hybridization of progressive rock, metal and the core elements that they belt out with all the technical precision one would expect. This band has maintained a very high standard and is fairly consistent from one release to another and in that regard OPACITIES will not disappoint especially if you can appreciate the diversity of styles as heard on albums such as “The Trees Are Dead & Dried Out Wait For Something Wild.” This EP rekindles the past but also points to newer directions that the band could possibly carve out and expand on future releases, so it is indeed a satisfying whetting of the appetite for fans to anticipate.

RAUNCHY Velvet Noise

Album · 2002 · Metalcore
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UMUR
"Velvet Noise" is the debut full-length studio album by Danish metal act Raunchy. The album was originally released through the Mighty Music sub label Drug(s) in 2001, but saw a reissue and a wider distribution through Nuclear Blast Records in 2002. Raunchy was formed as far back as 1992 and released three demos before being signed.

Stylistically the music on "Velvet Noise" is a melodic metal style combining elements from melodic death metal, industrial metal, metalcore and alternative metal. It´s actually not easy to pin down, but no matter what genre tags you put on the music, the band´s main focus is melody, melody and more melody. Even the most harsh parts on the album are melodic tinged or feature hooks of some sort, and that´s basically the story of Raunchy in a nutchell. Call it pop metal, death pop or whatever you like, but no one can deny that the music is damn catchy, instantly memorable and relatively sing along friendly, considering that this is still extreme metal of some sort.

The tracks are predominantly vers/chorus structured and the vocals are typically raw "core" tinged and aggressive in the verses and clean and melodic in the choruses. Keyboards are a dominant element in the band´s sound in addition to the regular rock/metal instrumentation of guitars, bass and drums. I´m often reminded of contemporary Soilwork and even Fear Factory, although Raunchy are not nearly as brutal or aggressive as any of those artists. "Velvet Noise" features a well sounding, clear and powerful sound production, which suits the material well.

And when the whole thing is delivered by skilled musicians and obviously written by composers who understand how to write memorable material, "Velvet Noise" ultimately comes off as a quality release. It´s also the band´s most raw sounding release and not nearly as polished as some of their later output, which is pretty great actually. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

metalcore movie reviews

SHADOWS FALL Madness In Manila: Shadows Fall Live In The Philippines 2009

Movie · 2010 · Metalcore
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Kingcrimsonprog
Madness In Manilla is a live DVD/CD combo released in 2010 by the Massachusetts based American Metalcore band Shadows Fall, which was recorded live at Summerslam Festival in the Philippines back in 2009. The performance features a career spanning sixteen-track setlist that is balanced and which covers all the band’s most well known material as well as a few less expected numbers for variety.

This DVD is a proper full-length concert video of a single concert, as opposed to how either their previous DVD, The Art Of Touring or for example Down’s Diary Of A Mad Band were set out. Luckily for most concert fans, the set isn’t interspersed with home video footage or animations either, just the live performance from beginning to end.

The band play on a large outdoor festival stage along to an incredibly detailed light show, with all sorts of rotating, panning and altering lights, spots and colour changes, as well as lots of dry ice.

The camerawork features lots of movement, with all sorts of cranes and dollys employed along with the usual camera crew, the whole operation is a lot more complex and professional than any of the band’s previously available live videos from bonus discs and such things.

You get a lot of coverage of the instruments being played which is always a plus for viewers who are musicians and a good cover of the band’s famously proficient drummer Jason Bitner. What you also get to see a lot of is singer Brian Fair windmilling his knee-length dreadlocks, which is an interesting sight all things considered.

Whilst there are a lot of positives to be said about the visuals, there are some issues in the shot matching, occasional framing problems and the dry ice can effect the picture quality, it switches from incredibly high resolution shots on cranes and not so great images on handhelds. Furthermore the menus are cheap looking and basic so it isn’t as absolutely perfect as some bigger band’s festival DVDs or equally sized band’s indoor concert DVDs, but is still a strong release overall.

Standout tracks include the furious performance of early classic ‘Crushing Belial,’ which is opened with an enthusiastic yet expletive description of its epic status by Brian, which gives you a good idea of the energy and attitude that then goes into the ensuing performance. Other highlights include the Grammy nominated set closer ‘Redemption’ as well as the newer track ‘War’ which hammers away at a relentless pace.

Additionally; there are bonus features, which include four more live videos for ‘The Light That Blind,’ ‘Redemption,’ ‘Venous’ and ‘Thoughts Without Words,’ from Japan, The Philippines and Korea respectively, although the quality obviously isn’t as high as the main feature.

The sound and mix are great, so judging the product overall; the only real problems with the DVD apart from the previous mentioned visuals are subjective problems with Shadows Fall in general. If for example, you think their material is samey then sixteen tracks in a row may be a bit much for you, and similarly if you are used to their super-polished studio sound, then the live backing vocals or clean sections may well sound odd or strangely out of place.

Otherwise however, Madness In Manilla is a very good release from Shadows Fall that I would definitely recommend to fans. Due to its high sound quality and expansive setlist, it would make a fine introduction to the band for newcomers as well.

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