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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metalcore Music Reviews

DEAR SUPERSTAR Confessions Of A Twisted Mind

Album · 2006 · Metalcore
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Vim Fuego
There was a time, believe it or not, when the first thing someone wanting to play in a rock band did was to go out and actually learn how to play an instrument. Dear Superstar do the decadence and excess thing, but unlike many a hairspray rock pretender, these guys earned the privilege first.

If you like hearing guitars being shredded, but without the heavy metal attitude, you can't go far past "Sunset Strip Suicide". The title and lyrics might be straight out of mid-'80s LA, but it doesn't have the posture or pose of yet another Mötley Crüe tribute song, because guitarists Rockhurst and McNasty can actually play. The song also has a delicious drunken swagger to it.

Sure, impressive licks and high tensile hooks are good, but are merely decorations if there is no medium in which to express them. Well, Dear Superstar do songs too. There's not a hint of filler anywhere. The title track drives like Guns N' Roses at their best. "Falling Apart" is a hard edged power ballad, and yes, you guessed it, a girl is the cause of the troubles. The main recurring riff to "Break Up" sounds like Eddie Van Halen playing a cameo, but the rest of the song is surprisingly more like One Minute Silence, vocals included.

Vocalist Micky Satiar has the occasional shouty emo lapse, but then redeems himself with moments of pure Zodiac Mindwarp-style theatre, minus the unintentional self-parody. In other words, he can sing and doesn't sound like a big girl doing it. Satiar shows a fairly diverse range. OK, so he's no Mike Patton, but he does melodic, clean, emotion-charged, rapped, shouted, whispered and roared. It often sounds like the band has more than one singer, but it is just the single larger-than-life personality in the spotlight.

If you're sick of bands promising much and then delivering fuck all because of lack of ability or attitude, Dear Superstar could well save a lot of disappointment. Try other bands first, by all means, but do yourself a favour and check these guys out soon.

ARCHITECTS All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us

Album · 2016 · Metalcore
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Kingcrimsonprog
All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us was the critically acclaimed 2016 album from British Metalcore champions Architects. It is their seventh full-length release, their most successful to date, and their final album to feature Tom Searle before his untimely and tragic passing. It was produced by Fredrik Nordstrom (Arch Enemy, At The Gates, In Flames) and released on Epitaph records.

Architects fans generally fall into three categories; people who only like the incredibly brash and technical Dillinger Escape Plan-influenced early days. People who worship their breakthrough album Hollow Crown above all else, and people who favour their newest three albums. Me, I’m in the latter camp. My favourite of all their albums is Lost Forever // Lost Together.

My second favourite of all their albums is this. All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us is a real achievement. It is arguably their finest and most diverse record to date and when you take personal favouritism out of it, objectively their best. Their electronic side is fleshed out the best here. Sam’s voice is the strongest its ever been here. The balance between their heavy and contemplative sides is at its most harmonious here. Its got their best lyrics to date in my opinion. The production job is utterly perfect, the twinkling electronics float and the crunchy riffs really crunch.

The musical style comes close to Djent a lot at times especially with the balance of progressive metal style clean beautiful vocals, floating electronics and crunchy rhythmic, awkward riffing. They don’t fully immerse themselves in that one style but fans of it would love this album. Its one colour in their bigger picture. They also look in some more commercial directions here too, and luckily they have the tact and taste not to sound like they’re selling out or anything, again its just one part of a bigger whole. Its a very natural evolution of the style they’ve been refining since 2012’s Daybreaker.

Highlights include the punishing opener ‘Nihilist’ (which is the sort-of title track), as well as the rhythmic single ‘A Match Made In Heaven’ and the touching Anathema-esque closer ‘Memento Mori.’ It fittingly tells us to be mindful of death.

Overall; this is a stunning, tasteful, diverse and beautiful album that lives in a mathy, techy, heavy world too. It is expertly written, played, produced and has some fantastic lyrics. Its one of the band’s better if not best albums and if you like the band you’d be mad to miss it (unless you really only like the earliest stuff only). If you like bands like Tesseract, Circles or Monuments I’d also highly recommend this one to you to try.

TRIVIUM The Sin And The Sentence

Album · 2017 · Metalcore
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Kingcrimsonprog
Let me say this quickly before you stop reading. This album is a fucking masterpiece. A gigantic game-changing triumph we didn’t expect! This is hands-down the best album of their career and a new high for the subgenre. An almost from out of nowhere about-face turn, skyrocketing them from diminishing returns to champions. No, I wasn’t expecting it either, but go with me on this…

Right, still reading? Ok, with that out of the way. Lets do the review.

Trivium have had a funny old career. Their output has been really varied. They’ve done some really heavy and some really melodic stuff. They’ve done some technical progressive stuff and some simplistic groovy stuff. They’ve gone brash and brutal and they’ve gone mature and commercial. Not only has their music been really varied but so have the reactions from both their fan-base and the critics for every album. Every new album seems to sees them pick up new fans they’ve never had before and lose diehards who hate the new material or direction. Critics in one territory or from one background may hate the early stuff and love the mid career stuff and its vice versa with critics from another territory or background. Some albums are beloved in Germany but forgotten in the UK. Some are cult classics in America but underrated gems in Europe.

Me, I’ve liked every single one of the bands albums. A few of them I’ve loved. Like the majority of fans I’d say the best three are Shogun, In Waves and Ascendancy. I also have a huge soft spot for Silence In The Snow too due to its Classic Metal and Power Metal vibes but I understand how some fans of the heavier or techier stuff aren’t into that one.

This album, even with all that said, is just straight up and unarguably in another damn league. The energy in the performances; the fantastic satisfying crunchy production, the best and most diverse vocals of their career, the best drummer they’ve ever had hands-down… these are all factors that elevate this album above the rest of their discography. As are the songs themselves.

The songs are some of the most diverse, inventive and interesting songs they’ve written musically and structurally to date. They mix a vast array of styles that the band have dipped their toes into over the years and a lot of new stuff to. They have some of the band’s most interesting and memorable riffs and solos to date. They take twists and turns you don’t expect and catch you off guard. They showcase all of the musician’s talents at times but leave space for the lyrics and vocals to take center stage at other times. Sometimes they’re haunting and beautiful and sometimes they’re furious and heavy as balls, just riffing the fuck out of a big groovy riff.

Do you remember back when Machine Head were new and they were the cool new thing, and then they altered their style and tried new vocal techniques and production styles and lots of fans jumped ship but then The Blackening came out, all full of energy and anger and just plain amazing songs and suddenly tore everyone’s heads off and now Machine Head are bone-fide legends? This album is Trivium’s equivalent of The Blackening. It doesn’t sound anything like it, but that step-up in quality and energy and absolute revitalization of their career? That’s the same!

A lot of people online and in print have been going nuts over The Sin And The Sentence and justly so. In a recent interview Trivium mainman Matt Heafy said that the band decided they would have to write the best album of their career or else give up because they are always second guessing themselves and changing their styles and going through as many drummers as Spinal Tap. Well, Trivium ‘aint giving up now, because this is unequivocally their best ever work. Maybe its because Paolo is writing more of the songs than Matt. Maybe its because they are letting some of their Black Metal and Skate Punk influences mix into things instead of trying to purely do a mix of Groove Metal, Thrash Metal and Classic Metal like their original mission statement. Maybe new drummer Alex Bent just injected a new lease of life into them like Todd La Torre did to Queensryche. I don’t know why, but this thing is just on a whole other level.

Its quite a diverse album that really doesn’t sit in any one space for too long. ‘Betrayer’ mixes Ascendancy-era brutality with Pennywise style Punk and a happy Power Metal lead guitar sheen, but ends up with blast beats in the middle. ‘Thrown Into The Fire’ is the darkest and heaviest thing they’ve ever done at times and has undertones of Dimmu Borgir, but then at other times is just an absolute riff and solo school that…ok maybe this one does sound a bit like The Blackening actually. ‘The Wretchedness Inside’ is the kind of thing they were doing on the heavier deep-cuts from In Waves mixed with some jaunty Prong-style disco beats and a guitar effect than almost recalls Damageplan on their weirder songs like ‘Blunt Force Trauma’ or ‘Explode,’ it also has a strange midsection that remind’s me of Slipknot’s ‘Custer’ but then it has one of the most satisfying and heavy riff-out moments like Messuggah or something and that transitions into really pretty, clean Maiden-esque guitar lines. ‘The Heart From Your Hate’ is probably the most conventional song on the album, and it mixes their ‘In Waves’ and ‘Brave This Storm’ style staccato riffing with their ‘And Sadness Will Sear’ style mature The Black Album-worshiping stuff.

For fans of the band’s heavier side ‘Sever The Hand’ pretty much alternates between especially crushing groove metal riffing and pissed off Thrash Metal sections throughout. Fans of the band’s cleaner more commercial side won’t be disappointed either. Although this is one of the band’s heaviest and most progressive and technical albums yet, there’s still some stuff to get into if you prefer the heart-throb-Heafy stuff they previously showcased on ‘Dying In Your Arms’ and the like. ‘Endless Night’ for example lives in that sort of territory. Its just got a hell of a lot more energy, verve and attitude to it. The drums and background guitars give it a cool sort of Coheed & Cambria quality rather than just radio rock.

I’d try to pick out highlights but the album doesn’t sit in any one place long enough (hell the songs don’t either) to really establish a good version of it. I wouldn’t cut a single track and I’d like to see each of them live. Its all great. Its all interesting and diverse. That’s “diverse,” yet really cleverly constructed and naturally flowing though, not wacky-“diverse” were stuff that doesn’t fit is just smashed together. This is an album you can listen to over and over again and find new depths, new nooks and crannies. ‘Oh hey I didn’t notice that cool drum fill before’ sort of stuff. Not “why are they playing a bassoon over old-school Tampa Death Metal riffs during their Lady GaGa cover?” sort of stuff.

Its hard to hand out a man of the match award either. Matt’s voice is so much better than its ever been (check out ‘Beauty In The Sorrow’). Paolo’s songwriting is so much better than its ever been. Corey’s guitar solos are just as good if not better than they were on the glorious guitar-line fueled Silence In The Snow. Oh yeah, and there’s Alex Bent, whose drumming absolutely makes the album. More than the cherry on top its almost the whole goddamn cake.

Overall, the Sin And The Sentence is an utter masterpiece. If you like Trivium do not miss out on this at all. If you used to like them and stopped, don’t you dare miss out on this one either, this is the one to get back into them on, seriously. If you’ve never listened to them I strongly urge you to change that. I’d even go as far as to say “If you only get one Trivium album, make it this.” This isn’t just a good Trivium album, or a good album, this is a game-changer.

XIBALBA Diablo, Con Amor​.​. Adios.

EP · 2017 · Metalcore
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Nightfly
Reviewers Challenge Nov 17.

This three track E.P. is my first taste of Xibalba as I only occasionally venture into metalcore/deathcore territory. Doing a bit of homework and checking out some previous releases from this USA band they seem to have gone for a simpler approach than on their last album, 2015’s Tierra Y Libertad which I have to say I found more involving and prefer to this.

That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with this release though. At just over two minutes Diablo kicks things off and the sound is raw, the tempo slow, blending death metal, metalcore and doom. Con Amor is more up tempo, at least initially before they bring it down for a slow grinding breakdown. Adios is the longest of the tracks at over five minutes and probably the most interesting of the three. Whilst it maintains the traits of the first two songs the riffs are more compelling and they throw in more tempo changes. The standard of musicianship is good and the vocals a cross between a shout and a death growl which do the job but nothing more.

All in all this is the kind of release that I quite enjoy whilst listening to it but with so much other great music out there am unlikely to return to in a hurry. That said I’m tempted to go back to Tierra Y Libertad for another blast.

BLINDFOLDED AND LED TO THE WOODS Modern Adoxography

Album · 2017 · Deathcore
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Kev Rowland


Christchurch is the third largest city on New Zealand, with a population of approximately 450,000. For those who are unaware, Christchurch was struck by two earthquakes in September 2010 and January 2011, which caused considerable damage to the city and the loss of 185 people. Since then the city has been rebuilding, both physically and emotionally, and the result is a community that is incredibly close and bonded together. I live some 30 minutes outside the city, near the township of Oxford, and have been here for a couple of years now. All of this makes me feel incredibly annoyed that the only way I have managed to discover this death metal outfit is by being sent a digital copy by an American PR company!

Apparently, “Adoxography” is a term coined in the late 19th century, and means "fine writing on a trivial or base subject". That these guys have been inspired by Dillinger Escape Plan, and have been supporting them on their recent NZ tour, is of little surprise. Here was have death metal with a crazed edge, music that is abrasive, sharp and twisted, while losing none of the brutality that one would expect from the genre. Here we have ten relentless tracks in thirty-five minutes of crushing riffs, technical wizardry, and merciless vocals. While the band's musical foundation is built upon brutal death metal, elements of demented grindcore and bizarre sci-fi tones weave their way into the complex structures, resulting in an engaging and damaging listening experience.

I can only hope that the guys are able to tour outside Aotearoa, as music as good as this needs to be heard by a much wider audience than the restricted population of New Zealand can afford. This is brutal, uncompromising, and very, very good indeed.

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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