Deathcore

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Deathcore, which emerged in the early 2000s, is a sub-genre of metalcore that fuses elements of hardcore punk and death metal. Deathcore is similar to metalcore musically, except it is generally heavier, with a stronger emphasis on blast beats, death metal growling vocals, and more intense breakdowns. The genre has enjoyed moderate popularity in the extreme metal scene.

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4.21 | 7 ratings
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WHITECHAPEL Our Endless War Album Cover Our Endless War
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BORN OF OSIRIS A Higher Place Album Cover A Higher Place
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ETERNAL BLOOM
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Suffer With Me
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Lotus
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No Name Graves
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Death: An Anthology
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deathcore Music Reviews

ANTAGONY See Through These Eyes

Album · 2001 · Deathcore
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siLLy puPPy
One of the San Francisco Bay Area’s pioneering underground extreme metal bands, ANTAGONY which formed in the East Bay suburb of Danville in 1996 is notable as one of the very first bands to fuse its early grindcore and metalcore styles with death metal which led to the oft loathed and misunderstood subgenre now called deathcore. With an initial run from 1996 to 2009, the band broke up and then reformed in 2019. Essentially forming in the ashes of the metalcore band Y.F.H, ANTAGONY already began to experiment with a bizarre mix of grindcore, post-hardcore, tribal drumming and doom metal on its earliest EPs.

SEE THROUGH THESE EYES was the band’s debut full-length released in 2001 and soon got the underground metal world’s attention which immediately led to the band playing with several better known acts ranging from Pig Destroyer and Cattle Decapitation to Intronaut, Incantation, Dystopia, Obituary and many others. And rightfully so as the four members of the time (Nick Vasallo (guitar, vocals), Ben Orum (guitar, vocals), Justin Hughes (drums), Carlos Saldana (bass) really crafted something unique with this one. Unfortunately after the band’s Triangle of Hate tour of 2002, the band fell apart and never captured the same sound as on this debut.

SEE THROUGH THESE EYES is a mondo-freakish mix of Pig Destroyer styled grindcore, old school death metal and metalcore. The album is made all the more bizarre by slow plodding clean guitar parts that are creepily downtuned. The music is generally riff based existing somewhere in the world of grindcore or old school death metal but often in between. While some consider this the very first deathcore album, it’s not really a completely maturation of the style and sounds like a collective of elements just beginning to get acquainted and finding collaborative ways to mix and mingle at the party. Unusual for a “core” album, SEE THROUGH THESE EYES features many tempo changes, variations in guitar riffage and even a broader spectrum than usual for vocal styles. The one weak element on this album is the rather amateurish drumming which doesn’t match the musical potential.

Despite the album coming off as rather a DIY lo-fi garage project in many ways, the creativity is actually firing on all pistons making this a compelling slice of extreme metal that straddles the old school 90s and the early 21st century world of more technical and hybridized metal. It’s apparent quickly why these guys were quite the sensation live at this stage as they crank out their unique style in a highly energetic manic frenzy but allow slower brooding moments to let the dread and awe to creep back in. Unlike many brutal death metal bands and modern deathcore, this one is replete in variations in dynamics, metal styles and overall presentation. The vocals are quite extreme mostly shouted from under the din of the guitar, bass and drum attacks. Screams, growls, grunts and good old fashioned shouting changes things up. Sound samples add a bit of sonic variety as well.

I’m pretty enamored with this one as the band would get more polished with subsequent lineup changes. While i would have preferred a more competent drummer, the percussion is not horrible by any means and given the underground nature of this recording actually works on some levels. This lineup would soon splinter with Ben Orum moving on to form All Shall Perish and Justin Hughes going on to form Hacksaw To The Throat. Overall this is an amazing raw and filthy early deathcore experience that offers the element of surprise and a nice palette of musical motifs and ideas. A short moment in the band’s history that would never be repeated but a triumphantly successful one as far as extreme underground metal is concerned.

SUICIDE SILENCE You Can't Stop Me

Album · 2014 · Deathcore
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Kev Rowland
Released in 2014, Suicide Silence’s fourth album ‘You Can’t Stop Me” was the first without original lead vocalist Mitch Lucker who was killed in a motoboke crash in 2012, and the first to feature Hernan "Eddie" Hermida of All Shall Perish. Deathcore is a genre which seems to polarise quite a few people, and I note that Encyclopaedia Metallum do not include the genre on their site even though anyone who does not understand the subgenres of metal would think this should be there. For me it is still down to the band themselves and I have enjoyed some deathcore bands, and others not so much. I did once walk out of an event to get a beer when Suicide Silence were playing, not because I disliked the genre, but I disliked the band.

All the lyrics were written by Hermida apart from two (including the title) which were by Lucker, and it is obvious the band had a lot to prove with this album as it is always difficult to keep going when a key member dies, yet it is not unusual for a band to come back with their best ever release (think ‘Back In Black’). The stand out track on this is “Control” which features none other than George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher providing his dulcet tones which is strangely reminiscent on Dom Lawson on the live "Planet Smasher". There is a high energy throughout the album, and a great deal of complexity, but the band were obviously incredible conscious of paying homage to Mitch, and re-recorded "Ending Is the Beginning" from their debut EP with Hermida putting himself out there. I am not a huge fan of Suicide Silence, and am unlikely to change that based on this, but this is the best album of theirs I have come across and if like me you have rapidly passed them by then this may well be the place to start.

FIT FOR AN AUTOPSY Oh What the Future Holds

Album · 2022 · Deathcore
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Kev Rowland
The artwork may look pleasant at first glance, and the opening title cut may lead the unwary into a false sense of security, but we all know what FFAA are all about, and that is deathcore and here they have returned with their sixth album to pummel our senses yet again. What makes these guys stand out from the pack is not so much the powering rhythm section, or the three guitarists which know when to crunch or when to interweave, and not even Joe Badoloto who is such a towering presence on vocals but more with the way they use space within their music. The problem with many heavy bands is they only know how to keep turning it up to 11, not realizing that soon the senses are dulled, and what is the point of playing at 11 if the person at home only plays it on 2? There is a need for contrast which makes the heavy even heavier, the fast even quicker, the threat even more powerful, and on this album, they display an innate understanding of all of that.

It is no surprise to see this is already their most successful album to date, with strong chart success, as this feels just so good on so many levels. The music never stops moving, twisting into new directions, and due to the way they use space and mini breaks not only is one never sure where it is going to go next but the ears just get a chance to relax before being beaten up yet again. They throw in passages which are far more commercial, with normal singing, such as on “Two Towers” but there is always the sense of trepidation as one knows this is going to change dynamically, but as one does not know when the anticipation is always there. Deathcore rarely gets much better than this.

CARNIFEX Graveside Confessions

Album · 2021 · Deathcore
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Kev Rowland
Not long before turning to their eight album, Carnifex lost lead guitarist Jordan Lockrey, and the core quartet decided to continue as they were for the time being, which allowed a little more room in the music for the bass to make it presence felt. Given it was nearly fifteen years since their debut, ‘Dead In My Arms’, they also revisited that and re-recorded three of those songs for inclusion on this album – only bassist Fred Calderon did not play on the originals as he joined just after it was recorded, with the rest of the line-up of course being founder members Shawn Cameron (drums) and Scott Lewis (vocals) with guitarist Cory Arford.

This album was engineered in-house by drummer Shawn Cameron, the band recorded it almost entirely themselves with the help of Mick Kenney for the mixing and mastering, which means they had total control over the whole process. It also allowed them to reacquaint themselves with working as a quartet and what that meant for the music, and while there are overlays it is not to the extent one would expect with a twin guitar attack, and the arrangements are more balanced with Scott often brought back into the band as opposed to being over the top. They have a blackened approach to their deathcore, and the result is polished and exciting, although not quite as menacing as one might expect given the artwork. During the tumultuous year past, a new rawness arose, and examining this rawness ended up being a form of retreat. “It was another set of events that we couldn’t have predicted; sitting home, no alternatives other than to look at your problems, and write some music. In that setting, you get a very visceral version of us,” explains Lewis. “It makes for a very intense album, not just through the writing process, but through the listening journey, as well.”

This is a great place to start with Carnifex, who have a new life and presence with this release, and it will be interesting to see where they go from here. Fans of deathcore certainly need to seek this out.

CARNIFEX Slow Death

Album · 2016 · Deathcore
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Kev Rowland
Carnifex are one of those oddities, in that their core line-up has been incredibly stable pretty much since formation, and they even survived a year-long hiatus intact. At the time of this their sixth album in 2016, they still had founder members Shawn Cameron (drums) and Scott Lewis (vocals) while Fred Calderon (bass) and Cory Arford had both been there since 2007, with just guitarist Jordan Lockrey being relatively new, joining the band in 2013 when they started up again. When looking around at reviews it is interesting to see that this is quite a polarising album in that many people love it, while others feel it should not even be listened to as it is that bad. As for me, I definitely subscribe more to the former view than the latter, as while it may not be the most exciting release out there, it has something which lifts it from many.

This is deathcore, and while we do get a gentle moment or two in “Life Fades To A Funeral”, for the most part this is full on with heavy riffs and a band which are very tight indeed. The first half of “Countess of the Crescent Moon” actually shows a striking departure from the norm as if the whole album was like this then we may well be talking more about Cradle of Filth style Black Metal, but they soon return to form and growls combined with hard-hitting riffs and pummelling drums. Given how long these guys have played together it is no surprise they are tight, and they are certainly not strangers to being out on the road playing with the likes of Cannibal Corpse to the somewhat lighter Parkway Drive, which shows the cross genre appeal they have.

Polished yet still heavy, with finesse here and there, this is an enjoyable romp through the genre.

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