Melodic Metalcore

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Melodic metalcore is a subgenre of metalcore, with a heavy emphasis on melodic instrumentation, blast beats, metalcore-stylised breakdowns and clean singing. The genre has seen commercial success for employing a "more accessible and commercial style" than typical metalcore. Many notable melodic metalcore bands have been influenced by melodic death metal.

Where metalcore evolved out of hardcore punk with added metal elements such as double bass drumming and thrash-like guitar and vocals, melodic metalcore often stemmed from metal bands adopting hardcore punk elements.

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melodic metalcore top albums

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TRIVIUM
4.45 | 30 ratings
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TRIVIUM The Sin And The Sentence Album Cover The Sin And The Sentence
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4.28 | 12 ratings
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SHADOWS FALL The Art of Balance Album Cover The Art of Balance
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melodic metalcore Music Reviews

BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE Bullet For My Valentine

Album · 2021 · Melodic Metalcore
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Kev Rowland
They may have sold some three million albums, but there is no doubt that Welsh metalcore outfit Bullet For My Valentine have never really lived up to the promise of their first two albums. Although their debut, ‘The Poison’ is the most regarded by many, for me it was 2008’s ‘Scream Aim Fire’ which really grabbed my attention, and I was convinced we would be hearing a great deal more from this band. However, although they have a considerable fan base, the critics have never been hugely supportive over the years, due in no small part to some inconsistent releases. This is their seventh studio album, and while the first three are all well worth hearing and enjoying, the last three not so much, so what would this be like?

It starts with the age-old concept of playing snippets of songs in the background as if someone was playing the radio, but whereas the concept worked well for both Pink Floyd and Kiss, here it just drags which made me wonder what the rest was going to be like? It takes a full 90 seconds for “Parasite” to kick in properly, and when it does then the introduction is (somewhat) forgiven (although it is pointless). Here we have Matt Tuck doing what he does so well, leading the band on a headlong journey of aggression and power, linked in tightly with Padge as they have been since the very beginning, while drummer Jason Bowld is all over the kit, throwing in triplets and nice kick drum while bassist Jamie Mathias provides the platform for everyone to build on.

There is not much room on here for peace and quiet, but they understand the need for dynamics, so we get breaks in some songs, a more peaceful introduction there, a touch of djent here, and there are times when there is plenty of space and others when it is a wall of sound. To my ears this is easily their best album since ‘Fever’, and a nice return which metalheads will surely enjoy.

TRIVIUM In The Court Of The Dragon

Album · 2021 · Melodic Metalcore
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Kev Rowland
I first came across Trivium when I was asked to review their second album, 2005’s ‘Ascendancy’ which just blew me away. A few years later I was fortunate enough to see them headline a gig in Auckland (supported by Whitechapel, what a night) and then went to see Disturbed just because they were one of the support acts (and then walked out on the headline as they were boring in comparison). Lead singer and guitarist Matt was one of the founders back in 1999 while Corey Beaulieu (guitars, backing vocals) has been there since 2003 and bassist Paolo Gregoletto since 2004 while this is the third album they have recorded with newbie drummer Alex Bent so it is no wonder they are tight.

Here we have a band determined not to live on past glories, but instead are at the height of their powers and have released possibly the finest album of their career to date. Everyone is confident in their place in the group, and at this time in their career feel there is no need whatsoever to restrict themselves in any way, which means they can be intensely melodic here, touching into death there, pushing symphonic there or being downright metalcore if that is what they wish to do. This a dramatic, soaring album which should see them step up in terms of popularity as there appear to be no limits to what they can do after this. However, Trivium’s popularity and media presence has been up and down over the years for some strange reason, even though their output has been consistently solid and this album allowing them to demonstrate just what a powerful entity they can be.

I only hope this release gains enough popularity for themselves to yet again consider coming to the end of the world as this is a superb piece of work which metalheads need to uncover.

KILLSWITCH ENGAGE Live At The Palladium

Live album · 2022 · Melodic Metalcore
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Kev Rowland
During the COVID lockdowns of 2021, Killswitch Engage decided to play a gig with no audience and stream it. Not only that, the setlist consists of 2019's ‘Atonement’ in full, along with the 2000-released self-titled album in full, which along with some additional tracks makes for 20 songs and a running time of just over 70 minutes. This band have had some quite incredible stability in that singer Jesse Leach, guitarists Adam Dutkiewicz and Joel Stroetzel with bassist Mike D’Antonio (bass) were there at the beginning while Justin Foley (drums) has been around for more than 15 years. However, Leach did leave for a number of years, being replaced by Howard Jones, before coming back. This often leads to fans stating that one singer is better than the other (a favourite topic of fans of bands like Van Halen, Iron Maiden, Genesis etc.), but to my mind each is perfectly suited to the material they were working on at the time and I enjoy both periods. True, my absolute favourite KS material is “My Curse” which is a Jones song, which may be why it doesn’t feature here. But there is no ill will between the singers and Jones has appeared in concert with KS at times, although this time that was not possible due to restrictions.

For a band who have been as successful and active as Killswitch Engage for more than 20 years, it is somewhat strange to realise that this is their first live release, and they have chosen to do so when there is no audience involved. This means that it comes across in an almost artificial manner, with Jesse not even attempting to speak to an invisible audience so it is as if the band are performing almost for themselves as opposed to the people watching. This may appear differently in the video, but it is certainly what it seems like based just on the audio, although they are putting in a high energy performance. There are times when I do wish the guitars were a little higher in the mix and the drums a little less, while there are some moments (such as on “Prelude”) where it all seems to drag somewhat, something which probably would not have been the case with a crowd involved.

What is in no doubt throughout is that Jesse is a force of nature, with his hardcore rasp and high energy driving the music on, and when he is singing the band feels quite different indeed. They may be playing the entirety of two albums recorded more than 15 years apart, yet the material does appear seamless and it all fits together well. Playing the whole of their debut after so many years will certainly mean a great deal to their fans, especially as they can directly compare against the most recent, and while I would have preferred to have heard the guys feeding off the energy which comes from their audience it is great to be able to finally hear them in their natural environment.

BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE Bullet For My Valentine

Album · 2021 · Melodic Metalcore
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Kingcrimsonprog
Bullet For My Valentine are one of those bands that everyone seems to hate, who get no respect, who get a critical savaging, and yet somehow have a huge fanbase (so many times I’ve heard them described as “the biggest British metal band since Iron Maiden“).

After their career momentum aggressively stalled and their fortunes took a major downturn with the ill-fated Temper Temper album from 2013, the band have seemed a bit lost, constantly searching for the next idea to bring them back to the biggest of the big leagues. They released the fabulous, mature and relatively heavy (for them) Venom album (and the especially superb Live From Brixton live album) to much lower sales than usual and seemingly total critical indifference, and then released the much cleaner and more commercial-sounding Gravity album to increased live-draw-status but critical savaging, comment-section-joke-status and loss of core-fan respect. It seems like the band just can’t win, when they do well artistically – it feels like no-one cares, they do well commercially – it feels like everyone hates them for it.

This time around, BFMV seem to be chasing respect and credibility moreso than their own artistic fulfilment and what you’d expect the original fans liked about them (Venom) or indeed moreso than commercial success (Gravity). It feels like the plan is that they want to be liked in the comments sections online instead of being the butt of all jokes by self-professed “true” Metalheads (basically, imagine if Blink-182 wanted people in GBH and Exploited shirts to stop slagging them off).

As such, the band known to haters for their pretty-boy watered-down overproduced overtly-commercial sound (the opinion of the trolls, not me) and immature lyrics (a fair criticism for their first four records) are going to try and win over people who probably would never like them anyway, and consequently have made their heaviest album to date and have dialled down the melody, muddied up the production and generally released something uglier and more abrasive than usual.

The results are a qualified success. The album certainly achieves its mission of being the ugliest, dirtiest, heaviest thing the band have put out to date and if it was the first thing a new band who had no reputation put out, no-one would pile the hate onto it the way they hate on BFMV usually. However, it does loose some of what makes BFMV stand out from the crowd usually… I can’t see the masses of teens and lighter rock fans digging it. If hypothetically it didn’t have their name attached and was a totally new release, I don’t think anyone would particularly care about it at all. In this hypothetical world, all I would say to this new band is qualified-congratulations, sure hard to please neckbeards in Waitain and Sarcofago shirts aren’t trashing it anymore, but now no one is talking about it at all.

Ok, that’s enough about the story of the record, what about the music? Grittier vocals, dirtier production, twice as much double-kick drums as usual, noisier guitar tone, guitar solos in every song.

After a much too long intro, the album starts of with the very angry “Parasite” which is the heaviest album opener Bullet’ have released to date. This is followed up with “Knives” which is the nastiest single Bullet’ have released to date. Mission acomplished on the new-look heavy Bullet. This opening one-two throat punch makes you think the album will just be a one-dimensional bludgeoning, especially with the media promises of no soppy ballads, however luckily the album does open up more as it goes along.

At first listen, I felt like the album itself was a bit forgettable and the songs were a bit unmemorable. On repeat listens however it has grown and grown on me. There is a lot of depth to the record that only reveals itself over time. There is some diversity with the more memorable, rhythmic “Can’t Escape The Waves” or the multifaceted “Rainbow Veins” and the slightly more dynamic album closer “Death By A Thousand Cuts.” There are moments on the album that are reminiscent of Devildriver (The first 30 seconds of “No Happy Ever After” for example) and quite often the lead-guitar reminds me a lot of Chimaira (especially as several songs break into a groove for the lead guitar moments, rather than have them over the faster parts).

On the postive side, the record doesn’t outstay its welcome, it is tight, concise and filler-free.

On the negative side, the production is a bit of a mis-fire for me. It doesn’t sound crunchy, metallic and satisfying to please the heavier crowd they seem to want to impress, it isn’t clean enough to satisfy their core audience, instead it is a sort of thin, noisy, tinny sound that would suit a chaotic hardcore band better, but which doesn’t really fit either what Bullet actually are, or what they are trying to be. I can’t entirely shake the feeling like this was a misjudged attempt to please non-fans instead of the more logical doubling down on what seems to have worked for them before.

The band have talked about the start of “Bullet 2.0” and this record shows a lot of potential, if they continue in this direction I think the next album will be the real winner, once they’ve got the kinks worked out (and especially if they figure out the right production sound for this type of material). While I still hold my position that this record will probably not win over a single hater, and is quite at risk of alienating sections of their fanbase who actually like their previous output… I do think this is a relatively strong album for what it is. I’m glad to have this consistent, succinct and unexpected record in my collection.

JINJER Inhale. Do Not Breathe

EP · 2012 · Melodic Metalcore
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siLLy puPPy
JINJER (pronounced like “ginger”) started out as a melodic metalcore band having formed in Gorlovka near Donetsk, Ukraine in 2009 but has evolved into a more progressive metalcore band in the vein of bands like Between The Buried And Me. After releasing the debut EP “Objects in Mirror Are Closer than They Appear,” the band struggled to find its own distinct sound until the addition of bassist Eugene Abdukhanov, lead guitarist Roman Ibramkhaliov and new lead singer Tatiana Shmailyuk.

The fist release to come out with this lineup was the EP titled INHALE, DON’T BREATHE which originally featured seven tracks but subsequent versions also included three extra live bonus tracks. For whatever reason the EP only shows five tracks on JINJER’s Bandcamp page. At this stage JINJER featured no progressive features in its compositions and squarely fit into the world of melodic metalcore with a groove metal flow including a few deviations into alternative rock during brief slower moments. The most distinct feature of the band is probably the fact that this style of extreme metal is fronted by a female singer.

This band has been quite popular in its native Ukraine as it became more varied over its three album run but at this point the band had pretty much only gotten its head around being a band and was content simply sailing in the groove fueled metalcore style that served as an underpinning of its later releases and the band wouldn’t really take off until 2016’s “KIng Of Everything.” Not much to say about this one. The tracks are a bit too similar as the same groove and chord progressions pretty much haunt every track and the same tradeoff between clean and shouted extreme vocals never deviates from the plan.

I can’t say this is my favorite style of metal first of all but i can appreciate some good metalcore that infuses heavy doses of creativity in unexpected ways however JINJER does none of that one this early offering and wouldn’t really branch out for a few more years. For my ears this is a pretty average if not dull example of melodic metalcore that sounds very amateurish and uninspiring however there is nothing absolutely horrible either. It’s just that there is no variation between tracks and the one-trick pony show gets old very quickly. Probably interesting for true fans of the band who need to explore the origins but honestly i don’t like the band’s name, don’t like its sound and am confident i’ll never be retreading this generic grounds again.

melodic metalcore movie reviews

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

Movie · 2010 · Melodic 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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