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, the most prominent being deathcore, mathcore, melodic metalcore and electronicore / trancecore. All have their own child-subs on MMA.

Mathcore 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.

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

Electronicore / Trancecore / Synthcore 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 electronic / metalcore hybrid that has gained some recognition is Nintendocore. Nintendocore fuses chiptune and video game music with modern hardcore punk and heavy metal and was pioneered by groups such as Horse the Band. Increasingly non-Nintendocore bands are utilising the style too as it has become more maintream.

Progressive Metalcore can also be called out as a distinct style, 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. Many progressive metalcore bands describe their music as "djent".

A small but increasingly common style of metalcore is a combination with nu-metal, often called Nu-Metalcore. These bands will be found under metalcore or nu-metal, depending on which style they are closer to.

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 (with its corresponding symphonic deathcore).

Metalcore Inclusive Genres:

deathcore electronicore mathcore melodic-metalcore nintendocore


Written by Andyman1125 with embellishment from the Metal Music Archives admin team.

Sub-genre collaborators (+ child sub-genres & shared with Hardcore Punk):
  • Bosh66 (leader)

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metalcore Music Reviews

CAR BOMB Mordial

Album · 2019 · Mathcore
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ssmarcus
There are certain alignments in nature that, when they occur, demand a bit of humanity’s fickle attention and wonder. And much like a solar eclipse or seeing a flipped coin land on its side, an album whose cover art perfectly aligns with the music on that album is one such alignment. And Car Bomb’s Mordial is one such album.

Like the cover art, the music on Mordial is chaotic. Patterns come into existence only to flutter apart under the force of their own instability. There is a certain beauty to both the art and the music but they’re twisted in such a way that they are basically unsettling more than they are beautiful.

Mordial continues in the technical extreme metal, djent and mathcore footsteps of its predecessor Meta . But by incorporating more melodic, twisted as they are, and experimental passages, Mordial successfully breaks from the monotony I would feel when listening to Meta straight through. In short, Car Bomb have out done themselves yet again. These guys are at the top their game and are, at this juncture, untouchable.

CAR BOMB Meta

Album · 2016 · Mathcore
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ssmarcus
Car Bomb is the living embodiment of everything New York-based music could ever aspire to be. The band simultaneously captures the ferocity of the native working-class hardcore punk scene while also realizing the high-brow art rock aspirations of New York’s saturated indie hipster rock scenes. But unlike your average hardcore or indie rock outfit, Car Bomb is actually compromised of exceptional musicians with the technical and musical chops to actually pull off something genuinely novel and refreshing. And, in the case of Car Bomb, their talents have allowed the band to fashion a unique and highly technical, even by today’s standard, form of extreme metal, djent, and mathcore.

Meta is an absolute head trip from start to finish. The mind-bending rhythms and tone defying riffs are guaranteed to knock any metal head of their feet. Unfortunately, like so much extreme metal, the album can be a chore to listen through straight through. Monotony invariably sets in at some point despite all the genuine novelty in the song writing. This record is best enjoyed piecemeal.

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.

MY OWN SHIVA Holograms

Album · 2019 · Metalcore
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Kev Rowland
If someone were to ask me where this band hail from, then the response would be that they are obviously American, but there are elements contained within this which makes me think they are probably from New York. To use a Kiwi phrase, “yeah, nah”. This 2019 album is actually from Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan, and I am sure that if they were based in the West then many more people would know about it. They say, “We make best metal music in Central Asia. We like experiments and always try to find something interesting in our sounding. We are from small town, but this is not the reason to do nothing. Just listen to us and you will follow!” They are nothing if not confident, and that really comes through in their music.

While the best description is probably metalcore, they are doing a lot with that, bringing in djent at times, moving more into commercial hardcore at others, with a very modern sound. At times one thinks of Life Of Agony, at others Linkin Park, while Animals as Leaders and Meshuggah are never too far away either. The production is solid, with the riffs hitting hard and this is a powerful release with plenty going for it. Since this album they have released another song, “Replicant”, and these can all be easily found on Bandcamp. Based on this album here is a band who could easily break out of their home country and attract serious attention on the wider metal stage, and this will definitely be of interest to anyone who enjoys intense high-octane modern metal. This album really does have quite a lot going for it, and is worthy of further investigation.

PUPIL SLICER Mirrors

Album · 2021 · Mathcore
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Necrotica
Pupil Slicer. PUPIL SLICER. That’s the kind of band name that can repel prospective listeners in droves. Yet it’s not really a grotesque name per se. It’s not like you’re approaching a band called Spermswamp or Pungent Stench, in which case you already suspect you’re in for something outright disgusting. No, the name Pupil Slicer is a different kind of repellent... one that provokes reactions of genuine unease and discomfort. It’s there to jar you out of contentment and imbue a lingering feeling of anxiety, even when nothing seems to be happening around you. Needless to say, this UK trio could not have picked a better name to represent their music.

The group’s first full-length affair Mirrors sees them combining elements of mathcore, grindcore, and powerviolence as they unleash what could best be described as “controlled brutality”. Much like The Dillinger Escape Plan’s Calculating Infinity, the sections that initially come off as mindlessly chaotic are every bit as deliberate as any of the other moments; it’s all about the big picture. One must not take this album’s “mathcore” tag lightly, as its complexity is really the glue that holds it together. Take the opener “Martyrs” for example; amidst the unhinged vocals and ugly distortion, the dissonant guitar jabs and off-kilter drumming create a constant sense of unpredictability. As visceral as the music often is, it’s not visceral in a sloppy or haphazard way. Case in point: shorter cuts like “Stabbing Spiders” and “Vilified”, in which some of the record’s most abrasive and fast-paced moments are given the same intricacies and quirks as the longer tracks. The former lives up to its name, as each instrument delivers erratic and discordant staccato stabs in perfect unison; meanwhile, the latter is a striking marriage of straightforward hardcore punk passages and strange out-of-left-field tempo shifts. In the case of both songs, you never have an opportunity to breathe or relax until they finish.

As was mentioned, however, the playing is unbelievably tight and purposeful despite how uncompromising the music is. Frontwoman Kate Davies is definitely the star of the show, with her gut-wrenching screams and unorthodox guitar playing; however, drummer Josh Andrews and bassist/backing vocalist Luke Fabian provide a perfect rhythmic anchor while dishing out their own brand of manic energy. The trio’s chemistry is their strongest asset, and it’s heard in just about every track here. Just listen to how “Wounds Upon My Skin” shifts effortlessly from bludgeoning downtuned riffs to soft creepy ambiance in an instant. Just listen to how Andrews can switch from blastbeats to a menacing crawl at the drop of a hat in “Save the Dream, Kill Your Friends”, and yet the rest of the members don’t miss a beat. Of course the band still manage to add a healthy dose of dark and deranged atmosphere to the record, both in the more ominous passages and bleak lyrics. A few tracks even whip out some black metal influence, such as the tremolo/blastbeat middle section of “Collective Unconscious” or the climactic ending of “Mirrors Are More Fun Than Television”. Getting back to Davies, however, the lyrics she spews out are just as intense and harsh as the music itself. The first stanza of “Martyrs” immediately sets the tone for the rest of the album:

”Acting out your sick dream, experience through agony; you're set free. Tear apart prey you seek, subhuman void of empathy, entangled greed. A slow death now”

The lyrics of Mirrors explore themes of death, violence, (self-) loathing, anger, internal conflict, fear, and - interestingly enough - empowerment. In fact, I’d argue that the main theme of the album is that of empowerment and strength; it's just expressed in darker and less conventional ways than usual. This isn’t the vague and disingenuous “stand up and fight” stuff you hear in a lot of Rise Against anthems, but rather much more aggressive accounts of the cruelty and arrogance our narrator hates in the world. “Vilified” is probably the most specific example of this on the album, as the addressee has nothing better to do than cause “conflict when that feeling in you is starved” with “no regard, needless cruelty”. The lyrics in “Stabbing Spiders” are a twisted and ugly metaphor for staving off one’s false self, with lines such as “stabbing spiders that crawl on my skin, drilling through me within”. Then there’s “Husk,” which ends with an even more poignant message as it addresses the same subject of falsehood in more conclusive terms:

“No more living in fear. Persistent falsehoods - a disguise. You'll end up as nothing - you're faking. Lying to survive”

The only real issue with Mirrors is that it does tend to get pretty homogeneous at times. Despite the complexity of the math-y moments, there’s not much stylistic variation; if you’re not listening intently enough, Davies’ screams and the near-constant aggression can become one big blur after a while. But that also speaks to one of the major strengths of the record: it does demand to be listened to intently. While more variation here and there could have been welcome, the group’s commitment to create such a consistently enveloping, suffocating, and oppressive experience is commendable in its own right. Mirrors is a wonderfully dark and unsettling reflection of Pupil Slicer’s equally discomforting name, and it’ll be exciting to see how they expand on their unique style on future records.

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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