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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Forsaken
Single
ATTACKING THE VISION
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Infinitum
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Consumed
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ATTACKING THE VISION
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Initium
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The Heartless
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CABIN BOY JUMPED SHIP
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Unleash
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NOCTURNAL BLOODLUST
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Paradigmatic
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PARANOJA
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Abstract Exclusion
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GAZHKA
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World War X
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CARNIFEX
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No Light Shall Save Us
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CARNIFEX
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Sacrilegious
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SHARKS IN YOUR MOUTH
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Sacrilegious
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Trauma And Trial
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SKYBINDER
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Dissolving Clouds
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ACT ZERO
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Worthless
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OTHER MEMORIES
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Obliteration Of Humanity
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CHOLERA
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Lucy
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DISTINGUISHER
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Hell From Here
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DISTINGUISHER
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Wake Me Up
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HEEDLESS ELEGANCE
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Wanderer
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Balance
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No Apologies
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Balance
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All Black
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PITCHBLACK
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Ihateu
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PITCHBLACK
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Graveyard
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Unividuals
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IXIA
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Fortius
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PARAU
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Order Of The Black Worm
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LET IT ROT
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Socialism Is A Lie
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LET IT ROT
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The End Of Humanity
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LET IT ROT
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Conduit
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GRAVEMIND
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Dreamcatcher
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Jagana
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DESCENDANCE
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Live & Mental
Live album
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Bloodied / Unbowed
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OH SLEEPER
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Fissure
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OH SLEEPER
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Patient #13
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DEFYING WHITE
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Inside The Mind
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DEFYING WHITE
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My Sanity
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DEFYING WHITE
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Colorless Infliction
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DEFYING WHITE
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New World
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BROKEN RESISTANCE
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Color Of Our Fears
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Defying Gravity
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Necro
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Stitches
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Enchanted
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SQUARE TORPEDO
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Love On Delivery
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SQUARE TORPEDO
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Orage
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Godhand
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BRAND OF SACRIFICE
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Deathbloom
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CODA
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Those Who Don`t fear Death Never Die
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REALM OF TORMENT
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Letters From A Broken Heart
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AS LIONS AND LAMBS
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The Real War
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ECCLESIAST
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Vices (The Relapse)
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ECCLESIAST
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Interpolars
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ABSENCE OF TRUTH
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Nightmares
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System Of Command
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Passageways
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Ideals
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Invisible Walls
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Schizofriendship
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CHOKING ON AIR
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OFiN
Album
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The Blood Moon
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KILL THE BANDIT LEADER
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Monument Of Misery
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THE CONVALESCENCE
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Alles Voller Welt
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STUNDE NULL
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Adversary
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PREVAILING PROVIDENCE
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Hunger & Thirst
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WEEPING HOUR
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Foreign Flame
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WEEPING HOUR
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Bloodline
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HER NAME IN BLOOD
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About Time
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APOTHICA
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Down The Road
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VENNACAVA
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V Ways To Accept
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NEXT DOOR TO HEAVEN
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Insight
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WHITEWOLF
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Eviction
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ULTRAVIOLENT
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Hay In The Needlestack
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Step Back
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DAGGER
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The New Chapter
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REJECT THE SICKNESS
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This Life Is A Curse
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SHRYNE
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Nihilist
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SHRYNE
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Unexpected Miseries
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BURY ME ALIVE
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New World
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Forever
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No Regrets
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BURY ME ALIVE
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Humanity's Collapse
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BURY ME ALIVE
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Blasphemy
Album
HATEWAKER
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Traumwelt
Album
MEDIOKRIST
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Wilt
Album
THE 21ST AGENDA
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Die On Mars
Album
THE CALLOUS DAOBOYS
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Breathe Out Life
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ELLISON EFFECT
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Nameless Here For Evermore
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Thaumatergy
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DIABOLOUS
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In Your Hands
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UNSYLENCE
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Face To Face
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WITHIN SHADOWS
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Mind = Enemy
EP
WITHIN SHADOWS
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Nothing Short Of Irrelevance
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NOMAD (TN)
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My Dear Friend
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THE ASCENSION
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Razor Hands
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THE ASCENSION
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Vultures
Album
THE ASCENSION
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Hope Dies Last
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EARTHFALL
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Stages
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ENSLAVED BY FEAR
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Legacy
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FOBIUM
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Chirrosis
Single
FOBIUM
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Tear You Apart
Album
THE EMPTY BODIES
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My Hands To Heal
Album
MY HAND TO HEAL
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A Person Of Sorts
EP
AN ENDLESS CYCLE
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No Use For 2nd Chances
Album
FAIL TO FEAR
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Rare Ass Shit! (2002-2006)
Boxset / Compilation
SUICIDE SILENCE
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Constellations (Remixed)
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AUGUST BURNS RED
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Sunrise
Album
THE SUN ABOVE US
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Attitude
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WHERE THE OCEANS FALL
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Endless War
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BLEEDING REASON
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13
Album
GIVEN BY THE FLAMES
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Orobas
Single
GIVEN BY THE FLAMES
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Siren
Single
GIVEN BY THE FLAMES
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Abaddon
Single
GIVEN BY THE FLAMES
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Traidores
Album
NORKO
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The Masquerade
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PILLARS OF AUTUMN
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Fleshless King
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SHXTTERED
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Dark World
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SHXTTERED
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Tyrannotophia
Album
DISTANT
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Giant Green Destruction
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THE OGRE PACKET SLAMMERS
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Masturbation Concentration
Single
THE OGRE PACKET SLAMMERS
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Unworldly Insurrection
Album
DEPTHS OF BACIU
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Unworldly Insurrection
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Brilho Negro
Album
THE DAMNED HUMAN FLESH
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Beyond The Unknown
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AWAKEN SERENITY
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Discover
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OF ORIGINS
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Loathe
Single
OF ORIGINS
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Lucidity
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OF ORIGINS
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Transcend
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OF ORIGINS
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Never Setting Sun
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LAMENT (CT)
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Prision De Almas
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ALTEA
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Free From Contact
Album
THE EMBLEM FACTION
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Grita Más Fuerte
Album
BRUTAL
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Universo Paralelo
Album
SIMETRIA ZERO
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King Of Diamonds
Single
UPON A BURNING BODY
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Adversaries
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A TRAITOR'S LAST BREATH
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Southern Hostility
Album
UPON A BURNING BODY
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The Disconnect
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HEART OF A COWARD
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Suffer Forever
Album
THE CAMBION
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Death Rattle
Single
THE CAMBION
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Disguise
Album
MOTIONLESS IN WHITE
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Dankosaurus
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HUNT THE DINOSAUR
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Destructo
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HUNT THE DINOSAUR
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Get Up On My Level
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HUNT THE DINOSAUR
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AngelMaker
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ANGELMAKER
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Tempest
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ANGELMAKER
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Hollow Heart
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ANGELMAKER
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From Where I Draw My Strength
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DIEUPONADAY
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A Question Of Etiquette
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THIS IS NOT UTOPIA
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New Waters /// Same Waves
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TRAVELER
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An Offering To What Is
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NAUSRATEP
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End Note
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DECAYER
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Ashes
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ANTAGONY
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The Chosen One
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DESTRAGE
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The Chosen One
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DESTRAGE
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Empty
EP
BEYOND THE HATRED
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Balance | Symmetry
Album
AT MY MERCY
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Suffer
Single
OF VIRTUE
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What Defines You
Album
OF VIRTUE
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Interstice
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KNEEL
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Birth Of A Tyrant
Album
RIGOR SAMSA
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Retribution
EP
COLOMBIAN NECKTIE
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Smash 'Em Up: Live In Europe 2019
Live album
STRAY FROM THE PATH
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Snake Charmer
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OLATHIA
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Diamond Construct
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DIAMOND CONSTRUCT
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Cruel By Nature
Album
GOD OF NOTHING
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Compelled To Suffer
Album
HARBINGER
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Baptized In Pain
Album
EYE OF THE DESTROYER
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Breed
Single
EYE OF THE DESTROYER
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The Upside Down
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EYES WIDE OPEN
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One Last Breath
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EZOX
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Abandoned Shakedown
Album
NATURAL SELECTION
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Dark Souls
Single
NATURAL SELECTION
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Burning God
Single
NATURAL SELECTION
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The Atheist
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NESAIA
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Kapitel 4
EP
NESAIA
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Purify
Album
BORDERS
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Artificial Care
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FROM THIS DAY FORWARD
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Restoration
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FROM THIS DAY FORWARD
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Eulogy
Album
SON OF THE MOURNING
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Something To Burn
Album
SCARED OF THE DARK (SD)
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Destroy - Create - Transform
Album
I SET FIRE
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Inferis
Album
MENTAL CRUELTY
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Matricide
Album
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Miscarriage
Single
OF MODERN ARCHITECTURE
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Ritual Of The Black Blood
Single
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Overburden
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OF MODERN ARCHITECTURE
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Revelation (The End) [Instrumental]
Album
SEARCHING SERENITY
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Revelation (The End)
Album
SEARCHING SERENITY
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Cast From God's Sight
Album
DESOLATE TOMB
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First Sin I: The Serpent's Tongue
Single
DESOLATE TOMB
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Thaumatrop
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LIARS & THIEVES
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Sunken City
Album
NEXT TIME MR. FOX
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The Winds Of Will
Single
SERPENTS
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Temet Nosce
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SERPENTS
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Descendant Of Darkness
Album
HARVEST THEIR BODIES
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Heavy Lies This Life
Album
TITANS FALL HARDER
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Kingdom Of Lies
Album
OSIAH
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Notes Written by Us
EP
UP TO THE END
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Cry Wolf
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TIDES ALIKE
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Turn The Light On
Album
IMMINENCE
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Stay Away
Album
NOTIONS
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Inhuman Condition
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Fall
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Conqueror
Album
MADE FOR MIDNIGHT
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Overpower
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ANY GIVEN DAY
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Eternal Isolation
Album
BORN A NEW
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Forever And A Day
Album
FOR ALL I CARE
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Cult
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SECOND SUN
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Live From NCCR (7​/​8​/​18)
Live album
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United Hearts act​.​1
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NAME OF GLORY
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War Is My Mantra
Album
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Lovesdead
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DEN OF WOLVES
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The Wasteland
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THIS LAST WORLD
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Wasteland
Album
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Genesis
Single
CEASE THE SKY
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The Wanderers
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CEASE THE SKY
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Manischewitz
Single
CEASE THE SKY
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Wasteland
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Sintrophia
Album
DETHRONE THE CORRUPTED
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Worthless
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OLD POET
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Weak Bones
Album
PICKWICK COMMONS
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Burn You; Burn We
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DEGRADER
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Hot Trash
Album
BACKHAND SALOON
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Tell Them Everything Is Fine
Single
BACKHAND SALOON
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Norman Reedus
Single
BACKHAND SALOON
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Among Vultures
EP
AMONG VULTURES
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Shattered Expectations
Album
WORLD IN SILENCE
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Sumergidos
Album
UNCRUEL
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Harbinger
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ARRIVAL OF AUTUMN
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Better View
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BLOODLINE
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Wir Müssen Reden
Album
GROOVENOM
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Invoke
Album
BRIGHTDELIGHT
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Checkmate
Single
BRIGHTDELIGHT
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Northern Fallout
Album
NORTHERN FALLOUT
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Ill Sun
Single
OVER CLOUDS CORRUPTION
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Follow The Light
EP
OVER CLOUDS CORRUPTION
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Valência
Album
SEGUNDO-PLANO
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Inner Self
Album
AGAINST THE INSPIRATION
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Trauma
Album
SOURCE OF MYSTERIES
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Blinded
Album
BLOODTHIRST
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Gamechanger
Album
SWORN ENEMY
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Prepare For Payback
Single
SWORN ENEMY
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Ascend
Album
FAMINEHILL
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Inside The Storm
Album
ONCE AWAKE
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Factory Reset
Album
TODAY THEY ARE OLDER
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Insecurities
Album
PIONEERS
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Transcendence
Album
MASTIV
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Light It Up
Single
SCREAM BLUE MURDER
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Rock Bottom
Album
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Spirit & Soul
Album
CHRIS KALLIAN
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Deformation
Album
CHECK THE DISTORTION
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Discovery
Album
HOLOGRAM
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Life Upon Liars
Album
LIFE UPON LIARS
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The Forgotten Ones
Album
FROM VOID TO ABYSS
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Origins
Album
SHOW ME YOUR UNIVERSE
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Hate
Single
SHOW ME YOUR UNIVERSE
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Unhealthy Symbiosis
Single
GLASSKEY
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Hear Black
Single
GLASSKEY
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Ignis
Album
KRENFEN
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Ícaro
Single
KRENFEN
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A Path Made By Walking
Album
OCEAN OF PLAGUE
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Steep Rise
Single
OCEAN OF PLAGUE
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Infinity
Single
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Enough Is Enough
Single
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Chakra
Album
WARWAN
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Cult Of The Like
Album
BY WILL ALONE
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Portraits Of Tomorrow
Album
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Immortality
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THROUGH VEINS
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Salvation
Single
THROUGH VEINS
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Warrior
Album
A TASTE OF WAR
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Rumination
EP
CROOKED ROYALS
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Dissentients
Single
CROOKED ROYALS
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Rumination
Single
CROOKED ROYALS
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Alpha
Album
ALDEN O'HARA COUNTRY CLUB
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Collapse & Crumble
Album
NEVER GO QUIETLY
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Sirens
Album
WE ARE VICTORY
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Evergreen
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BLINDED BY HATE
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LIE TO THE SILENCE
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FIXATED ON ANNIHILATION
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Misery Crusade
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FIXATED ON ANNIHILATION
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Sever The Cord
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EXTORTIONIST
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Reclaim
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HURAKAN
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Sleep Is For The Dead
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Gaea
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A Myriad Misfortunes
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The Creator's Hand
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Eulogy For Desecrated Souls
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Asymmetrical
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Fever Dreams
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Firsthand Accounts
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Beautiful
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LEVELER
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Ényma
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Argo
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Cargo Cult
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Gently
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Unorthodox
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Among Demons
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Anxiety
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AMONG DEMONS
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Burn
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AMONG DEMONS
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Dawn Of Destruction
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First Breath
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Reborn
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Glass Heart
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SURROUNDINGS
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The River's Edge
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SURROUNDINGS
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Entre Humo Y Cenizas
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Super 90'
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This Dies With Me
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1978
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Broken Skulls
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Left To Rot
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TRAITORS
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So What?
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WHILE SHE SLEEPS
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Televiolence
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Imperio De Silencios
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House Of Cards
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Villain
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Stay
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Dead Languages
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Wild And Lost
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Snø
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The Valley
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WHITECHAPEL
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Phantom Sessions EP
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Between You & Me
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INVISIONS
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Volition
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KILLTEK
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Deafening
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KILLTEK
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1s & 0s
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KILLTEK
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We Dwell Within
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WE DWELL WITHIN
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Eternal Emptiness
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GENETIC DISEASE
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Between Cycles
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BETWEEN CYCLES
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The Arrival
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THE HARBINGER
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The Arrival
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THE HARBINGER
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Message For Lamb
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QUIESENCY
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Stratos
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THE SKIES ABOVE
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85
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SHATTERED REMAINS
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Primitive Understanding
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PATH TO MISERY
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The Stygian Complex
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THE STYGIAN COMPLEX
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The War
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DEATH WON'T HOLD
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The Seventh Tree
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FROM CRISIS TO COLLAPSE
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Distra
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DISTRA
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Doves And Crows
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CHALLENGER
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Erial
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SLAUGHTERED MEMORIES
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Retaliation
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Here Lies Titania
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HERE LIES TITANIA
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No Hand To Hold
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HERE LIES TITANIA
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Suntrackers
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DRAKKEN
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Compassion In Unlikely Places
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LIGHT THE FIRE
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Canyons
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BURN OUR HOMETOWN
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Fear In Fiction
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SAMMY SLAMDANCE
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Goon
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KADELLUM
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Holograms
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MY OWN SHIVA
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The Collector
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DEVILS PLAYGROUND
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A Disgusting Return
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IMMENSE SUFFERING
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Awaken (instrumental)
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THORNYWAY
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Awaken
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THORNYWAY
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Deathwatch
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THE ROYAL
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Peace
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War
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DEMON HUNTER
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A Pagan's Prayer
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REBORN
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The Sun Will Drown
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WAIT FOR THE DAY
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Hate Prayer
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I PARIAH
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Aristeia
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ARISTEIA
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Miasma
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ORCHID
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The Early Years (The SMC Tapes)
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WE DWELL WITHIN
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Rise Of The Fallen
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DEAD RECKONING
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Oyasumi, Vol. 1
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DESOLATE
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From The Bottom To The Start
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DESCENT OF A TYRANT
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Through The Tides
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THROUGH THE TIDES
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Micro
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JINJER
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Machina Non Grata
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THE LAST TEN SECONDS OF LIFE
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Hivemind
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HOLEHEARTED
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Faces
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Reflections
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SCREAMS OF SYRENS
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The Bright Beyond
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SCREAMS OF SYRENS
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A New Era
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SCREAMS OF SYRENS
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Zerotonin
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DEATH VALLEY SUICIDE
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Scary AF
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HOLLYWOOD NIGHTMARE
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Born From Ashes
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ATTACK THE HERO
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Arise To The Theta State
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BLIND THE EYE
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Immortality Bestowed
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BARROW BY NIGHT
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The Simulation
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BORN OF OSIRIS
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God Given // Hell Risen
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Hartgeld Im Club
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metalcore Music Reviews

CAR BOMB Centralia

Album · 2007 · Mathcore
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siLLy puPPy
Formed on Long Island, New York the mathcore band CAR BOMB didn’t waste any time crafting a totally obnoxious fusion of metalcore bombast with progressive rock complexities. After a couple demos, the quartet of Michael Dafferner (lead vocals), Elliot Hoffman (drums), Greg Kubacki (guitar) and Jon Modell (bass) set out to create the loudest and most abrasive musical output they could muster up and on the debut CENTRALIA which was named after an utterly doomed town in Pennsylvania that was abandoned after an underground mine fire, these hyperactive and over-imaginative freaks pretty much succeeded.

Mathcore is a challenging and difficult listening experience for sure. Absolutely everything is wrapped with the sonic equivalent of barbed wire and only accessible for those with Ankylosaur armor, however it is impossible to dismiss CAR BOMB as mere noise makers no matter what your musical proclivities happen to be. This is a serious band that as over the top as it may be, engages in highly nuanced and sophisticated slabs of iron plated metal music that excels at an equal ratio of bombast turned way past 11 and unpredictability calling its bluff and upping it one hundred and elevenfold. The results are enough to wake the dead and to kill the living.

While mathcore got its start in the New York based Lethargy all the way back in 1992 with Mastodon drummer Brann Dailor in the mix, the most irritating subgenre of metal has become, well, even more irritating as time goes on! Yep, it’s all about maximizing the most extreme forms of music and taking them even further, EVEN further than the comfort zone of most self-proclaimed metalheads. Add a heaping mix of progressiveness to the mix and you have something that will instantly suffocate the uninitiated and make all the non-open-minded ones of the world instantly run for cover as this stuff is the equivalent of a nuclear attack in the musical world!

With tags like technical, complex, heavy, aggressive, dissonant, energetic, manic, uncommon time signatures, dark, hateful, pessimistic, misanthropic and arhythmic, you know you’re in for one heckuva ride with CAR BOMB. Clocking in at a merciful 32 minutes, CENTRALIA is a non-stop metal bombast ride through extremely aggressive sonic assaults. The music is relentless as pummeling guitars, bass and drums are accompanied by the most hardcore screamed vocals that Dafferner can force out of his throat. Not overly far from what bands like Behold The Arctopus and Psyopus have to offer, CAR BOMB maintains its own distinct sound that offers a scant few moments of reflection with soft clean guitar passages but more often than not pummels the hell out of your senses with an incessant supply of start / stop guitar riffs decorated with unusually complex time sigs.

Graced with track titles such as “Cielo Drive” which refers to one of the locations of the morbid Manson Family killing sprees, you know what you’re in for with this brutal beast and at this stage CAR BOMB was merciless with one brutal arrhythmic assault after another and for that i am completely enamored with this completely anti-commercial display of aggressive and energetic parade through bombastic riffs and incessant orotundity. Every musician on this one is at the top of his game and as far as the most brutal extremes of mathcore without the complete surrender to atonality, then you can’t go wrong with CAR BOMB’s excellent debut album CENTRALIA. This is the stuff nightmares are made of. Don’t close your eyes, sunshine. You might be in the wrong CAAAAAAAAAR! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

KILLSWITCH ENGAGE Atonement

Album · 2019 · Melodic Metalcore
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Kingcrimsonprog
2019’s Atonement is the 3rd album since Jesse Leach rejoined the iconic metalcore band, Killswitch Engage. I’ll skip to the end right away and say this album is no disappointment. There are a bunch of new songs fit for any future KSE live sets or compilations.

The sound, performance and production are all top notch. More or less similar in quality to the past two albums. Sonically; it is crystal clear and perfectly produced. As classy as you can get without tipping over into overproduced. The band pound away with the same ratio of aggression and contemplation, and nail it perfectly.

Unusually for Killswitch, there is a guest vocal performance from an outisder, from Testament’s Chuck Billy. They add him over one of the thrashier songs (‘The Crownless King’) and he really suits the music. Also; in contrast to the outsider guest spot, and in a nice mirror to Jesse Leach’s guest vocal performance on The End Of Heartache, during the time that Howard Jones was the singer, now that Jesse is the singer, Howard Jones pops up here for a guest vocal performance, on the track ‘The Singal Fire.’

I’m not just saying it due to the above fact, but the best song on the album is definitely ‘The Signal Fire.’ Next time I see Killswitch I really hope they play it live.

Other highlights include the opener ‘Unleashed’ and ‘I Can’t Be The Only One’ (which I imagine will become a single and a live favourite). I am also rather fond of ‘Know You Enemy’ which channels Dimebag at times in the riffs, and the album closer ‘Bite The Hand That Feeds’ which is arguably the fastest and heaviest one on this album. There’s plenty of new songs to get excited about, and very little if any in the way of filler.

Initially I was a bit sceptical about this album before getting it, as they said it was their most diverse album to date, and then the first song they released from it, ‘I Am Broken Too’ wasn’t exactly a big rager like ‘In Due Time’ or ‘Strength Of The Mind’ or ‘This Is Absolution’ …and I feared that they might be loosing their touch. Luckily the album is not all in that style anyway. And furthermore, do you know what? The more I listen to that song, the more I like it. It may be a bit mid paced and overly earnest, but dammit if that chorus doesn’t sound better and better each time I play it. As long as there are ragers there too, it doesn’t hurt to have a calmer moment to break things up.

Overall; this is a very strong album and a welcome addition to the Killswitch catalogue. If you don’t like Killswitch already, it won’t change your mind, for all the media talk of it being their most diverse album, it pretty much sounds like modern Killswitch and nothing else for the majority of its duration, but if you like modern Killswitch you shant be disappointed, as it is an expertly performed, produced and written modern Killwitch album, and that’ll do just fine.

CARNIFEX World War X

Album · 2019 · Deathcore
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Necrotica
For anyone who’s been listening to Carnifex since the Dead in My Arms, it’s crazy how much they’ve evolved over the years. Back in 2007, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who didn’t lump them in with either Suicide Silence or Job for a Cowboy… or basically any big deathcore band from the Myspace era. But the way the first wave of deathcore splintered off into so many offshoots is fascinating in and of itself. Job for a Cowboy now makes progressive death metal in the vein of The Faceless or Rivers of Nihil, while Suicide Silence spent their last album making “TEE-HEE”-ridden nu-metal rip-offs. Meanwhile, you have bands like Shadow of Intent bringing more credibility to the genre than ever. But Carnifex is in a bit of an interesting place as far as the deathcore scene goes.

They’re probably one of the most well-respected deathcore bands around, mostly because they’ve had such a notable evolution over the years. As every album passed, there was more of an emphasis on black metal and traditional death metal elements rather than the pure deathcore they were once known for. Sure, the deathcore is still there, but I often find that the more they stray from that genre, the better they get. So here we are at World War X, another suitably punishing and brutal effort that also experiments with a lot of the same textures and dark atmospheres that permeate the band’s later work. Not only does the finished product sound hellish and uncompromising throughout its 35-minute run, but the vibe is also incredibly depressing and hopeless as well.

For instance, you have the beautiful classical piano sections in “This Infernal Darkness,” which manage to be both unsettling and downcast at the same time. They provide a perfect contrast to the heavy riffs, which is something I can also say about Alyssa White-Gluz’s clean vocals that are scattered about “No Light Shall Save Us.” There’s something apocalyptic about the way her singing is combined with the throat-shredding growls of Scott Lewis; mix that in with some doomy melodies and chugging, and it’s all very effective in sucking you into its unique world. In general though, the melodic moments have just gotten much better than before. “Brushed by the Wings of Demons” boasts a beautiful Anata-esque harmonized guitar solo in the midst of its crushing death metal, while guest guitarist Angel Vivaldi brings a nice neoclassical touch to “All Roads Lead to Hell.”

Of course, the metal itself is still just as chaotic and intense as ever. But every album boasts more of a technical slant than the previous one, and World War X is no exception. Jordan Lockrey’s lead guitar work is getting more and more intricate - especially in regards to his solos - and Shawn Cameron continues to incorporate more elaborate tricks into his drumming. This is probably the largest amount of tempo shifts he’s ever had to plow through on a Carnifex album, and he’s absolutely up to the task. On “Eyes of the Executioner,” the musicians are called upon to switch tempos and moods almost constantly, such as immediately switching from a breakdown to an onslaught of blastbeat-ridden black metal riffs. Stuff like that is great when it comes to adding more variety into the mix. “All Roads to Hell” also taps into this nicely by getting faster and faster with every few measures to constantly ratchet up the tension before finally resorting to blast beats and thrash riffs to make their point.

However, the one downside here is that there’s still not quite enough innovation here to mark the album as a huge step forward. There’s a temptation to label the album as “just another Carnifex record” despite the abundance of great music we’ve got here. Plus, the lyrics - while dark and suitably creepy - are starting to get a bit tired and played out by this point. They fit the atmosphere, yes, but a little more effort thrown into the imagery and themes wouldn’t hurt. But hey, at least it’s better than the near-constant stream of F-bombs we were greeted with on 2014’s Die Without Hope! So I suppose that’s a good thing. Anyway, I do highly recommend World War X. Is it a huge leap forward in terms of stylistic innovation? No. But it’s just an incredibly solid slab of death metal that implements its deathcore and black metal elements in all the right places. And when you get down to it, these guys are still leaving about 90% of their deathcore contemporaries in the dust, so you enjoy the genre, you shouldn’t be disappointed in any way by this record.

CRYSTAL LAKE Helix

Album · 2018 · Metalcore
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Kev Rowland
Originally released in their home country of Japan towards the end of 2018, Crystal Lake have signed a worldwide deal with Sharptone to assist in bringing their style of metalcore to the world. They may be Japanese, but if someone had asked me to work out where they were from I would have guessed New York as these guys are bringing in the anger of hardcore and combining it with frenetic riffing and over the top death combined with pop sensibilities (there’s even finger popping bass at one point) to create something which is obviously connected to the likes of Linkin Park, but is being spread and shifted in many different directions. There are some pretty keyboards, but one almost doesn’t notice them as the brain is being pummelled by the riffs which demands the body to move in response. Played live, this is an album guaranteed to have both the band and the crowd moving as one, a combined sweaty hairy mess.

This isn’t a style of music I normally enjoy, but these guys are taking it in multiple different directions at once and it is impossible not to be infected by the sheer joy, and menace, of what is going on. Singer Ryo Kinoshita is at danger of losing a lung at times, yet he can also be melodic, and one can imagine Slipknot fans also wanting to take this in as they veer dangerously into nu-metal territory and come out unscathed. This is their sixth album, but the first I have heard, and these guys are hitting hard and with the might of Nuclear Blast behind them I am sure we will be hearing a great deal more from them.

AWAKEN ANTAGONIST Awaken Antagonist

EP · 2013 · Deathcore
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siLLy puPPy
AWAKEN ANTAGONIST is a band that formed in 2011 in Fairbanks, Alaska and has only so far released this one 2013 self-titled EP and a full-length follow up in 2017 titled “Shepherd of Plagues.” The lineup of Tyler Martin (vocals), Kris Larson (drums), Jesse Gill (guitar), Sean Pederson (guitar), Jacob Marcy (bass, vocals) and Mark Redinius (bass) has remained steady ever since.

This band skirts and often blurs the line between deathcore and melodic death metal. On the deathcore side of the equation, the bombastic focus is on the breakdowns and blastbeats and on the melodic death metal side there are beautiful guitar harmonies with melodic flows that keep the whole thing accessible. Lots of guitar chugging as well that has some thrash elements at times. Lyrics are grunted, shouted, spoken and also are growled in the typical death metal fashion.

Along with the core and death elements, there is also a groove element and an occasional atmospheric backdrop that adds some contrast. Basically AWAKEN ANTAGONIST is a little more varied than the average deathcore artist and this eponymous EP debut is quite the catchy little compilation of four tracks. The band makes use of staccato patterns, palm muting and while the melodic elements provide a hook, they are buried beneath the frenetic barbarity of the heavier aspects.

Deathcore is a style of metal that is very hit and miss for me but AWAKEN ANTAGONIST certainly found the right recipe for an interesting mix of different strains of extreme metal. While often debut EPs only serve as a mere demo for the full-album to follow, this one is a completely different set of tracks and is the perfect gateway drug into this rare example of an extreme metal band coming from the frosty northern regions of the US in the Alaskan city of Fairbanks.

metalcore movie reviews

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

Movie · 2010 · Melodic Metalcore
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
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.

Artists with Metalcore release(s)