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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Dead End Diaries
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Most Of This
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A Peaceful Annihilation
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Swansong
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Ruins
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Cannibal
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Sun Through A Harsh Winter
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Metastasis
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Codex Gigas
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Celestial Insurrection
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Hindsight
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All The Wrong Ones
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Waves Like Walls
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Time
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Reencarnación
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Not Dead Yet (A Rejected Record)
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Unshakable
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The Human Condition
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Flash Flood
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These Things
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Alicerce
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Reclaim Your Mind
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Loose Threads
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Sleeping Reality
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Sleeping Reality
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7 Deadly Sins
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In Circles
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Fury By Failure
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Pain Is Power
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Inferno
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Bloody Notes
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Solipsist Genesis
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Origami
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Pariah
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Hesitation Wounds
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Fear For Me Now
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Covet Not
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Irrational Pull
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High Dive In A Low Well
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Conflict Of Interest
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Drown With Me
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Erase Me
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How To Survive A Funeral
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Second Skin
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The Ghost Inside
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Valley Of Kings
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Isolate
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Our Hands
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0day
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Смертослов
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Legion: The Fall (Instrumental Edition)
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Beyond The Bones
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Willow Instrumental
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Divide
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Open The Heavens
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Fuego
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Hugo
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Ever Under
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Dry Hump
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Round Two (with Joshua Travis)
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Prunatic
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Wheel Of Suffering
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The Illusion Of Time
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Trapped
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Just An Irony
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At War With Myself
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Corrode
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Better Days
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Anchored
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Propaganda
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Second Self
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Tidus
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2020
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White Lily
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Behind Our Eyes
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Over Everything
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Dirt
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Reanimate
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Turbulence
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Ferox
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Today's Last Tragedy
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What The Dead Men Say
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Catastrophist
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The Temple Will Fall
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Lovelorn: Moon
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Only To Fall
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Send Them To Their Graves
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Outnumbered
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Chains Of Betrayal
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Cheers For The Failures
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The Black Ritual
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Gatekeeper
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Blossom
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Holy Man
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Idle Hands, Idle Minds
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Dead Matter
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Anomy
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II: Inferius
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Genocide
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Bed Full Of Snakes
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Broken Mirror
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Evil Inside
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Four Years
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Collapsed Home
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Guardians
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War
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Alone In Flames
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Unto Leviathan
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Behold The Key
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Cultural Condition
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Hellzone
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Dear Leader
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Veins Of Gold
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Netherwalk (Instrumental)
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Wild Gods (Instrumental)
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Glamour & Gloom
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Drown My Faith
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Better Off Dead
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Swallowing The Rabbit Whole
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Sabbath Fleddy Sabbath
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Of Truth & Sacrifice
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Protector
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Reach
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Enough Isn't Enough
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Furnace Of Eight Divisions
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Rebirth
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Nexus
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Immanent [Part I]
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Scent Of Descent
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Lumea
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Oblivion
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[Delay] - [Extend]
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Black Fur
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Presence
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Everything Between Us
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Underneath
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Crimson King (The Complete Collection)
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Born Dead
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Immersed In Ire
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Flesh, Steel, Victory...
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A Lunar Rose
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Hypermania ‎
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The Death Of Me
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POLARIS
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Conquer From Within
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SORTOUT
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REFLECTIONS
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Before
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Chaos
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Of Wild Growth
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Sheep
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Akuma
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metalcore Music Reviews

KILLSWITCH ENGAGE Alive or Just Breathing

Album · 2002 · Melodic Metalcore
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ssmarcus
What is it about Killswitch Engage and their record Alive or Just Breathing that makes them one of the greatest and most important metalcore and New Wave of American Heavy Metal acts? Put simply, Killswitch is one of, if not the first, metal band to temper metal’s testosterone driven aggression with existential and emotional vulnerability. Their music, like their melodic death metal peers and progenitors in Sweden, is uncompromisingly dark and heavy. And yet, on this record, Killswitch made the bold and, to this day still, controversial choice to add melodious emo/pop-punk sensibilities to their choruses and various other passages in the music.

Metal fans, as a population, are notoriously fond of “gatekeeping” and ensuring that only bands that meet their own subjective standard of authenticity get crowned as proper metal acts. This tension between more purely heavy or classical metal and the emotive metalcore sound was definitely perceived as a major fault line between fans in the mid 2000’s at the height of the New Wave of American and Heavy Metal. And while much of the criticism of metalcore’s emo-like excesses is justified, it is impossible to deny the absolute authenticity of this record. Whether its Jesse Leach’s passionate calls for self reflection or the band’s brutal riffage, this is an album that will hit you as hard as any great metal record from the two decades prior.

Still, I can’t give the album a perfect score. While the first four tracks are metal bliss, the latter half of the record does, at times, merely re-tread material already handled earlier on in the record. Despite this, Alive or Just Breathing is still classic!

CANDIRIA 300 Percent Density

Album · 2001 · Metalcore
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BitterJalapeno
Many thanks to Unitron for kindly recommending this album to me. A rather interesting listen with many musical styles being brought together in unexpected harmony.

The bulk of the album is composed of deep grooves, aggressive, sometimes dissonant riffs and angry screamed vocals but throughout the album, there are some portions which lean more to avant-garde metal and others with the addition of some entirely different genres altogether.

On a few tracks, the metal gets briefly abandoned for hip-hop beats/rapping. Being someone who is generally not the biggest fan of that genre, this was not something I was expecting to enjoy but for a reason I honestly cannot pinpoint, I have no issue with it being inclusive on this album.

Jazzy material also features occasionally. For example, the track "Constant Velocity is as Natural as Being at Rest" makes use of a trumpet in sections that sound not unlike the jazz inspired post-rock of Tortoise. There is also a nice vibraphone solo on "The Constant Destination." Although these sections work surprisingly well, they are appropriately short lived and the listener is soon catapulted back to abrasive metal.

Further surprises were discovered in the final track – “Opposing Meter”. It begins with eerie background noise and a rapid rotating synth part which sounds like Pink Floyd’s “On the Run” followed by a few minutes of silence. After this, we are treated roughly 15 minutes of very pleasant and soft psychedelic guitar work overlying slow rhythms on bongos/djembe. I did feel this could easily have been shortened significantly but it was enjoyable regardless.

Overall, I found this album to be a bit of roller-coaster encompassing a wide variety of influences and takes your mind in many directions. Perhaps not one I will listen to frequently, but I know I will gladly return to it when the mood strikes. 3.5/5 from me.

BitterJ

TRIVIUM Ascendancy

Album · 2005 · Melodic Metalcore
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adg211288
A Journey Into Metal Part II

The tale of how I first became a metalhead through the most unlikely of sources, Metallica's St. Anger, has now been told. It is advisable that you if haven't read it that you do so now, so that this next chapter of the tale may be taken in context. And if you have read it, possibly read it again as I revised the first part quite considerably before starting this next piece of work, as many memories flooded back to me.

Okay, all caught up?

One can become a metalhead through just the one starting album. But that hardly completes our tale. Much like metal itself was started by Black Sabbath, it later become refined by the likes of Judas Priest and Rainbow with albums like Sad Wings of Destiny and Rising respectively. It was perhaps only by the time of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal that we might consider metal to have been fully formed as a genre. Or at least, the first genre of it, heavy metal itself. An individual metalhead can form much the same way. Although many will probably cringe at the comparison, St. Anger was to me what Black Sabbath was to the formation of the genre. Which means the second chapter of the story into metaldum is the refinement stage. The turning point, if you will, before one can consider themselves the person and metalhead they are today.

But first, it's important to get caught up.

I gradually picked up the rest of the Metallica albums. And my view of Metallica basically went that the first five were excellent. I did not know enough about metal at this point in my life that I even realised that the Black Album was considered a different genre to the first four. I knew all five sounded a lot better than St. Anger though, so I wasn't listening to that album too much. I did not think much of either Load or ReLoad, but I liked the covers album Garage Inc. I thought that was pretty fun. I think I may have listened to S&M once and have not bothered again to this day.

In the wider metal world Dimebag Darrel had been murdered on stage in 2004, which was a rather Earth shattering experience for both my best mate 'C' and myself who'd both got heavily into Pantera in this time. That kind of thing just didn't happen to metal guitar idols in our world. Looking back I believe we took his death quite differently. I seem to recall that 'C' started listening to Pantera more, especially poignant tracks like Cemetery Gates and Hollow. I, on the other hand, found it difficult to listen to Pantera's music with the same enthusiasm for a long time. Every time I put it on I just imagined Dimebag getting gunned down while playing. My young mind could not handle it. And so Pantera never really had the chance to become the stepping stone band that they really could have been for me. They were certainly the most extreme thing I was listening to at the time. They were the spark, at least, but not the true turning point. That was to come soon though.

The year was now 2005, almost two whole years since the release of St. Anger. This was my last year in secondary school. One thing that did happen when that school year came to a close is that a lot of the group mentioned in Part 1 drifted apart. I still see 'C' to this day, but sadly have lost touch with some of the others. I was glad to see the back of 'L' though. 'L' really took things too far in 2005 by taking the piss out of the Dimebag murder. I'd never given a fuck about what 'L' thought of the music I liked but that crossed a line. I like to think that a few others realised what a dick he was by that point, but probably not. 'L' was just one of those people that others gravitated toward and became sycophants to. I have no idea what happened to 'L' after school finished. And I don't much care. Wherever he is I don't expect his taste in music has improved.

Things had changed at home with the arrival of a computer with the Internet the previous year, but I hadn't yet discovered YouTube, which first launched in early 2005. I expect that discovery came in 2006, which I see as the pivotal year as that's when my household first got Sky TV and I found the Scuzz station that led me to many early interests in metal. But in 2005 itself things hadn't improved much. 2006 would also be the year I subscribed to Metal Hammer, so the amount of progress made between St. Anger and then was pitiful. Foo Fighters and Nickelback were still in heavy rotation. The former had released In Your Honour (which I know I'm spelling wrong but sue me I'm English and we invented the language!) and the other had released All the Right Reasons. It had a pretty angry song on it about Dimebag's murder that really resonated. The late guitarist even played on it by virtue of a sampled guitar solo. Both albums were well liked by yours truly at the time, so that's evidence that my taste hadn't really moved on all that much. I look back more fondly on one of those albums today than the other. See if you can guess which one. 2006 would also mark my discovery of Iron Maiden, who at the end of that year became my first proper concert. But for now we're stuck in 2005 and the album that is the ultimate subject of this story was released. Ascendancy by metalcore band Trivium.

Before Metal Hammer, Scuzz and YouTube changed everything, it was actually a guitar magazine, which wasn't supposed to be metal specific but often did seem to focus on it, that provided the much needed resource that my younger self required. 'C' also benefited from this. It is how we found Pantera. We liked the guitar track the magazine had put on the CD for Cemetery Gates so much that I bought Cowboys From Hell without ever hearing Phil Anselmo's vocals. Total Guitar's free CDs though were also notable for sometimes including album tracks and this was how I got my first taste of growling vocals. I don't recall if it was Avenged Sevenfold or Arch Enemy I heard first, but both were among such bands featured. However the first such album I bought was Ascendancy. I do not actually remember when or how I first heard Trivium proper. I suspect they were featured as an album track with Total Guitar, or else maybe I'm misremembering the dates of all this and I didn't discover this album until it had been out a while. It was about fifteen years ago after all. Either way, Total Guitar was certainly how I first became aware of Trivium. There was a lot of Trivium hype going around at the time which carried over into Metal Hammer and online, as those avenues were opened up to me. They got airplay on both Kerrang and Scuzz. An important factor that piqued my interest was their branding as the next Metallica. 'Next Metallica' quickly became apparent as something that people in the media just liked to say. Mastodon got saddled with it as well around the same time.

Ascendancy remains one of only a few metalcore records I ever bought. The others mainly either being also by Trivium or were bought in second hand shops for no other reason than they were that cheap, the best result of such pot luck being the discovery of Protest the Hero. I'm sure there's probably stuff of more worth out there than I've heard, I have in fact in more recent years been drawn to a couple of acts like Converge and Erra. There's something very different about those bands though than the kind of metalcore played by Trivium and other more household metalcore names of the time though like Bullet for my Valentine, Caliban and Killswitch Engage. And in general it became a genre I don't hold much love for. Much like with St. Anger and it's sound that most accept as alternative metal, which was the genre a lot of my early metal bands belonged to, discovered both before and after this album. But although I don't much care for these genres these days and don't actively seek them out, they were both very crucial stepping stones for me. Which is why like with St. Anger I still hold a lot of appreciation for Ascendancy.

There's a big difference with this album to that one though. It is actually really fucking good.

My metal peers of the time, by then not generally people I grew up with but people I was encountering online, on the then very new YouTube (which was a much different website much then with much better community features including groups that served as a minimalist forum (my first experience with such a platform)), heavily disagreed with the hype of Trivium. In fact they were so put out by Trivium (like they'd been personally offended by their existence) that they'd start dedicated hate channels for the band on YouTube and take every opportunity to dish dirt on them, about where they'd stolen this or that riff from and so forth. Yeah, the spirit of metal wasn't doing too well in them days. While the 'experienced' metalheads were bashing bands like Trivium for all they were worth, the kids were starting rap verses metal flame wars and shouting about TR00 Trash Metal (accurate spelling of the day). All in all it was a much more toxic community than was really healthy for the developing metalhead.

Much like with the initial disapproval of my folks and peers over starting to listen to metal with St. Anger, this reaction from the supposedly more in the know metal crowd only fuelled me to stand against them. Hey, I was a teenager, we're supposed to rebel against our elders and their beliefs. Trivium was a band that allowed me to do that. It also in hindsight scratched an itch for more extreme music that proved a catharsis over lingering anger over Dimebag's murder that even Metallica's early thrash couldn't scratch.

But I'm in my thirties now and I have say that I think those 'in the know' metalheads of the time were wrong about Trivium, especially over this album. While it's true that Trivium is not a band I return to often, I still think that Ascendancy is a very accomplished album from the then young band, perhaps even a classic of its era. An album that does possibly show adolescence in its song-writing, but honestly it's more forgivable here considering the age of the band at the time. Matt Heafy was only 19 at the time of the album's release and that was only a couple of years older than I was! Old school metalheads of the time probably thought the kids should be looking up to the same bands as them (and maybe now it's our turn we do the same to the next generation and don't even realise it) and so vehemently rejected Heafy and his band Trivium, but to us who were of that sort age he was a figure to look up to.

Tracks like Rain, A Gunshot to the Head of Trepidation and Like Light to the Flies still find their way into regular random rotation from my PC media player and other tracks less frequently so. Because the YouTube haters of the day I'm afraid I can't listen to Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr with a straight face any more because of a rather infamous misheard lyrics video which last time I checked could still be found on YouTube.

Unfortunately Trivium probably took the whole 'next Metallica' thing to heart, so their next album was The Crusade and it seemed designed to imitate Metallica as much as possible, which ultimately just gave fodder to their haters. But for me personally Ascendancy was the album that opened me up to extreme metal, broadened my horizons and opened the floodgates for all kinds of exciting new genres of metal that I began getting exposed to the following year during my gap between school and college. Like with St. Anger, I'll always hold a special place in my heart and collection for it. If it wasn't for this particular would I have become interested in other metal genres like death metal and black metal? Well probably eventually, but this album sure seemed to speed up the process. I was certainly starting to check those out on that first computer at home soon after this. It was the album that spurred me onward. I found genre after genre from that point on. Progressive metal through Dream Theater. Folk metal through Cruachan (one guy I met on YouTube was so insistent that I listen to Cruachan that he emailed by every song from Folk-Lore track by track - highly illegal of course, but Cruachan remains my favourite folk metal band and I own every album they've made so I think they'll forgive us). Black metal through Immortal. I could list every genre with a key band and it all branches out from Ascendancy, another album that was often maligned, although not to the extent of St. Anger.

This concludes the second chapter of this tale and I think it also has to be the last. The branching out starts here. I began to become fully formed as a metalhead. I'm still living the third chapter of this trilogy. Some probably thought I'd grow out of metal music and that would bring the story to a close.

I don't think it's going to happen.

PLASTICBAG FACEMASK Whited Sepulcher

Album · 2019 · Mathcore
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
siLLy puPPy
As 2020 continues and the constant sight of those silly face masks surrounds us no matter where we live in the word (unless we happen to happily live in an isolated commune in fucking Antarctica or something), what better way to celebrate the shitshow that is 2020 than by reviewing this extreme noisy metal duo known as PLASTICBAG FACE MASK which was formed in 2008 in Oakhurst, CA but has been terrorizing Fresno for most of the time since.

Together Patrick "Dr. Lankanotvich" Hogan (drums, synthesizer, vocals) and Jacob "Dr. Jenkins" Lee (guitar, bass, vocals) crank out a set of six headache inducing mathcore tracks that continue their bizarre mix of grindcore, mathcore, sludge metal, deathcore and pretty much whatever the fuck comes to mind. This don’t give a fuck attitude is exactly what sets them apart from the competition but to be honest it’s the nerdy mathcore ping pong ball unpredictability that draws me in.

WHITE SEPULCHER is this duo’s eighth album but at around 23 minutes could possibly fit in with the EPs they’ve released but whatever. It’s fucking core music. This is about making extremely abrasive ear abuse noise and that’s exactly what PLASTICBAG FACE MASK achieves here. With excruciatingly fast tempos, frenetic time signature changes, unthinkable levels of distortion and vocals that sound like some dude getting his dick sawed off, this is a frenetic assault on your sanity with only a very few moments of synthesized atmospheres lingering in the background when the music drops to offer a respite from the brazen bravado.

Where there are many progcore metal bands out there these days ranging from Behold…The Arctopus, Psyopus and Dillinger Escape Plan, PLASTICBAG FACE MASK seems to stand out in its bold experimental approach of just creating a maelstrom of frenetic guitar riffs, a few screeching solos and an incessant time signature frenzy that hops around like an electrocuted monkey. Most vocals are shouted but a few death metal growls jump into the mosh pit. Basically everything on this one is on maximum overdrive for the entire run with only a few ambient outros after the tracks are finished.

While these sorts of firecracker bands usually deliver super short tracks, most of these are over three minutes which gives more time to shape shift the noisemaking shenanigans and conjure up new methodologies for irritating the fuck out of people. Except me. I love this shit. Gimme more muthafuckers! My skin is thick and my ear drums are made of fucking titanium. Oh yeah, bring it on, bitches! This is for the most hardcore MFs out there. Loud, obnoxious, sanity eroding music that pummels away on its own terms. Mathcore with all middle fingers raised with pirate flags attached. And fuck those goddamn worthless masks. They don’t fucking work anyways. Don’t argue with me. I read it on the internets.

MIND TERRORIST Fragments Of Human Decay

Album · 2014 · Metalcore
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il_graz
MIND TERRORIST is a group from Larissa, Greece. They Have a Melodic Death sound, and lyrical content that is a bit political. Their lyrical content is mostly about human rights, animal cruelty, and other “political” topics having to do with the same. The general over all ambiences of “Fragments Of Human Decay” is heavy, melodic, and pretty catchy. This is certainly not for the extreme Grindcore fan, but none the less a great metal piece. There is plenty of double bass, and hard riffs to go with a vocal style that is somewhere between clean and harsh.

The album opens with a spoken intro that is a bit of a poetic take on the dissention from the natural spiritual magic of childhood, to the cold worn down void of adulthood. From there it goes on to rant about all kinds of inhumanities. The guitar work is a bit intricate, while still heavy and hard hitting. The drums are likewise a bit technical. They do a great job of keeping the timing of the songs, and still helping keep that nice heavy edge, with plenty of double bass. The vocals as I stated previously are somewhere between clean and harsh, certainly for the style of music being played they are suitable. Actually the vocals remind me a little bit of SLAYER type lyrics (in sound). Personally, I think the lyrical content that they have is pretty awesome. They take on cause and purpose, which isn’t something I expect out of every band I listen to, but is absolutely respectable. As far as composition of the album, it I very well put together. It has a great flow and is a bit catchy. From beginning to end there really is no repetition, so I don’t get bored listening to it.

“Fragments Of Human Decay” certainly is a powerful album. It’s heavy in all the right ways, without going overboard. The catchy melodic sound they produce really sucks the listener in. As I stated before they ain’t for the extreme death fan, but they’re as heavy as they need to be. Also the lyrics are understandable, which really helps get the point they make across. The album is not repetitive at al which is a big plus. These guys are definitely worth a listen.

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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