Metalcore

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Metalcore, a portmanteau of metallic hardcore, is a fusion sub-genre of heavy metal. The genre is a diverse blend of a number of elements, melding the genre’s roots in hardcore punk with death metal and and thrash metal. The genre saw its beginnings in the late 80s when bands such as Integrity, Earth Crisis, and Converge began to fuse elements of the hardcore punk scene with the heavy metal and thrash metal scene. Metalcore is not the first metal-hardcore hybrid, and a distinction is made between metalcore and crossover thrash, which is a hybrid of thrash metal and hardcore punk, but which, unlike metalcore which is broader in scope, focuses on a number of specific elements from both genres.

These bands began to develop a similar style, with linear compositions with aggressive verses and melodic chorus with an emphasis on breakdowns, where the music slows and becomes much heavier, which is conducive to moshing and head banging. Breakdowns are generally considered as the defining element of metalcore. From 1989 to 1995, this style of music exploded in popularity in the underground metal community. After 1995, numerous bands began to put more emphasis on melody in their metalcore, fusing more melodic death metal, post-hardcore, and occasionally emo elements into their music. By the late 90s and early 2000s, many metalcore bands had attained a very popular status, with bands such as Avenged Sevenfold, Killswitch Engage, and Atreyu enjoying popularity outside of the normal metalcore scene and successful album sales.

Much of the metalcore genre has a similar and distinct style, which is based upon intense vocal work, much of which is either screamed or growled, and some artists combine these with clean melodic vocals in choruses and other passages, heavy and often at times technical instrumentation with a heavy emphasis on down-tuned, palm muted guitar and double bass-based drumming, and a heavy emphasis on breakdowns and solos. Although some bands are exceptions to this style, the vast majority of metalcore bands share this similar style.

A number of distinct sub-genres of metalcore have emerged over the years, the most prominent being deathcore, mathcore, melodic metalcore and electronicore / trancecore. All have their own child-subs on MMA.

Mathcore emerged in the mid-90s with the work of bands such as Converge, The Dillinger Escape Plan, and Botch, is the fusion of elements of math rock, which is rock based on complex time signatures, rhythms, and instrumentation, and metal genres such as thrash metal, death metal, and metalcore itself. This genre has a heavy emphasis on speed, aggressiveness, and intense instrumentation.

Deathcore, which emerged in the early 2000s, is another sub-genre of metalcore which fuses elements of hardcore punk and death metal.

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

Electronicore / Trancecore / Synthcore emerged in the 2000s, melding metalcore and post-hardcore with electronic elements. The style was made popular by bands such as Attack Attack!, Crossfaith, Enter Shikari and The Browning.

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

Progressive Metalcore can also be called out as a distinct style, which some include under mathcore, while others distinguish between mathcore and progressive metalcore, with mathcore emphasising technicality and progressive metalcore displaying progressive traits without necessarily being technical. Many progressive metalcore bands describe their music as "djent".

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

Metalcore bands such as Winds of Plague and Across the Sun have begun to incorporate symphonic elements into their style, suggesting the rise of yet another metalcore subgenre - namely, symphonic metalcore (with its corresponding symphonic deathcore).

Metalcore Inclusive Genres:

deathcore electronicore mathcore melodic-metalcore nintendocore


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

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

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metalcore Music Reviews

THE BEAST REMADE Worship The Beast

Album · 2013 · Deathcore
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siLLy puPPy
Female fronted deathcore from Mexico is not something you encounter every day but that’s exactly what you’ll hear with THE BEAST REMADE which comes from the northwestern city of Hermosillo comfortably located in the arid Sonoran desert near the Gulf of California. This is a five piece deathcore band that consists of Marko García (guitars), Ariel Olea (guitars), Martin Llanez (bass), Jose "Gordo" Romero (drums) and the very un-lady-like charm of Lucía Romero on vocals.

THE BEAST INSIDE is a satisfying slice of melodic deathcore with all the wicked rage you would expect only kept in the accessible zone with an underlying string of melodic hooks that while often obfuscated by the core infused fury of the deathened bombast that sails at full speed, nevertheless exhibits nice breaks from the status quo with slower thrash metal riffing extravaganzas laced with difficult listening time signatures and occasional neoclassical solos. Not exactly progressive but often hints at that direction.

Perhaps the most obvious comparison will be with Arch Enemy’s most arguable death metal diva Alissa White-Gluz as Lucía Romero captures the same untamed beast qualities with her shrill higher register screams. On the musical side of the equation, THE BEAST REMADE evokes a sense of The Black Dahlia Murder with its incessant mix of death metal and metalcore sensibilities. So far THE BEAST REMADE has only released this sole album which only just extends past the 31 minute mark.

While deathcore can be a one-dimensional rage machine which gets fairly monotonous, WORSHIP THE BEAST provides a melancholic piano “Intro” and likewise a similar “Outro.” In between the core values are firmly exercised but the intermissions into slower passages and other metal styles keeps this one from stagnating however the vocals never stray into clean territory as Romero always remains in She-Hulk territory. With compelling riffs, exuberant energetic delivers and a nice mixing it up of things without losing the deathcore focus of things, WORSHIP THE BEAST is a really nice debut that points to a promising followup which i would hope will emerge at some disclosed future date.

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.

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.

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