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 Engaged 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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Gaea
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A Myriad Misfortunes
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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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Retrospective
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Beautiful
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The Expanse
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Army Of Iron
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LEVELER
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Ényma
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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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Dawn Of Destruction
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THE PERSUADED
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First Breath
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Death Glory Hypocrisy
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Reborn
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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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Televiolence
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Villain
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Stay
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The Valley
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Between You & Me
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KILLTEK
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1s & 0s
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Eternal Emptiness
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Between Cycles
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The Arrival
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The Arrival
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Message For Lamb
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85
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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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FROM CRISIS TO COLLAPSE
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DISTRA
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No Hand To Hold
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Compassion In Unlikely Places
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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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Holograms
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The Collector
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A Disgusting Return
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A Pagan's Prayer
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Hate Prayer
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I PARIAH
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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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Oyasumi, Vol. 1
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Micro
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The Bright Beyond
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A New Era
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Scary AF
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Born From Ashes
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The Simulation
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God Given // Hell Risen
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metalcore Music Reviews

ON A WARPATH On A Warpath

EP · 2006 · Metalcore
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siLLy puPPy
Beatdown hardcore is a narrowly focused aspect of metalcore which is infused with a raging anarcho-punk attitude that exists for one simple reason: the moshpit. This style of aggressive bombastic fury tends to have slower tempos with extensive breakdowns which gets the audience riled up and keeping emergency rooms in business. While bands like 25 ta Life and Hatebreed have popularized the style, it remains a small sub-genre within the greater hardcore universe because of its limited scope.

Despite its rarity on the metal scene there are still dozens of these bands that exercise a true fuck off sort of attitude which are apparently borrowed from some forms of gangsta rap and incorporated into a Suicidal Tendencies type of crossover thrash sound. The band ON A WARPATH had a very short lifespan after emerging from San Leandro, CA in 2005, released this sole eponymously titled EP and then broke up the following year. This EP was released on Mike Hood’s Westcoast World Wide label and cranks out 9 tracks in less than 30 minutes.

This music truly exists somewhere in the gray area between thrash metal, metalcore, hardcore punk and hardcore hip hop if that’s possible. While the riffs are rooted in thrash metal, the compositions fit squarely in the metalcore camp while the attitude is dripping in punk with some rapped lyrics about talking nonsensical shit exist in the egocentric world of hardcore hip hop. The tracks are fairly similar as they tend to chug along with growly vocals trading off with metallic raps similar to Rage Against The Machine.

I have to admit that this isn’t a style of metal that appeals to me much but i try to find value in any type of music even if i’m not the target audience but ultimately ON A WARPATH’s sole contribution to the ever expanding metal universe unfortunately comes off as generic and excessively steeped in false bravado like a pygmy marmoset taking a deep breath and pretending to be a gorilla. In the end this just sounds like a bunch of kids who don’t know how to play and are relying on the distortion to give the overall structure more heft than it really dishes out. If you’re into this style of music then you may like it more than i but i’ll take Hatebreed any day over this cheap imitation.

UNEARTH Extinction(s)

Album · 2018 · Metalcore
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Kev Rowland
Can it really be 20 years since these guys started to make a name for themselves by playing anywhere and everywhere, either at their own gigs or supporting others (I seem to recall one tour when one aim was to amend their name on the dressing room at every gig, ‘Bunearth” was quite popular). Although the rhythm section may have changed over the years, singer Trevor Phipps and guitarists Ken Susi and Buz McGrath are still flying the flag for over the top metalcore as they have through all the years. It is one of my least favourite metal genres, as many of the bands lumped in here seem to forget the metal bit and concentrate on producing something which seems way too commercial. No-one can ever accuse Unearth of that, as their music is always incredibly heavy and producer Will Putney (Thy Art Is Murder, Body Count, Every Time I Die, Suicide Silence) has created something which deserves to be permanently played at 11.

Fans of Lamb of God, Meshuggah, Whitechapel and even Trivium are going to get a great deal from this. They are turning it up, tuning it down, and refusing to conform to anyone’s idea of what should be coming from this genre as this is brutal, uncompromising metal. Sure, they take breathers here and there, but all this does is emphasise just how intense they are when it all comes back in. Chris O’Toole keeps the bottom end nailed, but a very special mention must be made of drummer Nick Pierce who not only hits the drums incredibly hard, but also uses more bass driven sounds than many drummers which keeps everything in the low register. There are many wannabe’s out there who wish they could be half as tight and as heavy as this, 20 years on and Unearth are still knocking it out of the park. This is a very special album indeed.

ENTER SHIKARI Take To The Skies

Album · 2007 · Electronicore
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siLLy puPPy
Once the 21st century hit, all the “core” styles of metal really starting to get experimental with emphasis on cross-pollinating completely unrelated musical styles. One of the more successful of these came in the form of electronicore, also known as trancecore or synthcore which took the traditional metalcore instrumentation and style including breakdowns and married it with a heavy use of sequencers, samplers, synthesizers and other effects hitherto only experienced in electronic dance music such as IDM, psybient, psytrance and dubstep.

One of the first bands to go this route was the English band ENTER SHIKARI that formed out of the ashes of the hardcore band Hybryd. After a series of short EPs (“Nodding Acquaintance,” “Anything Can Happen In The Next Half Hour,” “Sorry You’re Not A Winner) the band which consisted of four core members and another five to provide “gang” vocals, released their debut TAKE TO THE SKIES in 2006 and has become famous for achieving significant chart success as a completely independent release on their own Ambush Reality.

Mostly due to touring and internet interaction with the fanbase, TAKE TO THE SKIES eventually went on to sell over 200,000 copies. This debut takes the liberty to re-record many of the demo tracks and spruce them up with better production. The success of TAKE TO THE SKIES naturally opened the doors for a whole legion of followers with bands like Crossfaith, Fatal FE, FACT and I See Stars finding new ways to add even more elements such as brostep, emo-pop, eurodance and even djent. As a pioneer in the genre ENTER SHIKARI pretty much sticks to melodic metalcore as its base and then adds healthy doses of synthesized trance music.

TAKE TO THE SKIES attempts to forge a new style of hybridization that marries two completely unrelated musical genera but in the end feels like a rough draft. The metalcore aspects are pretty mediocre in their delivery with Roughton Reynolds’ vocals mostly being performed in a clean style of singing rather than the expected frenetic screaming. Oddly enough the band reminds me of Linkin’ Park in the sense that they find a middle ground between metal presentation with more atmospheric backdrops except they don’t muster up the same sort of catchy hooks.

Overall this album doesn’t quite gel the two styles together very well and at an almost hour’s playtime gets rather dull by the time it’s done playing. None of the musicians have the chops to pull off a really stellar metalcore performance and the silly call and response “gang” vocals are actually quite annoying. Likewise the trance parts are rather bland with only a generic haze as opposed to full-on interesting keyboard stabs that add some meat to the product. In the end, i’m quite underwhelmed with ENTER SHIKARI’s first offering. It’s a big yawner for me.

2 HEADED CAT VS. UNICORN OCTOPUS WTF?

EP · 2005 · Nintendocore
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siLLy puPPy
Joining the not so crowded arena known as Nintendocore which is a strange hybridization of melodic metalcore and Chiptune sampling from video games, the bizarrely named Dallas, Texas based 2 HEADED CAT VS. UNICORN OCTOPUS followed in the footsteps of bands like HORSE the Band and Sky Eats Airplane to create some very strange music! This is pretty much the one-man band project of SX who plays keys, guitar, bass, drums, provides vocals of many styles and the incessantly frenetic video game sampling.

This debut EP is aptly titled “WTF?” which is exactly what you’re thinking while listening to this! While more texturally electronic than metal, 2 HEADED CAT VS. UNICORN OCTOPUS stick to the grindcore playbook when it comes to album length and this one is a mere 15 minutes and 10 seconds long with five screaming tracks that whizz by at the speed of light. This is heavy electronica indeed and lies somewhere between a standard raging metalcore band like Killswitch Engage and some of the most frenetic psytrance like Infected Mushroom except all the sounds are from video games!

For such a short album this is refreshing different and surprisingly diverse. While electronic sounds always provide a greater palette of sonic textures to paint upon the core canvas, the music itself ranges from the expected metal bombast as well as having soft lulling parts with soft gentle atmospheres. While the heavy parts are in full steam though, it sounds like an old school retro arcade with a million video game churning all those wonderful bloops and bleeps and electro-jingles only on hyperdrive!

Hardly a genre i’ve delved into, 2 HEADED CAT VS. UNICORN OCTOPUS has certainly woken me to the myriad possibilities of this sort of hybridization. Surprisingly this is pretty interesting stuff as it nosedives right into the electronic moshpit as if Atreyu crashed the rave and everybody just went along for the ride. While some might find this annoying, i have a taste for these sorts of extremities and really love all the SX just goes for it not giving the first flying fuck what anyone thinks. All i can say is WTF????

BORN OF OSIRIS The Simulation

Album · 2019 · Deathcore
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Necrotica
Back in 2011, Born of Osiris performed an admirable feat: they brought a heightened sense of futurism and adventure to a then-stagnant genre. The Discovery was an incredibly welcome breath of fresh air that, unfortunately, will always cast a shadow over the band’s subsequent work because of its ambition. Still, they certainly keep trying and trying to recapture the spark that The Discovery gave off and Tomorrow We Die Alive regrettably lost. After all, the concept of taking deathcore into more experimental and adventurous avenues is something that I’ll always be behind. By all means, let’s take the genre somewhere that forces it outside of its comfort zone! And besides, many of these substantially “djentier” deathcore and modern metalcore bands have usually been the ones who continue to push the boundaries, stemming from artists such as After the Burial and Veil of Maya. Well, luckily, Born of Osiris’ new effort The Simulation sees them back in action with their best album since The Discovery. Granted, there’s really no more death metal in there. For that matter, many of the songs ride a low groove that sees them moving even further into djent territory than before. So why does The Simulation work so well?

Because it has a runtime of only 25 minutes, which means it has less time to pack in all of its exciting riffs and experimentations before quickly getting the fuck out. As such, you’re greeted by enough twists and turns to make your head spin. There are a few quiet moments of atmosphere throughout, such as the frantic little symphonic intro of “Disconnectome” or the entirely of interlude “Recursion,” but for the most part, these moments of space and contemplation are constantly butting heads with the meaty riffs underneath. By far, the best section to feature this conflict comes from the outro of “Silence of the Echo,” whose melodic solo lends the heavy chugs and power chords with a beautifully spacy counterpoint. It actually reminds me of The Faceless’ Planetary Duality days, and that’s not the only moment that made me think of that album. Every time “Disconnectome” breaks into a melodic solo or goes through a hyper-fast blastbeat section, it really does sound reminiscent of the sci-fi tech-death from that era of The Faceless.

Thankfully, Born of Osiris don’t forget their roots on The Simulation, paying plenty of homage to what made them a household name in deathcore while still continuing to experiment with their formula. If I had to pick out the best change this time around, it’s that the guitar leads or more fluid than ever. “Analogs in a Cell,” “Silence the Echo,” “Disconnectome,” and “Cycles of Tragedy” are all imbued with fantastic soloing that both technically impresses and constantly shifts between neo-classical and jazz fusion stylings. Also, the variety in the drumming is really impressive from time to time; “Disconnectome” in particular (yes, I know I’m bringing up this song a lot) features a ridiculous amount of tempo shifts, and they’re all surprisingly tasteful and natural despite how abrupt they are. The Simulation isn’t a perfect album - the slower tempos can become pretty one-note, and the short runtime obviously means some people will want a bit more meat - but it’s definitely the most solid album the band have put out since their initial heyday. It’s a really fun little adventure that - much like Reign in Blood - is very easy to replay again and again because of its lean length and addictive riffing.

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.

Artists with Metalcore release(s)