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 DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN Calculating Infinity

Album · 1999 · Mathcore
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Necrotica
Calculating Infinity is the perfect example of an album that takes the rulebook of its genre(s) and throws it out completely. It’s the flawless melding of brutality and sophistication, of anger and despair, of hardcore euphoria and jazz-driven mathematics. And the members of The Dillinger Escape Plan were certainly aware of what they were doing too. Guitarist and figurehead Ben Weinman was once quoted as saying on The Independent:

"Calculating Infinity was us effectively ripping up the music theory book; if someone said 'don't harmonise with a second, it just sounds out of tune', then every single lead we did, we'd harmonise with a second. It sounded disgusting, but we did it".

This music is controlled rage, but just because it’s controlled doesn’t mean it’s sterile or edgeless. The complex, labyrinthine arrangements are given plenty of vocal ammunition through Dimitri Minakakis’ tortured, chilling screams. And I’ll certainly give the band credit: they don’t mess around when it comes to storming the gate early. “Sugar Coated Sour” is both a phenomenal thesis statement of the album’s sound and practically a war cry for any listener interested in joining the band for this unique event. The dissonant guitar harmonies, impossibly precise drumkit grinding, and furious wailing are incredible markers of what you’ll be hearing throughout this brief experience. About 90% of Calculating Infinity is a mixture of blinding speeds, jaw-dropping technical prowess, and the rare moment of unsettling reflection. Those calmer sections are a great way for the band to show their vast range of influences as well, such as the incredible polyrhythmic prog-oriented bridge of “43% Burnt” or the avant-jazz chord progressions of the slow melodic (?) section of “The Running Board.” Even more curious are the few interludes that mark the record, leaning more on the avant-garde side of its identity. The title track and “*#..” are enjoyable Meshuggah-esque ditties that rely on strange rhythms and little diminished guitar “pops,” while “Weekend Sex Change” combines sampling, depressive guitar melodies, and incredible drum soloing into one fascinating fusion.

The most impressive thing about Calculating Infinity is that both sides of its bipolar personality are so natural and well-represented. Many of us are aware of the various rumors surrounding the album’s recording, most famously the decision to roll dice to determine each time signature. But it’s strange to think that for something so, ahem, “calculated,” that every bit of hardcore aggression and raw emotion can still come out in full force. Just listen to that utterly insane intro to “Jim Fear.” It doesn’t give us a moment’s notice to prepare for the full-on assault of scorching fretwork and deranged screams, but everything manages to be very planned and pre-staged all the same. That whole song really comes together when you reach the next section and hear the complex runs across the fretboard in unison with the rabid drums, and that concept of “controlled anarchy” comes into play. Wanna know why it all works? Because the insane technicality and the angular “prog-meets-punk” riffing ensure that each emotional catharsis is earned. The Dillinger Escape Plan somehow have the ability to turn technical prowess into atmosphere, weaving in and out of disturbing musical passages; Dimitri is simply icing on the cake with the chaos he spews over it all. But each emotional release works because the band members are incredibly skilled at building us up to those moments. Much like Converge’s Jane Doe, there’s a respect and care that’s given to each weird transition and tempo shift despite the hell being unleashed on top of the songwriting.

At the end of the day, Calculating Infinity is simply a mesmerizing paradox; it combines mathcore, hardcore punk, free jazz, avant-garde metal, and progressive metal, and somehow manages to treat them all as equals. If you want sophisticated songwriting and complex instrumentals, this album is essential. And if you just want to fuck everyone up in the moshpit, then it’s still essential.

FERAL KING Feral King

EP · 2012 · Metalcore
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siLLy puPPy
FERAL KING is a more recent metalcore band formed in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina and is now in the Chesapeake, Virginia regions of the USA. With practically no info about this band it seems it may have been a short-lived one but its members are / were Matt Beck, James Wagner, Mike Chapel, Ian P Sabo and Travis Kesler.

The band released this one and only self-titled EP in 2012 which featured a mere four tracks and the following year appeared on a split with the band The Lonely Ghost Parade. These four tracks are super short and to the point with the longest “Ain’t It Cool” barely over two minutes making this band’s output a mere demo rather than a bonafide release but both these EPs can be found on Bandcamp.

Nothing special here. This is pretty much textbook metalcore with elements from hardcore punk and more energetic death metal. The vocals are shouted, the chunky guitar riffs chug along and the bass and drums are on overdrive. The musicians are quite competent but in the originality department this is pretty generic. A good start but with no followup this band has already all but been completely forgotten.

THE HOPE OF CHANGE Hourglass

Album · 2005 · Melodic Metalcore
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siLLy puPPy
One of the many modern melodic metalcore acts to spring forth from somewhere in the world in the 21st century, THE HOPE OF CHANGE was a one-shot album band that formed in Lake Havasu City, Arizona in 2003 and stuck it out until 2007. In this five year stretch it managed to release this one and only album HOURLGASS which came out in 2005 on Harvest Earth Records.

This short album 10 tracks clocks in at 31 minutes and 29 seconds and showcases a style of melodic metalcore in the vein of bands like As I Lay Dying, Killswitch Engage and Atreyu with heavily chugging metalcore guitar chugs, bouncy bass lines and that frenetic madman scream that sets the core genres apart although there are a few death metal growls and occasional clean vocals as well. The melodies really come through when the backing vocals bring them to the surface.

There seems to be absolutely no info about this band but the lineup on this one was Bradley (bass), Bryan (guitar), David (guitar), Aaron (drums) and Mike (vocals) although THE HOPE OF CHANGE experienced a massive lineup change in its five year existence. Given the fact that this album really doesn’t showcase any originality and that the band’s geographical location was isolated in the middle of the Sonora desert in the years before the social media thing took off it’s no wonder they found no traction.

Overall, this is a decent slice of melodic metalcore by the books but nothing to get excited about either. This has all been done to death before by much better bands with more imagination. This is an extremely noisy album as it seems the production tweaked the guitar tones to a really obnoxious level and Mike’s vocal style verges on EMO whining but if you are seeking yet another band of this style then the competency level of the musicians is high. Personally this is a bit too generic for my tastes but wasn’t a waste of time either.

VASCULITIS A Monument To Violence

EP · 2018 · Deathcore
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siLLy puPPy
VASCULITIS in medical terms is a group of diseases that destroy blood vessels by inflammation and the perfect moniker for this Australian deathcore band from the far northern Coral Sea coastal city of Mackay in Queensland, Australia. Engaging in a sort of brutalizing slam death metal mixed with core elements, VASCULITIS joins the wave of a never-ending legion of like-minded skull crushers that vie for the extreme jugular of taking metal to its limits.

So far this band has only released this debut EP titled A MONUMENT TO VIOLENCE and except for the snippets of audio samples that begin and end this set of five tracks (reminding me a bit of Pig Destroyer), this EP of 19 minutes playing time certainly does glamorize the pummeling cacophony of sonic violence that will surely please any mosh pit addicts and those who crave a never-ending supply of deathcore fueled adrenaline.

While this style of extreme metal can certainly become generic rather quickly, VASCULITIS stands out in that the three members of vocalist Liam Briggs, guitarist Ben Burrows and drummer Michael Maynard (where’s the bassist?) provide an almost danceable procession of heavy chugs that is part slam death metal, part grindcore and at times employs even a bit of doom metal to build the proper tension but for the most part this band engages in a barbaric onslaught of the innocent and the conquering of the senses with a bombastic display of explosive deliveries of no nonsense metal madness.

What i like about A MOMUMENT TO VIOLENCE is that the band has mastered the art of tempos and dynamics and not relying on an incessant speedfest that never stops. The guitar parts are actually quite varied with some taking on an early Terrorizer style quality as well as developing more modern blitzkrieg techniques. The vocals are well within the world of death m metal with guttural growls and the drums employ blastbeat techniques as well as more varied jazzified gymnastics. While not substantially existing outside the world of deathbed core music, VASCULITIS certainly has embarked on a path that sets them apart slightly by walking that fine line between death metal and grindcore thus blurring the distinctions completely.

CRUCIFIX DOLL Fuck This Flower

Album · 2006 · Melodic Metalcore
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siLLy puPPy
With virtually no info to be found, the metalcore band CRUCIFIX DOLL seems to be a mystery. What is known is that this band that consisted of Kalen Chase [Kalen Musmecci] (vocals), Branden Krull (keyboards), Dan Johnson (guitar), Tyson Strom (bass) and Dan Faraci (drums) formed in 1998 in the Eastern Washington town of Colville but once formed moved to Hollywood, CA where they supposedly still are together however in the year 2020 the band has only released one album titled FUCK THIS FLOWER.

This band’s one and only album that consists of 13 tracks seems to be heavily influenced by not only the extreme caustic sounds of metalcore but also the progressive hardcore band The Mars Volta especially with the vocal style of Kalen Chase whose clean vocals are a dead ringer for TMV’s Cedric Bixler-Zavala. Another unusual feature of CRUCIFIX DOLL is that this is metalcore that also uses keyboards so there are lots of atmospheric backdrops as well as some direct usages. Most of these keyboard parts are reserved for not only background ambience but also for the scant moments when the metalcore breaks and a moment of piano or other non-metal style comes into play.

During the non-metal moments the sound can remind of not only The Mars Volta but in a distant way Linkin Park and other nu metal acts. Even Korn comes to mind once in a while and of course considering that the band formed in the late 90s and released this one and only album in 2005, makes a lot of friggin sense. Unfortunately the band wears these influences on its sleeves just a tad too prominently and most of the time i’m thinking that this could’ve easily been some sort of demo recording that occurred between the At The Drive-Inn post-punk days and the more progressive The Mars Volta.

Due to The Mars Volta influences, this is actually quite the melodic metalcore album with not only piano / vocal performances but strong pop hooks that make this probably a more appealing album to fans of the nu metal scene than actual diehard metalcore freaks. Ultimately this band exudes an innocence of a newbie band that has yet to figure out its own course but obviously that didn’t really happen considering the fact that another album never followed. While on the road to becoming a bonafide progressive metalcore kind of band in the vein of Between The Buried And Me, for whatever reason this band ceased to produce new material. At times CRUCIFIX DOLL seems unsure where it wants to go and hasn’t figured out how to weave all the elements on board together but in the end it’s not a bad album either. Unfortunately it’s not great either.

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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