|Stylistic origins||Extreme metal, hardcore punk, crossover thrash|
|Typical instruments||Electric guitar, bass guitar, drums (double kick), vocals,|
|Melodic metalcore, mathcore, deathcore|
|Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, California, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Canada|
|breakdown, NWOBHM, NWOAHM, Grindcore|
Metalcore is a broad fusion genre of extreme metal and hardcore punk. The name is an amalgam of the names of the two genres, distinguished by its emphasis on breakdowns, which are slow, intense passages that are conducive to moshing. Pioneering bands, such as— Hogan's Heroes, Earth Crisis, and Integrity, —are described to lean more toward hardcore punk, whereas latter bands—Killswitch Engage, Bury Tomorrow, Underoath, All That Remains, Trivium, As I Lay Dying, Bullet for My Valentine, and The Devil Wears Prada —are described to lean more towards metal. Sepultura, who has been credited as "helped to lay the groundwork" in the 2000s, and Pantera, who influenced Trivium, Atreyu, Bleeding Through and Unearth, have also been influential in the 2000s, and the further development of metalcore.
Black Flag and Bad Brains, among the originators of hardcore, admired and emulated Black Sabbath. British street punk groups such as Discharge and The Exploited also took inspiration from heavy metal. The Misfits put out the Earth A.D. album, becoming a crucial influence on thrash. Nonetheless, punk and metal cultures and music remained fairly separate through the first half of the 1980s. Cross-pollination between metal and hardcore eventually birthed the crossover thrash scene, which gestated at a Berkeley club called Ruthie's, in 1984. The term "metalcore" was originally used to refer to these crossover groups. Hardcore punk groups Corrosion of Conformity, Dirty Rotten Imbeciles and Suicidal Tendencies played alongside thrash metal groups like Metallica and Slayer. This scene influenced the skinhead wing of New York hardcore, which also began in 1984, and included groups such as Cro-Mags, Murphy's Law, Agnostic Front and Warzone. The Cro-Mags were among the most influential of these bands, drawing equally from Bad Brains, Motörhead and Black Sabbath. Cro-Mags also embraced straight edge and Krishna consciousness. Other New York metal-influenced straight edge groups include Crumbsuckers who formed in 1982. 1985 saw the development of the hardcore breakdown, an amalgamation of Bad Brains' reggae and metal backgrounds, which encouraged moshing. Agnostic Front's 1986 album Cause for Alarm, a collaboration with Peter Steele, was a watershed in the intertwining of hardcore and metal. During this time, thrash metal groups began to borrow a great deal from hardcore punk, and in 1987 Metallica paid tribute to Discharge and Misfits.
Metallic hardcore (1990s)
Between 1984 and 1995, a new wave of hardcore bands emerged. These included Hogan's Heroes, Merauder, All Out War, Integrity, Biohazard, Hoods, Earth Crisis, Converge, Shai Hulud, Starkweather, Judge, Strife, Rorschach, Vision of Disorder and Hatebreed.
Hogan's Heroes drew influence primarily from hardcore bands such as Government Issue, Bad Brains, Misfits with elements of NWOBHM and metal bands like Venom. Integrity drew influence from hardcore G.I.S.M., thrash group Slayer, with elements of Septic Death, Samhain, Motörhead, Joy Division. Earth Crisis, Converge and Hatebreed borrowed from hardcore punk and death metal. Earth Crisis's 1995 album Destroy the Machines was particularly influential. In guitarist Scott Crouse's words,
It was a very mixed reaction. I'm often quoted as saying that Earth Crisis was the first hardcore band with a metal sound. Of course we weren't the first, but I think we definitely took it to another level. We heard a lot of, 'These guys are trying to be Pantera,' which we all took as a great compliment!
Biohazard, Coalesce and Overcast were also important early metallic hardcore groups. As journalist Lars Gotrich writes, "Along with key records by The Dillinger Escape Plan and Botch, Give Them Rope is an underground milestone that helped pioneer what was soon called 'metalcore'. At the risk of sounding too reductive — too late! — metalcore was the natural progression where extreme metal and hardcore met, but with spiraling time signatures that somehow felt more aggressive." Shai Hulud's Hearts Once Nourished with Hope and Compassion became especially influential in the latter part of the decade.
Commercial success (2000s to present)
In the early-2000s, metalcore emerged as its own genre, with several independent metal labels, including Century Media and Metal Blade, signing metalcore bands. By 2004, Killswitch Engage's The End of Heartache, Shadows Fall's The War Within, and Atreyu's The Curse debuted at numbers 21, 20, and 36, respectively, on the Billboard album chart. Also, in 2006, Atreyu's third studio album, A Death-Grip on Yesterday debuted at Number 9 on the Billboard 200, only to followed up by 2007's Lead Sails Paper Anchor, which debuted at Number 8. All That Remains' single "Two Weeks" peaked at number 9 at the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart in the U.S. The song peaked on the Modern Rock Tracks chart at number 38. In 2007, the songs "Nothing Left" by As I Lay Dying and Redemption by Shadows Fall were nominated for a Grammy award in the "Best Metal Performance" category. An Ocean Between Us (the album that included "Nothing Left") itself was a commercial success, debuting at number 8 on the "Billboard 200".
Welsh metalcore band Bullet for My Valentine's second album, Scream Aim Fire, went straight to number 4 on the Billboard 200, later surpassing this in 2010 with their third album Fever, which debuted at number 3 selling more than 71,000 copies in its first week in the U.S. and more than 21,000 in the UK. Underoath's fifth album Define the Great Line, released in 2006, peaked at number 2 on the Billboard 200 charts, selling 98,000 copies in its first week.
The Devil Wears Prada has achieved much commercial success with their album, With Roots Above and Branches Below, peaking at number 11 on the Billboard 200 upon its release. Trivium has met with very strong success, making top 25 positions on the charts in several countries, including the U.S., and top 10 positions in both Australia and the UK, even making Gold status in the UK. Hatebreed, God Forbid, and As I Lay Dying have also charted.
Underoath's album Lost in the Sound of Separation reached number 8 on the Billboard 200 and sold 56,000 copies in its first week of sales in the U.S. alone, with Killswitch Engage's self-titled fifth album reaching number 7 on the Billboard 200 and selling 58,000 copies. Another recent success is the album Reckless & Relentless by British band Asking Alexandria, reaching up to now number 9 on the Billboard 200, selling 31,000 in its first week. The 2011 album Dead Throne by The Devil Wears Prada debuted at number 10 on the Billboard 200, selling 32,400 in its first week.
In 2013, British band Bring Me the Horizon released their fourth studio album Sempiternal to critical acclaim. The album debuted at #3 on the UK Album Chart and at #1 in Australia. The album sold 27,522 copies in the US, and charted at #11 on the US Billboard Chart, making this their highest charting release in America.
The vocal technique in metalcore is usually screamed vocals, common among many 1990s metalcore groups. Today, many metalcore bands combine these vocals with the use of clean vocals usually during the bridge or chorus of a song.
The instrumentation of metalcore includes heavy guitar riffs, double bass drumming, and breakdowns. Drop guitar tunings are often used. Earlier bands usually used either Drop D, C# or C tunings. More recently certain bands have been known to tune as low as Drop G and even F#. Drummers typically use a lot of double bass technique and general drumming styles across the board. Blast beats are also heard at times.
Metalcore emerged from heavy metal and hardcore punk's subculture. Although a few of the groups were adhering to abstention from drugs and alcohol, bands such as Integrity and Asking Alexandria were not. Their frontman advocated an apocalyptic belief system related to Gnosticism and Catharism. Converge focused on personal anguish and experiences of failed romantic love. Several members of metalcore bands are Christians, including Zao, Haste the Day, The Devil Wears Prada, As I Lay Dying, August Burns Red, Texas in July, Oh, Sleeper and Underoath.
Melodic metalcore bands include Killswitch Engage. As I Lay Dying, Trivium, All That Remains, Atreyu, Bullet for My Valentine, Bury Tomorrow, Darkest Hour, and August Burns Red. These groups took major influence, cues, and writing styles from Swedish melodic death metal bands, particularly At the Gates, Arch Enemy, In Flames and Soilwork. Melodic metalcore often makes use of clean vocals. Some of these groups, such as Shadows Fall, have voiced an affection for '80s glam metal.
Mathcore began with the mid-'90s work of Converge, Botch and The Dillinger Escape Plan. The term mathcore is suggested by analogy with math rock. Mathcore is characterized by speed, technical riffing, and unusual time signatures. Bands such as Fear Before incorporate metalcore standards along with odd time signatures and progressive elements.
Deathcore is a fusion of metalcore and death metal. Deathcore is defined by breakdowns, blast beats and death metal riffs. Bands may also incorporate guitar solos and even riffs that are influenced by metalcore. New York-based death metal group Suffocation is credited as one of the main influences for the emergence of deathcore. Deathcore bands include Suicide Silence, Whitechapel, Knights of the Abyss, Carnifex and Chelsea Grin.
- Tom Breihan. "Status Ain't Hood". "Live: Trivium, the Jackson 5 of Underground Metal". The Village Voice. Daily Voice. October 11, 2006. Access date: July 21, 2008. "The best part of every metalcore song is the breakdown, the part where the drums drop out and the guitars slow their frantic gallop to a devastating, precise crunch-riff and everyone in the moshpit goes extra nuts."
- Blush, p. 193. "Howie Abrams (NYHC scene): Mosh style was slower, very tribal – like a Reggae beat adapted to Hardcore. (...) It was an outbreak of dancing with a mid-tempo beat driven by floor tom and snare."
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- "Shai Hulud, interview with Punknews.org – 05/28/08". Retrieved 2008-09-21. "As far as coining the term 'metalcore' or coining a sound, I don't think we did. There were bands before Shai Hulud started that my friends and I were referring to as 'metalcore'. Bands like Burn, Deadguy, Earth Crisis, even Integrity. These bands that were heavier than the average hardcore bands. These bands that were more progressive than the average hardcore band. My friends and I would always refer to them as 'metalcore' because it wasn't purely hardcore and it wasn't purely metal. It was like a heavier hardcore band with hardcore ethics and attitude but clearly a metal influence. So we would joke around and say 'Hey, it's metalcore. Cool!' But it was definitely a tongue-in-cheek term."
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- * McClard, Kent. Hogan's Heroes |quote="Hogan's Heroes is a four piece that plays a speedy type of clean metallic guitar orientated hardcore.Their approach is unique and up-beat. Attitude wise, they are right on. Built To Last is more than an acetylene burst of energy. It is a positive affirmation of the greatness of the alternative hardcore scene.". No Answers, November 1988, p. 13, 14, 15, 16.
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