Mathcore band The Dillinger Escape Plan performing live in 2005
|Cultural origins||Early to mid-1990s, United States|
Mathcore is a dissonant fusion of heavy metal and hardcore punk characterized by unusual time signatures, experimentation, and rhythmic complexity. The genre has been shaped primarily by math rock and metalcore. The term mathcore is a portmanteau of the terms math rock and hardcore. The fusion has also been referred to as noisecore and experimental metalcore. Prominent mathcore groups have been influenced by free jazz, noise rock, and grindcore.
Precedents and early development (1980s - 2000s)
An early antecedent to mathcore was practiced by Black Flag, in 1984, with the album My War; "Its seven-minute metal dirges and fusion-style time signatures proved too much for many fans". Many groups from the mathcore scene paid tribute to Black Flag for the album Black on Black.
In the 1990s, groups now often described as mathcore were commonly called "noisecore." Kevin Stewart-Panko of Terrorizer referred to groups such as Neurosis, Deadguy, Cave In, Today Is the Day, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Converge, Coalesce, Candiria, Botch, and Psyopus as falling under this label. Stewart-Panko described the sound of these bands as a "dynamic, violent, discordant, technical, brutal, off-kilter, no rules mixture of hardcore, metal, prog, math rock, grind and jazz."
The earliest known bands to record this hybrid include Rorschach, Starkweather, Botch, and Converge. Throughout the 1990s, several other groups started to emerge: Cave In from Massachusetts, Cable from Connecticut, Coalesce from Kansas City, and Knut from Switzerland. The Dillinger Escape Plan is often considered the "pioneer" of mathcore. Before the term "mathcore", the style had only been referred to as "noisecore", though the genre's existence before this time is generally recognized.
Contemporary influence (2000s - present)
In the early 2000s several new mathcore bands started to emerge. Norma Jean's earlier records are often compared to Converge and Botch. Other new mathcore bands that cite older mathcore bands as an influence or are compared to them include Car Bomb, The Locust, Daughters, Some Girls, Look What I Did, and The Number Twelve Looks Like You.
The term is generally applied by journalists, rather than by musicians themselves. Jacob Bannon of Converge stated:
|“||I really don't know what mathcore is. Converge is an aggressive band. We have elements of hardcore, punk, and metal for sure. But I think trying to define our efforts and other bands with a generic subgenre name is counter productive. We all have something unique to offer and should be celebrated for those qualities rather than having them generalized for easy consumption.||”|
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Mathcore brings together the rhythmic complexity and uncommon or experimental musical time signatures found in math rock, a subgenre of indie rock that emerged in the 1980s, and the heavy sound in instrumentation that is found in metalcore, a genre that fuses extreme styles of metal with hardcore punk.
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Contemporary grindcore bands such as The Dillinger Escape Plan [...] have developed avant-garde versions of the genre incorporating frequent time signature changes and complex sounds that at times recall free jazz.
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