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Deathcore | Fashioncore | Mathcore | Moshcore | Swede-core | List of metalcore genres

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Stylistic origins: Hardcore punk – Heavy metal music
Cultural origins: late 1980s North America
Typical instruments: Guitar - Bass - Drums (Double kick)
Mainstream popularity: Little to none during the careers of the bands, has gained much popularity in recent years
Deathcore - Fashioncore - Grindcore - Moshcore - Mathcore - Swede-core - Emotional Metalcore

Metalcore is a musical genre consisting of a mix between heavy metal and hardcore. Although the genre has risen in popularity since the turn of the millennium, it is not a new genre, as many would believe, since bands such as Integrity have been around since the late 1980s.

Defining the metalcore sound is not an easy task as bands have often fused hardcore-influenced sound and attitude with almost any imaginable type of metal. In fact, the earliest signs of this genre before a name could be put to it was called 'crossover'. The band that declared the crossover was Dirty Rotten Imbeciles on their late 1980's album of the same name. Other bands like Nuclear Assault are the bleeding edge pioneers themselves.

It should be noted that metalcore and crossover are generally considered separate identities, with crossover referring to a mix of thrash metal/hardcore punk popular in the 80s and metalcore referring to the newer generation of bands mixing modern hardcore with styles like the Gothenburg school of melodic death metal and technical death metal. note: Death metal came from Thrash Metal.


Early scene

Nuclear Assault was amongst the first to call their music a heavy metal-hardcore punk hybrid. Although not thought of as a metalcore band today, Judge was arguably one of the earliest bands to start fusing heavy metal-influenced riffing with more traditional hardcore sound without being a thrash metal band. This idea obviously spread outwards, and although their first real release ("Those Who Fear Tomorrow") wasn't until 1991, Integrity was formed in 1989. Most songwriting by metalcore bands at this time was similar to New York hardcore bands, but differed in their harder sound thanks to use of double bass drums, harder distortion and louder, more gruff vocal shouts. This basic sound of metalcore has received the epithets - which can be used both with and without derision - "tough guy hardcore" due to the lyrical focus, which is often similar to older hardcore in that they call for moral and mental strength and integrity, but may also have a slight focus on violence, or "moshcore" due to the often breakdown-centric, mosh-friendly songwriting that some bands use.

During the middle of the 1990s, bands started expanding the metalcore sound, prime examples being All Out War who used straightforward thrash riffing, as well as bands such as Rorschach, Starkweather, Orange County's Adamantium, and Deadguy, who experimented with looser, often discordant songwriting as well as more untraditional rhythm. Converge, although starting out as self-confessed "hardcore kids with leftover Slayer riffs", have since bloomed into a hybrid of hardcore, metal and progressive instrumental and electronic experimentation, they like to call it "punk-metal". Zao is another band that left a mark upon the genre with their Carcass-like vocals and varied songwriting, particularly the Christian bands of the genre.

Later scene

From the late 1990s and particularly after the turn of the millennium, metalcore has grown immensely, to the point where major record companies are taking interest in the genre. Recent (2005) releases, such as Norma Jean's "O God, the Aftermath" have managed to sell well enough to make it onto Billboard charts.

One sound that has become immensely popular (dubbed by fans as "Gothencore") is to mix Gothenburg melodic death metal, popularized by bands such as At the Gates and In Flames, together with modern hardcore, occasionally incoporating breakdowns. Today, many popular metalcore bands play this style, including Killswitch Engage, Trivium, Bullet For My Valentine, Caliban (band), As I Lay Dying, Unearth and Darkest Hour.

Some bands, such as Botch, expanded on the blueprints of Rorschach and Deadguy, bringing forth intense mathematic influenced guitar riffs, as well as songs.


Central to many bands of the genre, quite a few of which eschew traditional verse-chorus-verse songwriting, is the breakdown (also known as a down beat). Stereotypically, a breakdown consists of slowing a song down, giving the guitars room to play a set of rhythmically oriented riffs, usually on open strings so as to achieve the lowest sound for which the guitars are tuned. These riffs are often accented by the drummer through double bass drums and the overuse of the china cymbal. Breakdowns are usually responded to by an audience by hardcore dancing. Vocalists also tend to throw in a single, repeated statement throughout the breakdown, giving those who are not dancing an opportunity to sing along. Many metalcore bands rely on having memorable breakdowns rather than memorable choruses. Songs with breakdowns have become more common, and some bands have used them far more often than was previously the norm, with some songs even resembling one elongated breakdown.

Metalcore genres

Main articles: List of metalcore genres

See also

Heavy metal
Black metal - Death metal - Doom metal - Folk metal - Glam metal - Gothic metal - Grindcore - Industrial metal - Neo-classical metal - Power metal - Progressive metal - Symphonic metal - Thrash metal
Other topics
Fashion - History
Hardcore punk | Hardcore punk genres
Christian hardcore - Crust punk - D-beat - Funkcore - Grindcore - Mathcore - Melodic hardcore - Power violence - Ska punk - Skate punk - Straight edge - Thrashcore - Youth crew
Derivative forms: Emo - Math rock - Post-hardcore
Regional scenes: Australia - Brazil - Canada - Europe: Italy - South Wales - Scandinavia: Umeċ - Japan - USA: Boston - Chicago - Detroit - Los Angeles - Minneapolis - New Jersey - New York - North Carolina - Phoenix - Seattle - San Francisco - Southern California - Texas - DC

Home | Up | Thrashcore | List of hardcore punk genres | Christian hardcore | Crossover thrash | Crust punk | D-beat | Death grunt | Extreme music | Funkcore | Grindcore | Grunge music | Hardcore dancing | Hardcore Emo | Melodic hardcore | Metalcore | Post-hardcore | Rapcore | Queercore | Skate punk | Thrashcore

Music Sound, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.

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