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Metalcore (or metallic hardcore [2] ) is a fusion genre combining elements of extreme metal and hardcore punk, that originated in the late 1980s. Among other styles blending metal and hardcore, such as crust punk and grindcore, metalcore is noted for its use of breakdowns, which are slow, intense passages conducive to moshing. Other defining instrumentation includes heavy guitar riffs often utilizing percussive pedal tones and double bass drumming. Vocalists in the genre typically perform screaming, more popular bands often combine this with the use of standard singing, usually during the bridge or chorus of a song. However the death growl is also a popular technique within the genre.

Extreme metal is a loosely defined umbrella term for a number of related heavy metal music subgenres that have developed since the early 1980s. It has been defined as a "cluster of metal subgenres characterized by sonic, verbal and visual transgression".

Hardcore punk Subgenre of punk rock

Hardcore punk is a punk rock music genre and subculture that originated in the late 1970s. It is generally faster, harder, and more aggressive than other forms of punk rock. Its roots can be traced to earlier punk scenes in San Francisco and Southern California which arose as a reaction against the still predominant hippie cultural climate of the time. It was also inspired by New York punk rock and early proto-punk. New York punk had a harder-edged sound than its San Francisco counterpart, featuring anti-art expressions of masculine anger, energy, and subversive humor. Hardcore punk generally disavows commercialism, the established music industry and "anything similar to the characteristics of mainstream rock" and often addresses social and political topics with "confrontational, politically-charged lyrics."

Crust punk is a form of music influenced by English punk rock and extreme metal. The style, which evolved in the early-1980s in England, often has songs with dark and pessimistic lyrics that linger on political and social ills. The term "crust" was coined by Hellbastard on their 1986 Ripper Crust demo.


In the late 1980s to early 1990s pioneering bands; Integrity, Earth Crisis and Converge, were founded. During the early 2000s, metalcore started to gain more prominence, with several independent metal labels signing metalcore bands. This more popular version of metalcore is dubbed “melodic metalcore” due to many of the bands from the time being influenced by Swedish melodic death metal.

Integrity (band) band

Integrity is a hardcore punk band originally from America founded in 1988 by vocalist, lyricist and visual artist, Dwid Hellion. Integrity relocated to Belgium since 2004.

Earth Crisis is an American metalcore band from Syracuse, New York, active from 1989 until 2001, reuniting in 2007. Since 1993 the band's longest serving members are vocalist Karl Buechner, guitarist Scott Crouse, bassist Ian Edwards and drummer Dennis Merrick. Their third guitarist Erick Edwards joined the band in 1998.

Converge (band) American hardcore punk band

Converge is an American hardcore punk band formed by vocalist Jacob Bannon and guitarist Kurt Ballou in Salem, Massachusetts in 1990. During the recording of their seminal fourth album Jane Doe, the group became a four-piece with the departure of guitarist Aaron Dalbec and the addition of bassist Nate Newton and drummer Ben Koller. This lineup has remained intact since. They have released nine studio albums, three live albums, and numerous EPs. The band's sound is rooted in both hardcore punk and heavy metal, and they are considered pioneers of metalcore as well as its subgenre mathcore.



1980s hardcore band Agnostic Front Agnostic Front - Reload Festival 2016 03.jpg
1980s hardcore band Agnostic Front

Black Flag [3] and Bad Brains, [4] among the originators of hardcore, admired and emulated Black Sabbath. British punk rock groups such as Discharge and the Exploited also took inspiration from heavy metal. [5] The Misfits put out the Earth A.D. album, becoming a crucial influence on thrash. [6] 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. [7] The term "metalcore" was originally used to refer to these crossover groups. [8] Hardcore punk groups Corrosion of Conformity, [9] D.R.I. and Suicidal Tendencies [10] 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 [11] and Warzone. [12] The Cro-Mags were among the most influential of these bands, drawing equally from Bad Brains, Motörhead and Black Sabbath. [13] Cro-Mags also embraced some aspects of straight edge and Krishna consciousness. [14] Another New York metal-influenced straight edge group of this time period is the Crumbsuckers. 1985 saw the development of the hardcore breakdown, an amalgamation of Bad Brains' reggae and metal backgrounds, [15] 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. [16]

Black Flag (band) American Hardcore Punk Band

Black Flag is an American punk rock band formed in 1976 in Hermosa Beach, California. Initially called Panic, the band was established by Greg Ginn, the guitarist, primary songwriter, and sole continuous member through multiple personnel changes in the band. They are widely considered to be one of the first hardcore punk bands as well as one of the pioneers of post-hardcore. After breaking up in 1986, Black Flag reunited in 2003 and again in 2013. The second reunion lasted well over a year, during which they released their first studio album in over two decades, What The… (2013). The band announced their third reunion in January 2019. Brandon Pertzborn was replaced by Isaias Gil on drums for the rest of the tour.

Bad Brains American Reggae/Hardcore Punk Band

Bad Brains are an American rock band formed in Washington, D.C. in 1977. They are widely regarded as among the pioneers of hardcore punk, though the band's members have objected to this term to describe their music. They are also an adept reggae band, while later recordings featured elements of other genres like funk, heavy metal, hip hop and soul. Bad Brains are followers of the Rastafari movement.

Discharge (band) British hardcore punk band

Discharge are a British punk rock band formed in 1977 in Stoke-on-Trent by Terence "Tezz" Roberts and Royston "Rainy" Wainwright. While the band undergone several line-up changes throughout its history, the classic line-up from the early 1980s featured bassist Wainwright, drummer Gary Maloney, Anthony "Bones" Roberts playing guitar, and vocalist Kelvin "Cal" Morris.

Origins (1980s and 1990s)

1980s metallic hardcore band Hogan's Heroes HOGAN live.png
1980s metallic hardcore band Hogan's Heroes

Between 1984 and 1995, a wave of metallic hardcore bands emerged, [17] including Hogan's Heroes, [18] Integrity, [19] Earth Crisis, [19] [20] Converge, [20] Shai Hulud, [21] [22] [23] Judge, [20] Strife, [19] Rorschach, [24] Vision of Disorder [24] Hatebreed, [19] [24] and Disembodied. [25]

Hogans Heroes (band)

Hogan's Heroes was an American hardcore punk band formed in New Jersey in 1984. During their time they recorded three full lengths for California label New Red Archives. They have been described as a classic hardcore band, as well as "thrash," and metalcore band. The band broke up in 1993.

Judge is a New York hardcore band formed in 1987 by Youth of Today guitarist John "Porcell" Porcelly and former Youth of Today drummer Mike "Judge" Ferraro.

Strife is an American hardcore punk band from Thousand Oaks, California, but now primarily based out of Los Angeles, California. They formed in 1991.

Integrity drew influence from the hardcore band G.I.S.M. and the thrash metal band Slayer, with others like Septic Death, Samhain, Motörhead and Joy Division. Earth Crisis, Converge and Hatebreed [26] borrowed from hardcore punk and death metal. [27] Earth Crisis's albums Firestorm, Destroy the Machines and Gomorrah's Season Ends were particularly influential to the (further) development of the genre. [28] [29] [30] Biohazard, Coalesce and Overcast were also important early metalcore groups. [31] Journalist Lars Gotrich wrote, "Along with key records by The Dillinger Escape Plan and Botch, Give Them Rope (1997) is an underground milestone that helped [further] what was soon [universally] called 'metalcore'. At the risk of sounding too reductive—metalcore was the natural progression where extreme metal and hardcore met, but with spiraling time signatures that somehow felt more aggressive." [32] Shai Hulud's 1997 album Hearts Once Nourished with Hope and Compassion became especially influential in the latter part of the decade. [21] [22] [23]

G.I.S.M. is a Japanese hardcore punk band formed in Tokyo in 1981. Even though the guitar style resembled heavy metal in many aspects, GISM was one of the first Japanese hardcore bands, while at the same time drawing influence from the early industrial/avant-garde music scene—something uncommon in punk bands at that time.

Septic Death was a thrashcore band fronted by artist Brian "Pushead" Schroeder on vocals. Septic Death's music became a major influence on bands like Integrity, Von, Citizens Arrest, Infest, Rorschach and many other bands tied to the hardcore punk and extreme metal scenes.

Samhain (band) American rock band

Samhain is an American rock band formed by singer Glenn Danzig in 1983, immediately following his departure from Misfits. Samhain played in more of a deathrock and heavy metal-infused style of horror punk than Danzig's previous band. Glenn Danzig originally planned Samhain as a side project with Eerie Von. After his earlier group, the Misfits, contentiously dissolved, Samhain became his full-time band. Samhain is the least-celebrated of Danzig's major musical outlets and catalogs a transitional period in his musical career, bridging the gap between the punk rock of the Misfits and the dark, heavy metal and blues-influenced sound of Danzig. Both Samhain and its successor, Danzig, use the same horned skull image originally drawn by artist Michael Golden for the cover of the 1984 comic book The Saga of Crystar No. 8, published by Marvel Comics. The font often used in the name logo of Samhain, and later Danzig, is taken from the film The Giant Gila Monster.


Killswitch Engage are considered one of the breakthrough bands to bring metalcore to the spotlight. Killswitch Engage.jpg
Killswitch Engage are considered one of the breakthrough bands to bring metalcore to the spotlight.

In the early 2000s, metalcore started to gain more prominence, with several independent metal labels, including Century Media and Metal Blade, signing metalcore bands. A new subgenre, melodic metalcore, strongly influenced by Swedish melodic death metal, has formed and quickly came to the forefront of metalcore's rise to popularity. By 2002, Killswitch Engage's Alive or Just Breathing , [33] was the prominent album that thrust metalcore into the spotlight. In 2004 into Shadows Fall's The War Within , [34] 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 be 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".

Century Media Records record label

Century Media Records is a heavy metal record label with offices in the United States, Germany and London. In August 2015, Century Media was acquired by Sony Music for US $17 million.

Metal Blade Records record label

Metal Blade Records is a heavy metal independent record label founded by Brian Slagel in 1982. The U.S. office for Metal Blade is located in Agoura Hills, California. It also has offices in Germany, Japan, Canada, and the UK. The label is distributed in the U.S. by RED Distribution, and in Canada by Sony Music Entertainment. It was distributed by Warner Bros. Records in the United States from 1988 to 1993.

Melodic metalcore is a fusion genre, incorporating elements of metalcore and melodic death metal, with a heavy emphasis on melodic instrumentation, blast beats, metalcore-stylized breakdowns and clean singing. The genre has seen commercial success for employing a "more accessible and commercial style" than typical metalcore. Many notable melodic metalcore bands have been influenced by At the Gates.

Metalcore band Bullet for My Valentine performing in 2006 BulletForMyValentine2006.PNG
Metalcore band Bullet for My Valentine performing in 2006

In 2008 Welsh metalcore band Bullet for My Valentine's second album, Scream Aim Fire , went straight to number 4 on the Billboard 200, [35] which was later surpassed in 2010 by their third album Fever , which debuted at number 3 selling more than 71,000 copies in its first week in the United States and more than 21,000 in the United Kingdom. Bullet for My Valentine's 2006 album The Poison was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). [36] 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. [37]

Metalcore band Trivium live in 2012 120624 Trivium Gods Of Metal 2012 Milan Italy.jpg
Metalcore band Trivium live in 2012

Trivium have met with success, making the top 25 positions on charts in several countries, including the United States, and top 10 positions in both Australia and the United Kingdom (where it even achieved Gold status). Hatebreed, God Forbid, and As I Lay Dying have also charted. [38] [39] [40] The Devil Wears Prada achieved some commercial success with their album, With Roots Above and Branches Below , peaking at number 11 on the Billboard 200 upon its release. [41] 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 United States alone, [42] with Killswitch Engage's self-titled fifth album reaching number 7 on the same chart and selling 58,000 copies. [43]

By the early 2010s, metalcore was evolving to more frequently incorporate synthesizers and elements from genres beyond rock and metal. The Devil Wears Prada's 2011 album Dead Throne (which sold 32,400 in its first week) [44] reached number 10, [45] on the Billboard 200 chart. In 2013, British band Bring Me the Horizon released their fourth studio album Sempiternal to critical acclaim. The album debuted at number 3 on the UK Album Chart and at number 1 in Australia. The album sold 27,522 copies in the US, and charted at number 11 on the US Billboard Chart, making it their highest charting release in America until their follow-up album That's the Spirit , on which they abandoned metalcore, debuted at no. 2 in 2015.


Metalcore band Hatebreed Hatebreed 2016.jpg
Metalcore band Hatebreed

Metalcore is known for its use of breakdowns, in which it was preceded by heavy hardcore. [46] Metalcore singers typically perform screaming, [47] a vocal technique developed in the 1980s and characteristic of 1990s metalcore. More recent bands often combine this with the use of standard singing, usually during the bridge or chorus of a song. [47] The death growl technique is also popular.

The instrumentation of metalcore includes heavy guitar riffs often utilizing percussive pedal tones, double bass drumming, and breakdowns. [47] Drop guitar tunings are often used. Most bands use tuning ranging between Drop D and A, although lower tunings, as well as 7 and 8 string guitars are not uncommon. Drummers typically use a lot of double bass technique and general drumming styles across the board. Blast beats are also heard at times. According to author James Giordano, "tempos in metalcore tend to be slower than those found in thrash metal". [48]


Melodic metalcore

The early 2000s included a wave of metalcore bands who placed significantly greater emphasis on melody. Melodic metalcore bands include Avenged Sevenfold, As I Lay Dying, Trivium, Dead by April, [49] All That Remains, [50] Atreyu, [51] [52] Bullet for My Valentine, [53] Bury Tomorrow, [54] Darkest Hour, [51] Shadows Fall, and August Burns Red. [55] [56] [57] These groups took major influence, cues, and writing styles from Swedish melodic death metal bands, particularly At the Gates, [51] In Flames, Arch Enemy and Soilwork. [58] Melodic metalcore often employs clean vocals. [59] [60]


Mathcore began with the mid-1990s work of Converge, [61] Botch [62] [63] Eso-Charis [64] and The Dillinger Escape Plan. [65] The term mathcore is meant to suggest an analogy with math rock. Mathcore is characterized by increased speed, technical riffing, and unusual time signatures. [66] [67] Bands such as Fear Before also combine the metalcore sound with odd time signatures, as well as progressive elements. [68]


Deathcore band Carnifex Carnifex - With Full Force 2014 02.jpg
Deathcore band Carnifex

Deathcore is a fusion of metalcore and death metal. [69] [70] [71] Deathcore is defined by breakdowns, blast beats and death metal riffs. [72] [73] Bands may also incorporate guitar solos and even riffs that are influenced by metalcore. [69] New York-based death metal group Suffocation is credited as one of the main influences for the emergence of deathcore. [74] Some examples of deathcore bands are Suicide Silence, [75] Whitechapel, [75] Knights of the Abyss, [76] Carnifex [75] Chelsea Grin, [77] Impending Doom, [78] and Emmure. [75]


Electronicore describes a stylistic fusion of electronic music and metalcore. [79] Notable artists of this genre have originated from the United Kingdom, the United States, [80] [81] Australia, [82] Canada, [83] France, [84] Hong Kong [85] and Japan. [86]

Progressive metalcore

Progressive metalcore is a fusion of progressive metal and metalcore characterized by highly technical lead guitar and djent-influenced breakdowns. [87] [88] [89] [90] Practitioners of the genre often rely heavily on "atmospheric" elements and complex instrumentation. [90] [91]

Nu metalcore

Nu metalcore is the musical fusion of nu metal and metalcore originating in the 2010s. [92] Many notable groups take influence from deathcore, R&B, [92] post-hardcore [93] and industrial metal. [94] Metalcore and deathcore groups [95] such as Emmure, [96] [97] [98] Of Mice & Men, [99] [100] [101] Suicide Silence, [102] [103] and Issues [104] [105] all gained moderate popularity drawing influence from nu metal and metalcore.

See also

Related Research Articles

A number of heavy metal genres have developed since the emergence of heavy metal during the late 1960s and early 1970s. At times heavy metal genres may overlap or are difficult to distinguish, but they can be identified by a number of traits. They may differ in terms of: instrumentation, tempo, song structure, vocal style, lyrics, guitar playing style, drumming style, and so on.

Shai Hulud American metalcore band

Shai Hulud is an American metalcore band formed in Pompano Beach, Florida, in 1995 then later moved to Poughkeepsie, New York. The band is named after the giant sandworms in Frank Herbert's novel Dune.

Youth crew is a music subculture of hardcore punk attributed to bands who were primarily active during the mid- to late 1980s, particularly during the New York hardcore scene of the late eighties. Youth crew is distinguished from other hardcore and punk scenes by its optimism and moralist outlook. The original youth crew bands and fans were predominantly straight edge and vegetarian advocates.

Atreyu American metalcore band

Atreyu is an American metalcore band from Yorba Linda, California, formed in 1998. The band consists of unclean vocalist Alex Varkatzas, guitarists Dan Jacobs and Travis Miguel, bassist Marc "Porter" McKnight, and drummer/clean vocalist Brandon Saller.

Deathcore is an extreme metal fusion genre that combines musical elements of death metal and metalcore and sometimes hardcore punk. It makes use of death metal riffs and blast beats, as well as metalcore breakdowns. Deathcore gained most prominence within the southwestern United States, especially Arizona and inland southern California, which are home to many notable bands and various festivals.

<i>Hearts Once Nourished with Hope and Compassion</i> 1997 studio album by Shai Hulud

Hearts Once Nourished with Hope and Compassion is the first full-length album by American hardcore punk band Shai Hulud, released on November 4, 1997, on Crisis Records. Hearts Once Nourished with Hope and Compassion received positive reviews and became very influential in the emerging metalcore scene of the late 1990s.

Embodiment 12:14 were an Australia Christian metal band formed in Adelaide, as Embodiment in 1992, initially they performed death metal. They released two albums, Elements of This Man-Made Man (1998) and Inroads Out (2005), before disbanding in 2006.

Melodic hardcore subgenre of hardcore punk

Melodic hardcore is a broadly defined subgenre of hardcore punk with a strong emphasis on melody in its guitar work. It generally incorporates fast rhythms, melodic and often distorted guitar riffs, and vocal styles tending towards shouting and screaming. Nevertheless, the genre has been very diverse, with different bands showcasing very different styles. Of the pioneering melodic hardcore bands such as Bad Religion and Descendents, some have proven influential across the spectrum of punk rock, as well as rock music more generally. The term "melodic punk" is often used to describe both melodic hardcore and skate punk bands.

Full Blown Chaos is a metalcore band from Floral Park, Queens, New York. According to the band, their whole direction "is to keep a wide range of music, not to necessarily pigeonhole ourselves into metal or hardcore". They are well respected in the New York scene, and are generally considered to be a part of the NYHC movement.

Screaming (music) Vocal technique used in music

Screaming is an extended vocal technique that is mostly popular in "aggressive" music genres such as heavy metal, punk rock, and noise music. In heavy metal, the related death growl vocal technique is also popular. Intensity, pitch and other characteristics vary between different genres and different vocalists.

Crossover thrash is a fusion genre of thrash metal and hardcore punk. The genre lies on a continuum between heavy metal and hardcore punk. Other genres on the same continuum, such as metalcore and grindcore, may overlap with crossover thrash.

Matt Fox (musician) American musician

Matt Fox is an American musician, founding member and a current lead guitarist for the hardcore punk band Shai Hulud and his side project Zombie Apocalypse.

The discography of Shai Hulud, a hardcore punk band from Pompano Beach, Florida consists of 4 studio albums, 3 split albums, 2 compilation albums, 1 extended plays, 1 single and 1 video album.

Heavy hardcore is a subgenre of hardcore punk that incorporates more music elements of heavy metal than traditional hardcore punk. Heavy hardcore features aggressive vocals, down-tuned electric guitars, gang vocals, and heavy breakdowns. Heavy hardcore bands tend to often get labelled as simply "hardcore", causing the term "hardcore" to be a vague term because the term "hardcore" also is used as a label on traditional hardcore punk, a genre played by bands like Minor Threat and Bad Brains.


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