Metalcore

Metalcore Bands
  1. (NEW) Atreyu Buy: CDs || Accessories
  2. Avenged Sevenfold Buy: CDs || DVDs || Accessories
  3. Chimaira Buy: CDs || DVDs
  4. The Black Dahlia Murder Buy: CDs
  5. God Forbid Buy: CDs
  6. Unearth Buy: CDs || DVDs
General overview

Defining the metalcore sound is not an easy task, as various bands have fused a hardcore-influenced sound and attitude with many different types of metal. The earliest signs of this before being labeled metalcore was 'crossover thrash'. The band that declared the crossover was Dirty Rotten Imbeciles on their late 1980s album of the same name. Other bands, like Nuclear Assault and Suicidal Tendencies, are leading 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 and hardcore punk, and metalcore being a slower, heavier, hardcore-rooted style influenced by thrash metal and death metal.

Early scene

Nuclear Assault was amongst the first to call their music a heavy metal/hardcore punk hybrid, though still thought of as a metal band by most. On the other hand, while not thought of as a metalcore band by many today, Breakdown was arguably one of the earliest to fuse heavy metal-influenced riffing with a more traditional hardcore sound without being a thrash metal band. Around the same time, bands such as Integrity, Maximum Penalty, Leeway, Biohazard, Madball, Judge, and Raw Deal began releasing demos and albums, laying the foundation for metalcore bands to come. Most songwriting by these bands was similar to New York hardcore but differed in a more metallic sound, due largely to the use of double bass drums, harsher distortion, heavier riffs, scream singing, and metal influenced vocals. This basic form 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, and "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 Liar and Congress in Europe, being a part of the notorious H8000 scene that started out in 1990. The H8000 scene was located in the West-Flanders area in Belgium. Many other bands followed in their footsteps, bands like Regression, Sektor, Spineless where also responsible for putting the term metalcore or Edgemetal sound on the map. In the U.S there was 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 less traditional rhythms. Converge, although starting out as self-confessed "hardcore kids with leftover Slayer riffs" (fitting well in the crossover of hardcore punk and thrash metal), have since bloomed into a hybrid of hardcore, metal and progressive instrumental and electronic experimentation, they like to call "punk-metal".

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 releases, such as Unearth's III: In the Eyes of Fire and Norma Jean's Redeemer have charted moderately high on the Billboard 200.

One sound that has become immensely popular (dubbed by fans as "Swedecore") is to mix Gothenburg melodic death metal, popularized by bands such as At the Gates and In Flames, together with old school metalcore. This results in style that has a definite element of melody (often even harmonized leads in bands with 2 guitarists) juxtaposed against the brutal rhythms and vocals. Today, many popular metalcore bands play this style, including Killswitch Engage, Atreyu, Caliban, Bleeding Through, As I Lay Dying, All That Remains, Haste the Day, Still Remains, It Dies Today, Demon Hunter, Zao and Unearth.

Some bands, such as Botch and Norma Jean, expanded on the blueprints of Rorschach and Deadguy, bringing forth intense grindcore and noise rock influenced guitar riffs, as well as songs.

Breakdowns

Central to the bands of the genre, quite a few of which eschew traditional verse-chorus-verse songwriting, is the breakdown. Stereotypically, a breakdown consists of slowing a song down, usually to half time, 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. Breakdowns can also consist of high pitched, often clashing off sets performed by two guitars in the same band: one band member plays the low chug chords while the other plays a higher pitched riff, which is frequently a minor second clash. Breakdown riffs are also typically played on the minor chord of the key, often D Minor due to use of Drop D tuning. These riffs are often accented by the drummer through double bass drums and use of the china cymbal. Breakdowns are usually responded to by an audience by hardcore dancing. Vocalists also often 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. Most influentially, bands from the northeastern United States have taken this concept and made it their own. Bands such as Boston's On Broken Wings and Bury Your Dead, along with New Jersey's Shattered Realm helped pioneer this method of songwriting, even poking fun at the excessiveness of the idea (ie, On Broken Wings printing "Mosh Hoodies" and Bury Your Dead naming their Victory Records sophomore album Beauty And The Breakdown). Now, the concept of "breaking down breakdowns" is a staple in many styles of modern American metal and hardcore.

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3 Comments

At 1:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it just me or does this look strangely familiar. Oh yes, it strangely resembles the wikipedia page about metalcore. It's almost identical. Never mind...

 
At 3:44 AM, Blogger José said...

C'mon metalcore radio, the helena song from MCR, bah this is bullshit

 
At 2:41 PM, Blogger AnlCnt said...

Wow... Never seen a description of breakdowns that in depth...

 

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