Metalcore

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.

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.

History

Precursors

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]

Origins (1980s and 1990s)

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]

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]

2000s–present

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".

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

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.

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