Metalcore (or metallic hardcore)[3] is a fusion music genre that combines elements of extreme metal and hardcore punk together. 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, occasional blast beats, and double bass drumming. Vocalists in the genre typically perform yelling or screaming. Some later metalcore bands often combine this with the use of clean singing, with the singing often happening during the chorus of the song. Death growls and gang vocals also are somewhat common types of vocals in metalcore. 1990s metalcore bands are heavily inspired by hardcore while later metalcore bands were inspired heavily by melodic death metal. Melodic death metal bands like At the Gates and In Flames influenced later metalcore bands.

The roots of metalcore go back to the 1980s when bands would combine hardcore punk with heavy metal. This included New York hardcore bands like Agnostic Front, Cro-Mags, and Killing Time, British hardcore punk bands like The Exploited and Discharge, and American crossover thrash bands like Dirty Rotten Imbeciles and Suicidal Tendencies. The genre emerged in the early 1990s and expanded in the mid–late 1990s. Metalcore bands like Integrity, Earth Crisis, Hatebreed, Converge, Shai Hulud, Vision of Disorder, Merauder, and Disembodied all emerged and acquired underground success in the 1990s.

In the mid-2000s, metalcore became one of the most popular heavy metal subgenres with the success of bands like Bleeding Through, Avenged Sevenfold, Killswitch Engage, Hatebreed, Atreyu, Shadows Fall, As I Lay Dying, Unearth, Trivium, Bullet for My Valentine, and All That Remains. Metalcore's popularity continued in the 2010s with the success of bands like Asking Alexandria, August Burns Red, and The Devil Wears Prada. Metalcore genres like deathcore, electronicore, and crabcore also emerged in the 2000s decade. Other genres of metalcore include mathcore, nu metalcore, melodic metalcore, and progressive metalcore.


Bullet for My Valentine performing live in 2006

Metalcore is known for its use of breakdowns, in which it was preceded by heavy hardcore.[4] Metalcore singers typically perform screaming,[5] a vocal technique developed in the 1980s and characteristic of 1990s metalcore. Later metalcore bands often combine this with the use of standard singing, usually during the bridge or chorus of a song.[5] 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.[5] 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".[6] Many later metalcore bands would include guitar solos in songs.

1990s metalcore bands generally had a strong influence from heavy hardcore. In the 2000s, metalcore bands began to be exclusively inspired by heavy metal.[5] Many 2000s metalcore bands were heavily inspired by melodic death metal and used strong elements of melodic death metal in their music.[7] Malcolm Dome of Revolver wrote that without melodic death metal band At the Gates' 1995 album Slaughter of the Soul, "modern American metalcore (everyone from As I Lay Dying and Killswitch Engage to All That Remains and the Black Dahlia Murder) wouldn't even exist."[8] Graham Hartmann of Loudwire wrote "Although metalcore broke in the early 2000s, listening to At the Gates' 1995 album feels like a Nostradamus-esque prediction of how metal would evolve."[9]

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