Metalcore: Understanding an Underground Music Genre

Music has many genres, ranging from Hip-Hop to Classical. An average person knows all the common styles of music, such as Rock, Rap, Country, etc., but what they most likely do not know is that music is taken to a much further extent than these common genres. Styles of music are combined to create new, brilliant mixtures of sounds. An example of this is the pounding genre of Metalcore.

When one first hears the word “Metalcore”, words such as “heavy” and “thrashing” come to mind. This is due to the fact that Metalcore is exactly those words. The style of music is a combination consisting of heavy metal and hardcore punk. Metalcore isn’t made up of one sole sound, but of a variety ranging from heavy breakdowns to extreme harmonized guitar solos. Breakdowns are known as the part in a song where bands usually slow the tempo of a song down. During a breakdown, the guitarists usually play on open strings to make the sound as low as it can get. Drummers accent the guitars by the use of the double bass pedal, which allows the drummer to use both legs to achieve maximum speed on the bass drum. Harmonized guitar riffs are another aspect stressed by Metalcore. Harmonization is when a note is played together with its counter-note. Usually a lead part is played by one of the guitarists, while another guitarist plays the same part except using the counter-notes of the original riff. This creates a unique sound, and intensifies the song.

The vocalists of Metalcore bands are known to “growl” instead of sing. A growl is a type of low throat-oriented scream, sounding much like a lion’s growl. Singing is still included in a lot of Metalcore today. Other Metalcore bands also have screamers that use vocals are known as carcass-like. These high-pitched screams are different from growls in that they are not as throat-oriented, making them higher pitched. Lyrics vary upon many controversial subjects such as religion, faith, and love. Contrary to the common stereotype, Metalcore is not based on Satan. Many of today’s Metalcore bands are Christian Metalcore, consisting of lyrics based on the band’s faith in God and positivity. Straightedge Metalcore bands also exist, containing lyrics about staying true to one’s friends, family, and oneself.

Metalcore recently emerged as a semi-popular genre, gaining publicity through magazines and television, but it’s not new to the music industry. The style of music became an official genre around the late 1980s with bands such as Nuclear Assault and Integrity. At first, Metalcore and another underground genre, Crossover Thrash, were believed to be similar, but it was later decided that the two would be categorized differently due to the differences in style. Crossover Thrash is a fast beat, brain pounding combination of thrash metal and punk. Metalcore is different due to its heavier metal style. It was not until after the millennium that Metalcore earned its popularity. Major record companies began noticing these unknown, incredibly amazing bands and became interested in the genre. With the quick growth of Metalcore, bands started experimenting with different instrumental techniques and styles to create new sounds, such as the melodic death metal rooted style popular in Sweden. Today bands such as In Flames, Trivium, and Unearth express this style of Metalcore. Other sub-genres of Metalcore include doom-sounding Deathcore, Emotional Metalcore, and the technically complex, math-oriented Mathcore.

Metalcore’s talented bands deserve recognition for their contribution to today’s music scene. Without their striving imagination, there would be no future in Music. Today, new groups and bands emerge from all over the world, just to disappoint a crowd of eager ears with the same sound they have been listening to for years. At the rate it’s going, Metalcore will continue to astonish fans for generations to come.

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