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Metalcore (or metallic hardcore) is a fusion genre blending extreme metal and hardcore punk. The name is a portmanteau of the names of the two genres, which is known as metallic hardcore distinguished by its emphasis on breakdowns, which are slow, intense passages that are used for moshing. Pioneering bands, such as Hogan’s Heroes, Avenged Sevenfold, Earth Crisis, Deadguy, Hatebreed, Bury Your Dead and Integrity, lean more towards beatdown hardcore, whereas latter bands - Killswitch Engage, Bullet For My Valentine, Parkway Drive and Blood Has Been Shed- lean more towards extreme metal. Brazilian metal band Sepultura, who has been credited to “laying the foundation” for the genre, and groove metal band Pantera, who influenced bands such as Hatebreed, Bleeding Through, Bullet For My Valentine, Avenged Sevenfold and Unearth, have been influential in the development of metalcore.
History - Precursors:Black Flag and Bad Brains, among the originators of hardcore, admired and emulated Black Sabbath. British street punk groups such as Discharge and The Exploited also took inspiration from heavy metal. The Misfits put out the Earth A.D. album, becoming a crucial influence on thrash. Nonetheless, punk and metal cultures and music remained 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. The term “metalcore” was originally used to refer to these crossover groups. Hardcore punk groups Corrosion of Conformity, Dirty Rotten Imbeciles and Suicidal Tendencies 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 and Warzone. The Cro-Mags were among the most influential of these bands, drawing equally from Bad Brains, Motörhead and Black Sabbath. Cro-Mags also embraced straight edge and, surprisingly enough, Krishna consciousness. Other New York straight edge groups included Gorilla Biscuits, Crumbsuckers and Youth of Today, who inaugurated the youth crew style. 1985 saw the development of the hardcore breakdown, an amalgamation of Bad Brains’ reggae and metal backgrounds, 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.
At the same time, thrash metal groups began to borrow a great deal from hardcore punk. Metallica paid tribute to Discharge and Misfits, and Slayer eventually recorded an entire album of hardcore covers. Anthrax covered “Protest and Survive” by Discharge on their album Attack of the Killer B’s and “New Noise” by the Swedish hardcore punk band Refused on their latest album Worship Music. In addition, groove metal band Pantera covered Poison Idea. Sepultura, who paid tribute to a number of groups, has been credited as laying the foundation for the development of metalcore as a genre.
Metallic hardcore (1990s):Between 1989 and 1995, a new wave of [taghardcore and crossover thrash bands emerged and bands who’ll blend crossover thrash with moshcore. These included Merauder, All Out War, Integrity, Biohazard, Earth Crisis, Converge, Shai Hulud, Starkweather, Judge, Strife, Rorschach, Vision of Disorder[/artist and Hatebreed. Integrity had influence mainly from the Japanese hardcore punk band GISM and the metal of Slayer, with influences of Septic Death, the horror punk band Samhain, the metal band Motörhead and post punk quartet Joy Division, while Earth Crisis, Converge and Hatebreed borrowed from death metal and thrash. Earth Crisis’s 1995 album Destroy The Machines were particularly influential. In guitarist Scott Crouse’s words,
“It was a very mixed reaction. I’m often quoted as saying that Earth Crisis was the first hardcore band with a metal sound. Of course we weren’t the first, but I think we definitely took it to another level. We heard a lot of, ‘These guys are trying to be Pantera,’ which we all took as a great compliment!”
Biohazard, Coalesce and Overcast were also important early metalcore groups. These groups are sometimes referred to as “metallic hardcore” as the long term for metalcore. As journalist Lars Gotrich writes, “Along with key records by Dillinger Escape Plan and Botch, Give Them Rope is an underground milestone that helped pioneer what was soon called ‘metalcore’. At the risk of sounding too reductive — too late! — metalcore was the natural progression where extreme metal and hardcore met, but with spiraling time signatures that somehow felt more aggressive.” Shai Hulud’s Hearts Once Nourished with Hope and Compassion became especially influential in the latter part of the decade. Many metallic hardcore bands were around in the Northern USA like Hatebreed and Blood Has Been Shed. While some modern bands like Killswitch Engage have. A lot of early metalcore bands have rooted from crossover thrash/punk metal.
Commercial success (2000s to present):In the mid-2000s, metalcore emerged as a commercial force, with several independent metal labels, including Century Media and Metal Blade, signing metalcore bands. By 2004, metalcore had become popular enough that Killswitch Engage’s The End of Heartache. Metalcore, also saw popularity when Welsh metalcore band Bullet for My Valentine’s Scream Aim Fire(even though it was more of a thrash metal[/tag[ album but led to their metalcore stuff), went straight to number 4 on the Billboard 200, later surpassing this in 2010 with their third album Fever, which debuted at number 3 selling more than 71,000 copies in its first week in the U.S. Although the band began as metalcore and melodic metalcore, with their 2nd album they went more [tag]thrash metal but returned as a melodic metalcore band with not much metalcore sounds and more melodic metalcore with Fever and sold more than 21,000 in the UK and Scream Aim Fire led to their metalcore songs like Cries in Vain, 4 Words and Hand of Blood. Hatebreed, God Forbid, Bring Me the Horizon and A Day to Remember have also charted as popularity for metalcore.
Killswitch Engage’s self-titled fifth album reaching number 7 on the Billboard 200 and selling 58,000 copies as another example of metalcore going big. Another recent success is the album Reckless & Relentless by British metalcore band Asking Alexandria, reaching up to now number 9 on the Billboard 200, selling 31,000 in its first week. However, the majority of metalcore bands are underground such as Bury Your Dead, Converge, and others.