Apart from “Nü-Metal,” which is universally abhored, Metalcore is likely the most reviled metal subgenre among traditionalists. It is so-named because it borrows elements of hardcore punk, and is therefore a natural extension of grindcore and crossover. For that reason, I regard it as no less genuine than any other metal style. Browse the forums, however, and you quickly get a different impression. I once asked the metal-archives.com staff why several prominent metalcore bands were not included in their Encyclopaedia Metallum, and the terse answer was, “Because we only include real metal bands.”
I find it difficult to understand how these artists can be considered so distant in style as to be discounted from the repertoire. They utilize many of the same musical techniques, especially in the guitars. What’s different about metalcore is mostly in the vocals and drums. Vocals are screamed, not in a menacing manner befitting black metal, but in a fit of youthful rage. This, and a tendency to promote “straightedge” lifestyles, are the punk elements that put the “-core” in metalcore. Drum patterns are more complex than ever — even approaching a post-bop jazz sound at times.Tempo and meter changes are frequent and sudden enough to humble the most accomplished prog rockers.
The guitar solo is no longer the centerpiece of most arrangements, but soloistic guitar riffs in a higher register provide backing for verses. Guitarists flail away at dissonant intervals as though they only just discovered half-steps.
The Dillinger Escape Plan are arguably the most relevant metalcore band. Their music, and that of others like Into the Moat, Ion Dissonance, From a Second Story Window, The Number Twelve Looks Like You, and PsyOpus, is commonly labeled “mathcore” because of its extreme complexity.
Another subcategory of metalcore is “melodic metalcore,” here represented by All That Remains:
As you might imagine, All That Remains’s melodicism has helped them establish more credibility with purists than other metalcore artists.
Finally we come to deathcore — a currently popular subgenre that fuses the growls and guitar riffs of death metal with the breakdowns of metalcore. Despised Icon is one such group: