X96 Beginner’s Guide to Metalcore


Metalcore is essentially the fusion of Metal and Hardcore Punk.

Key features of a metalcore band or sound includes, but is not limited to – gutteral vocalics (low-pitch growls or high pitch screaming that forces vocalists to use their gut), very low-tuned guitars in order to give the instrument a more crunchy or “chug” sound, heavily palm-muted guitar bridges or breaks often referred to as “breakdowns,” and some good rapid-fire punk-influenced drum techniques. In other words, it’s basically what the Vans’ Warped Tour is stocked with these days. They are also the band your older brother bitches about being on the Warped Tour when he’s listening to NoFX and The Reverend Horton Heat.

So for those who are new to the genre and are looking for heavier music, check out the following selections:

1. “Downfall Of Us All” – A Day To Remember

Anyone who has seen this band at the 2014 Big Ass Show can tell you that this band is fun as hell. Pop-punk serenades mixed with brutal guitar breakdowns and just enough harsh vocals to leave you wanting more.

2. “Throne” – Bring Me The Horizon

This song may not be exactly metalcore (we did say that this playlist was for beginners, right?). But, this is a good intro to one of most expansive and impressive bands of the genre, Bring Me The Horizon.

3. “No Ordinary Love” – Memphis May Fire

One of the most notable bands from the genre, Memphis May Fire lays down textured crunchy guitar riffs, relentless drumming and screams so good it will give you chills and make you want to start riots all at the same time. No Ordinary Love may be their most accessible track, so it’s a good place to start.

4. “Wild Eyes” – Parkway Drive

Metalcore mixed with a bit of arena-ready metal. Parkway Drive has been delivering spine-crushing breakdowns and other metal-related goodness since 2006. Be ready when this bands hits In The Venue on December 2. You can get tickets here.

5. “Prey For Me” – The Color Morale

The Color Morale may be the most life-affirming band on this playlist. Try not to get emotional while watching the video for most recent single “Prey For Me.” The only thing that may be more uplifting than the lyrics is that soaring lead guitar riff built in between the verses. You can catch these guys at The Complex opening for Motionless In White & The Devil Wears Prada on Monday November 16. Tickets here. 

6. “Would You Still Be There” – Of Mice & Men

If you like a little bit of grunge rock mixed with your metal, than look no further than Of Mice & Men. Think 90s alt-rock mixed with breakdowns, screaming, and heavier guitar riffs.

7. “Identity” – August Burns Red

Not for the faint of heart, August Burns Red has been building a loyal following from fans of adventurous hard rock since 2003. Their lead guitarist, JB Brubaker could give Slash (or any other iconic guitarist) a real run for his money. Their latest effort, Found in Far Away Places, proves to be no exception to the golden rule – You come to rock, or you don’t come at all.

8. “Stingray Affliction” – Issues

Take turntable scratches, digitally programmed beats, swooning R&B style lead vocals, funky bass slaps, and good ole fashioned metal guitar riffs and you get – Issues. The band, that is. This nu-metalcore band is quickly becoming the next big thing in the genre. It’s no surprise either, Issues is clearly on a level of their own.

9. “In Between” – Beartooth

Taking a more hardcore punk approach to metal, Beartooth is all about playing fast, playing hard, and breaking stuff. “In Between” give you good look into the mind of the vocalist Caleb Shomo, who builds his songs on his insecurities and struggles with his inner demons. Beartooth was mainly started by Shomo yelling his feelings into a mic in his basement, but now they are a powerhouse on the rise.

10. “Bloodline” – Crown The Empire

Crown The Empire exists in a fantasy world of rebellion, war, and tyranny that they have built themselves with their songwriting. And judging by “Bloodline,” it’s not a very pretty world.

11. “Reinventing Your Exit” – Underoath

Most bands in this playlist wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the efforts of Underoath. This band played a huge part in shaping the genre to what it is today. If it you haven’t heard, they are coming out of “retirement” to play their most iconic albums front to back, They’re Only Chasing Safety and Define The Great Line. Get tickets here.

And now you know. So act like you know and don’t let anyone tell you, you don’t know.

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