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Deathcore is an extreme metal subgenre that combines death metal with metalcore.[1][2][3][4][5] Deathcore consists of death metal guitar riffs, blast beats, and metalcore breakdowns.[6][7] Deathcore gained most prominence within the southwestern United States, especially Arizona and inland southern California (mostly the Coachella Valley), which are home to many notable bands and various festivals.[8][9][10][11]

Death metal bands like Suffocation, Dying Fetus, Devourment, and Internal Bleeding all are credited as predecessors of deathcore for their use of breakdowns and influences from hardcore. Deathcore began in the early 2000s with early deathcore bands like Antagony, Despised Icon, and The Acacia Strain emerging at the time. The genre expanded in the mid-late 2000s with the emergence of bands like Through the Eyes of the Dead, Bring Me the Horizon, Suicide Silence, Carnifex, Job for a Cowboy, Chelsea Grin and Whitechapel. In the mid-late 2000s, deathcore became one of the most popular genres in heavy metal with the success of bands like Bring Me the Horizon, Suicide Silence, Job for a Cowboy, Whitechapel and Carnifex. In the 2010s, deathcore bands fusing deathcore with other genres also emerged. This included bands like Emmure and Attila fusing deathcore with nu metal and bands like Veil of Maya and Born of Osiris fusing deathcore with progressive metal or djent. Deathcore received criticism from fans of heavy metal music, usually for its frequent use of breakdowns. Some deathcore musicians even rejected the deathcore label.


Deathcore combines death metal characteristics such as blast beats, down-tuned guitars, tremolo picking, and growled vocals with metalcore characteristics such as breakdowns.[] The genre is usually defined by breakdowns and death metal riffs or metalcore riffs played in the usual death metal tuning.[6][12] Like in other extreme metal fusion genres, deathcore guitarists down-tune their guitars to give their music a heavier sound. Deathcore bands may also employ guitar solos as well.[13][14][15][16][17][18]

Low growls and shrieked screams are common types of vocals in deathcore.[6][19] Some other techniques that deathcore vocalists have used include what is known as pig squeals.[20][21][22][23][24] Sung vocals in the genre are rare and most bands seldom if ever use them, but the idea has been experimented with by a few bands such as All Shall Perish (in the song "Awaken the Dreamers") and Oceano (in the song "Incisions").[25]


Predecessors (1990s)

Death metal band Suffocation

The term deathcore was first used in reference to the style of music played by New York hardcore punk band N.Y.C. Mayhem in the mid-1980s.[26] By 1996, Nick Terry of Terrorizer magazine wrote: "We're probably going to settle on the term deathcore to describe the likes of Earth Crisis (as well as the more NYHC-ish but still as deathly Merauder)."[27]Embrace the Eternal (1998) by Embodyment and Rain in Endless Fall (1999) by Prayer for Cleansing are albums that feature metalcore combined with death metal influences.[28][29]Decibel magazine wrote that death metal band Suffocation were one of the main inspirations for the genre's emergence by writing: "One of Suffocation's trademarks, breakdowns, has spawned an entire metal subgenre: deathcore."[30] The Belgian H8000 scene was also influential to the development of the sound, with bands like Arkangel, Deformity, Reprisal, and Sentence helping to pioneer the genre in the late-1990s and early-2000s.[31] When writing about deathcore pioneers Despised Icon, Dom Lawson of Metal Hammer wrote: "blending death metal with hardcore was by no means a new thing when Despised Icon emerged."[32] Suffocation bassist Derek Boyer says Suffocation "were influenced by many early metal and hardcore bands".[32] Death metal bands like Dying Fetus, Devourment, and Internal Bleeding were influential on deathcore due to their use of "crushing, mid-paced grooves and breakdowns", according to Lawson.[32]

Despised Icon

Origins (early-mid 2000s)

Antagony[33][34] and Despised Icon are considered to be the pioneers of deathcore,[35][36] However, both Antagony and Despised Icon have rejected the label.[34][37]Nick Vasallo is credited as being the "father of deathcore" due to his work in Antagony.[38][39][40]The Red Chord's formation is also considered an early influential source for the genre due to their hybridization of metalcore and death metal sounds (among other genres).[41][42] In the mid 2000s, deathcore spiked in popularity shortly after Job for a Cowboy released their EP Doom in 2005, which is heavily credited as one of deathcore's most significant and influential releases for the genre.[43]

English band Bring Me the Horizon released their deathcore debut full-length Count Your Blessings in 2006. The band were presented the 2006 Kerrang! Award for "Best British Newcomer" shortly after the album's release,[44] however the band abandoned the deathcore genre soon after.[45] Deathcore band Through the Eyes of the Dead emerged in the mid-2000s with the release of their 2005 album Bloodlust.[46]

Expansion (late 2000s and early 2010s)

Deathcore began to gain further popularity in the mid to late 2000s and early 2010s. Suicide Silence's No Time to Bleed peaked at number 32 on the Billboard 200, number 12 on the Rock Albums Chart and number 6 on the Hard Rock Albums Chart,[47] while their album The Black Crown peaked at number 28 on the Billboard 200, number 7 on the Rock Albums Chart and number 3 on the Hard Rock Albums Chart.[47]Whitechapel's album This Is Exile sold 5,900 in copies, which made it enter the Billboard 200 chart at position 118.[48] Their self-titled album peaked at number 65 on the Canadian Albums Chart[49] and also at number 47 on the Billboard 200.[50] Their third album A New Era of Corruption sold about 10,600 copies in the United States in its first week of being released and peaked at position number 43 on the Billboard 200 chart.[51] San Diego natives Carnifex, witnessed success with their first album Dead in My Arms, selling 5,000 copies with little publicity. On top of their non-stop touring and methodical songwriting resulted in Carnifex quickly getting signed to label Victory Records.[52] Australian deathcore band Thy Art Is Murder debuted at number 35 on the ARIA Charts with their album Hate (2012)[53] making them the first metal band to ever reach the Top 40 of this chart.[54]

Fusion with other genres

A variety of deathcore bands experimented with other genres into their music as influence as time went by. Emmure has been credited to be heavily influenced by nu metal[55] and was described as "the new Limp Bizkit".[56] Suicide Silence's 2011 album The Black Crown is a deathcore album with some nu metal influences.[57] Other examples of nu metal-inspired deathcore bands include Here Comes the Kraken's later material.[57] In the early 2010s, deathcore bands that combine deathcore with genres like djent and progressive metal also began to achieve underground popularity. Veil of Maya,[58][59]Born of Osiris,[60][61] and After the Burial[62] are all examples of deathcore bands that combine deathcore with djent or progressive metal. Some bands, such as Make Them Suffer and Winds of Plague, mix deathcore with symphonic/classical elements.[63][64][65]Betraying the Martyrs is known to "temper the punishing brutality of deathcore with melodic flourishes pulled from symphonic and progressive metal, giving it a theatricality that feels distinctly European."[66]


Deathcore has been criticized and looked down upon, especially by longtime fans of some other heavy metal subgenres. The reason for it is often its fusion of death metal with metalcore and use of breakdowns.[23][24][67][68]

In addition to this, members of certain deathcore bands do not take a liking to being labeled "deathcore". In an interview with vocalist Vincent Bennett of The Acacia Strain about the deathcore label, he said "Deathcore is the new nu-metal. [...] It sucks. And if anyone calls us 'deathcore' then I might do something very bad to them."[69] While in an interview with Justin Longshore from Through the Eyes of the Dead about the deathcore label, he said "You know, I really hate that term. I know we've been labeled as that but I think there's so much more to our music than just a mixture of death metal and hardcore (sic) even though we incorporate those elements in our music. To me it seems that is just the new and fresh thing that kids are following."[70]

In November 2013, Terrorizer wrote "The term 'deathcore' is usually seen as a dirty word in metal circles" while interviewing vocalist Bryce Lucien of the Texas-based metal band Seeker. Lucien then stated:[71]

Much like what became of metalcore in the mid-2000s, deathcore is an often maligned term that can instantly diminish a bands credibility. What once conjured images of ridiculously brutal, unapologetically heavy bands like Ion Dissonance and The Red Chord now brings to mind bands full of twenty-year-olds sporting throat tattoos, matching black t shirts, and trying desperately hard to look tough while they jump in sync onstage.

In contrast, there seems to be bands that appear to be more lighthearted and less concerned over being described as deathcore. Scott Lewis of the San Diego-based deathcore band Carnifex started "We're not one of those bands trying to escape the banner of deathcore. I know a lot of bands try and act like they have a big problem with that, but if you listen to their music, they are very 'deathcore.' I know that there is a lot of resentment towards deathcore and kind of younger bands."[72] Also, in a 2012 interview, former Chelsea Grin guitarist Jake Harmond said: "Everyone likes to flap their jaw and voice their own opinion how 'embarrassing' it is to be in a band that can be labeled 'deathcore,' but honestly we have never given a fuck."[73]

See also


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  2. ^ Rivadavia, Eduardo. "Heaven Shall Burn". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2011.
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  7. ^ Marsicano, Dan. "Rose Funeral - 'The Resting Sonata'". Retrieved 2011.
  8. ^ Official SoCal DeathFest banner - held in Santa Ana, California Archived 2013-10-19 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "Official Deathcore Fest banner - held in San Francisco, California". Retrieved 2017.
  10. ^ "Ferret Music has announced the signing of ELYSIA. The California-based deathcore outfit is composed of Zak Vargas (vocals), Mark Underwood (guitar), Steven Sessler (drums), Danny Lemonsqueeze (guitar) and Jeremy Chavez (bass, backing vocals) and formed four years ago"
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