Melodic metalcore is a fusion genre, incorporating elements of metalcore and melodic death metal, with a heavy emphasis on melodic instrumentation, blast beats, metalcore-stylized breakdowns and clean singing. The genre has seen commercial success for employing a "more accessible and commercial style" than typical metalcore. Many notable melodic metalcore bands have been influenced by At the Gates.
The style began in the late 1990s and early-2000s tracing its roots to melodic death metal groups such as At the Gates. Florida's Poison the Well are considered one of, if not the first melodic metalcore band, proving extremely influential to subsequent bands thanks to their first two albums The Opposite of December and Tear from the Red, along with bands like 7 Angels 7 Plagues, Dead to Fall, Chimaira, Killswitch Engage, Shadows Fall and Unearth Of these bands, frequently cited influenced include In Flames, Slayer, At the Gates and Pantera.
Killswitch Engage released their sophomore album Alive or Just Breathing in 2002, which has been noted as a significant influence on many bands to follow, such as Jinjer, August Burns Red and Miss May I.The Amity Affliction formed in 2003, and is a significant contributor to melodic metalcore. By 2004 the genre saw increasing prominence, with Shadows Fall's The War Within debuting at number 20 on the Billboard album chart.Trivium released their sophomore album, Ascendancy, in 2005, which peaked at 75 on the UK Albums Chart, made the band one of the more prominent bands in the scene at that point, despite changing their style away from melodic metalcore on many occasions.Killswitch Engage's 2006 effort As Daylight Dies was described by Brandon Tadday of Overdrive Magazine as "without a doubt one of the most impactful releases for melodic metalcore during the mid-2000s", peaking at number 32 on the Billboard 200 and spending 22 weeks in the charts. In 2008 the All That Remains' single "Two Weeks" peaked at number 9 at the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart in the U.S., and on the Modern Rock Tracks chart at number 38. In 2007, the song "Nothing Left" by As I Lay Dying was nominated for a Grammy award in the "Best Metal Performance" category. An Ocean Between Us (the album that included "Nothing Left") itself was a commercial success, debuting at number 8 on the Billboard 200.
Welsh melodic metalcore band Bullet for My Valentine's third album Fever debuted at number 3 selling more than 71,000 copies in its first week in the U.S. and more than 21,000 copies in the UK during 2010 alone. Australian melodic metalcore band Parkway Drive's third album Deep Blue reached number three on the Billboard Rock Charts in 2010, along with Miss May I's album Rise of the Lion having reached number 6 in 2014.
Melodic metalcore bands often take influence from the guitar riffs and writing styles of Swedish melodic death metal bands, especially At the Gates, In Flames, Arch Enemy and Soilwork. Practitioners of the genre tend to make use of instrumental melody, and many prominently feature clean singing alongside typical metalcore growls and screams. Melodic metalcore often promotes "very positive lyrical content." The genre can also feature harmonic guitar riffs, tremolo picking, double bass drums and metalcore-stylized breakdowns. Some bands include guitar solos. A few of these groups, like Shadows Fall, have some appreciation for 1980s glam metal, while other bands, such as Trivium and Bullet for My Valentine take a significant influence from thrash metal.
Atreyu's debut album, Suicide Notes and Butterfly Kisses, is an invigorating foray into melodic metalcore in the vein of Darkest Hour, Poison the Well, and Eighteen Visions.