Deathcore

Primary Stylistic Influences:
Secondary Stylistic Influences:

Deathcore is a generic term for music that combines Metalcore with Death Metal (usually more of the former than the latter, although there are certainly exceptions to thatnote ). It usually combines blastbeat-led riffing akin to Death Metal with breakdowns influenced by both Metalcore and Brutal Death "slams". Deathcore's prominent vocal style is the growling of Death Metal, often juxtaposed with Metalcore-derived screams and high-pitched backing shrieks a la Cannibal Corpse and Deicide.

The most popular subset of Deathcore employs breakdowns, grooves and Melodic Death Metal-influenced riffs with occasional glimpses of traditional DM. "Pig squeal" vocals, which try to emulate the sound of a pig being slaughtered, are sometimes used (less commonly in recent years thanks to Complaining About Shows You Don't Like). Brutal Deathcore bands eschew melodic stylings and often invoke either beatdown hardcore or slam tropes; some acts (Waking the Cadaver and Ingested being the most famous) essentially run a 50/50 split between deathcore and slam. Some Deathcore bands add in an overt nod to the genre's Hardcore Punk roots by including gang vocals. In the genre's more melodic forms, Symphonic Metal-influenced keys/synths are not uncommon, with melodic, spacey guitar textures and neoclassical or fusion-influenced leadwork also frequently showing up. The earliest acts (particularly The Red Chord, Despised Icon, Animosity, and Deadwater Drowning) also tend to have heavy overlap with mathcore and deathgrind.

Because it borrows heavily from its commercially successful grandparent Metalcore, Deathcore is arguably more viable in the mainstream than Death Metal. It could be seen as a Darker and Edgier version of the former and, if critics are to be believed, a Lighter and Softer descendant of the latter. Because It's Popular, Now It Sucks and the genre's heavy influence from modern Metalcore supposedly makes it a "bastardization" of Heavy Metal, the genre has become a prominent target for contempt from purists in recent years. The fact that many of the bands frequently make their way onto the bills of well-respected acts and often carry prominence over said acts (relegating them to support roles), as well as the frequently unpleasant behavior of many of the musicians in the genre and the tendency of fans to have a very limited knowledge of death metal while writing death metal off as "irrelevant" and often behaving poorly at death metal shows with core bands on the bill has not helped its cause one bit.

As with Nu Metal, the term "deathcore" is rejected by many bands because it's seen as derogatory.


Bands typically described as Deathcore include:

Deathcore exhibits the following tropes:

  • Christian Metal: Impending Doom, With Blood Comes Cleansing and Underneath the Gun, among many, many others.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: One of the more frequent criticisms of deathcore comes from the exceptionally high amounts of profanity in the lyrics, which are generally seen as puerile and overly simplistic. The more of a tough guy aesthetic a band has, the higher the likelihood that profanity is going to comprise a significant portion of the lyrics.
  • Dead Artists Are Better: Many are saying this about Suicide Silence since Mitch Lucker passed away in 2012.
  • Dead Horse Genre: Many have called it this, including some deathcore bands who later jumped ship and changed their style (such as Job for a Cowboy moving onto tech-death, or Bring Me the Horizon onto straight-up metalcore).
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Many of the earliest acts, while undoubtedly a major influence on the later acts, had surprisingly little in common with them. They were a weird mix of grindy death metal with hardcore influences (Antagony, Animosity), a Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly-tinged death metal/mathcore hybrid (The Red Chord, Glass Casket), brutal death with a bit of skronk (Despised Icon), mathcore with extremely prominent death metal elements (Deadwater Drowning), and deathgrind (Bodies in the Gears of the Apparatus). Few of these acts sounded anything alike and it took All Shall Perish, Job for a Cowboy, Suffokate, and As Blood Runs Black to popularize a more-or-less unified style, while the earliest works of Suicide Silence and Whitechapel represented something of a bridge between the two styles.
  • Emo Teen: Many deathcore musicians have an emo-esque look, with Bring Me the Horizon being the primary example. In fact, the band's move away from the genre was accompanied by their shedding of the overhanging fringes. Other bands that once showcased an "emo" aesthetic include Chelsea Grin, Dir en grey and Suicide Silence, though this has faded due to the emo look becoming Deader Than Disco in the 2010s.
  • Fandom Rivalry: Death Metal fandom has a deep and abiding hatred of deathcore, which it sees as a creatively bankrupt "bastardization" of its sound. Deathcore fans in turn perceive Death Metal and its fans as being out of touch with modern tastes in extreme music and highly intolerant of experimentation. This rivalry goes double for Slam-influenced Deathcore, due to Slam's own Fandom Rivalry with the rest of the Death Metal community, and backwash from the Deathcore fandom into Slam.
  • Follow the Leader: The main reason for the huge amount of deathcore bands around, as well as for the periodic sound shifts. Most of these sound shifts depend on which band gains recognition.
    • When Despised Icon got big, bands bumped up the wiggerdom. When Bring Me The Horizon got big, bands started adopting an Emo look. When Veil of Maya got big, bands started adding in lots of Djent. When The Faceless made it big, bands started going tech. When Born of Osiris made it big, bands started infusing atmospheric and electronic elements into their music. When Carnifex got big, bands started adding in blackened death elements. In short, when a band in this genre gets big, a higher-than-normal amount of copycats show up.
  • Gorn: It's everywhere, from lyrics to cover art to music videos...though there are some exceptions.
  • Harsh Vocals: ...Duh.
  • Hatedom: At the moment, it's the metal fandom's favorite target genre-wise.
  • It's the Same, so It Sucks: One of the most popular complaints from fans - deathcore is seen as a genre devoid of musical variance and progression, and it is not helped by the fact that bands frequently copy each others' styles.
  • Jerkass: There does seem to be an awfully high amount of deathcore musicians known for their rude and unprofessional behavior, but the members of Rose Funeral and Don Campan from Waking the Cadaver are especially infamous for this. The former was made notorious by the Uno incident, while the latter is known for his homophobia-laced rants and aggressively confrontational (often violently so) nature in real life over petty slights.
    • This has led to the popular but derogatory "brocore" label due to the said nature of deathcore musicians as well as some fans who see live shows as opportunities for starting fights as opposed to venues for appreciating the music.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: As with Nu Metal, there can at times be a rather jarring tonal contrast between the overtly "br00tal, tuff guy" music and the sometimes decidedly introspective, Wangst-y lyrics.
  • Memetic Mutation: The various lyrical shoehorns present in some bands' songs.
    • A minor one would be the bizarre shot from Job For A Cowboy's "Entombment Of The Machine" video, where all the music stops, the singer gives out a blood-curdling, yet somewhat feminine scream, and the drummer practically flings himself onto the drumset to bring the sticks down. Sometimes referred to as the "WHEEEEEEEEE- WHOPP."
      • From the same song comes the Mondegreen "PREHEAT PIZZA ROLLS/BRING ME APPLESAUCE"
      • "Knee Deep" seems to have been the song that set off the "Your favorite song, performed by Spongebob's Band" meme.
  • Metal Scream: Is known for a variant of Type 2 that is a a throaty, hardcore-inflected bellow; while the origins are unclear, it is likely that Phil Bozeman and Adam Warren (Oceano) popularized this approach. Type 3s are also exceedingly common and are usually screechier and more shrill than they would normally be in death metal; Trevor Strnad is the most likely influence, while Jonny Davy, Eddie Hermida, and Mitch Lucker are all roughly equally responsible for popularizing it. Type 1s are somewhat more rare, but they do still show up reasonably often; famous vocalists who primarily use them include Guy Kozowyk, Alex Erian, John Cooke (Winds of Plague), Anthony Notarmaso (After the Burial), and Aaron Matts (Betraying the Martyrs).
  • Misogyny Song: Like you would not believe. If a deathcore band has gore-based lyrics, there's a very high chance that almost every song is going to be about torturing and murdering women. Frequent gang shouts during breakdowns of "you're fucking dead, bitch" or something akin to it makes it all the more obvious.
    • Thy Art Is Murder used to do this so much that they were put at LEVEL 11 in the Mohs Scale of Lyrical Hardness, but this changed when Chris McMahon joined and changed the lyrical focus to horror and standard evil-based themes.
    • Even bands with less violent, more introspective lyrics will express negative views of women in their music. Carnifex and Bring Me The Horizon are the biggest offenders.
    • This has also extended to the merchandise; to name an example, I Declare War was harshly criticized (even by their fans, to boot) for selling a shirt that read "FUCK YOUR TITS, SHOW ME YOUR CUNT" on the back.
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: As with most extreme metal, from 9 to 11.
  • Never Live It Down: The uno incident for Rose Funeral. It might be too early to tell, however.
    • It has mostly died down, but it lasted for a good while and even got the support of members of Nile and Immolation; hell, Karl Sanders even surreptitiously encouraged people to harass and troll them, as none of the other bands on the tour were at all happy about having Rose Funeral on the bill. And even in 2016, it's not uncommon to see Uno jokes in the comments of their YouTube videos.
    • For that matter, there's also Don Campan's childish, poorly-written, and openly homophobic attack email to a metal journalist who jokingly referred to Waking the Cadaver as "wigger slam", which was later put up for the viewing pleasure of the internet and was soon followed by the revelation that Don sold Amway products and used his MySpace page to extol the virtues of said multi-level marketing scheme.
  • Old Shame: Lots of bands who started out as deathcore before switching to death metal tend to be embarrassed about their earlier days, with Job for a Cowboy being one of the most prominent examples; while they still play their early material live, it's less because they want to and more because people have come to expect it.
  • Pretty Fly (For a White Guy): Many of the more hardcore-oriented acts tend to be very wigger-ish from both a lyrical and aesthetic standpoint; Despised Icon parodied this with "MVP", which is ironic because they were one of the worst offenders.
  • Religion Rant Song: Very frequent, just like its parent genre.
  • Revolving Door Band: A number of bands have this, though many (The Faceless and Job for a Cowboy among them) will retain one key founding member. Rose Funeral are perhaps the most extreme case, having gone through eighteen members since their formation in 2005.
  • Scary Musician, Harmless Music: Usually inverted, since deathcore bands often look no different than most young guys, and even kind of preppy at times (usually in the more tech-oriented groups, as the "gauges, Tapout/Affliction, Vans, baggy shorts, and snapback hat" look is still the most common one).
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: Deathcore vocalists who use highs tend to have a very shrill, screechy style; Mitch Lucker and Jonny Davy most likely popularized this approach. Other well-known purveyors include Scott Lewis, Alex Koehler (Chelsea Grin), Ian Bearer (Rings of Saturn), Dickie Allen (Infant Annihilator), and Ray Jimenez (ex-Abiotic).
  • Screwed by the Network: Infamous for horribly exploitative record deals that left young bands touring out their asses and still being deep in the hole no matter how well they did, and on the rare chance that they actually did become profitable, the label would still likely find a way to screw them. Mediaskare Records was particularly legendary for terrible deals and has a lengthy list of bands who broke up or otherwise dropped off the radar while hopelessly in debt to the label, and Sumerian and Victory both had their own fair share of awful contracts and ruined musical careers.
  • Snark Bait: The entire genre, really, although Bring Me the Horizon, Emmure, Waking the Cadaver and Suicide Silence get the bulk of the snark. Since the uno incident, Rose Funeral is also a prime target for snark (case in point), and Rings of Saturn has also proven to be one with the half-speed controversy.note 
  • Spiritual Successor: To Nu Metal, at least to it being The Scrappy and the Butt-Monkey of the metal world, mainly due to its heavily derivative nature, as well as the tendency of bands to cite nu metal Ensemble Darkhorses as primary influences - many of the genre's bands are openly influenced by, among others Korn and Deftones. Their music sounds little like those two bands though.
    • It could also be seen as this to Metalcore, as the fan base is spearheaded by Metalcore fans.
  • Surreal Music Video: A fair (and increasing) number of deathcore bands, especially bands with a more technical edge inject loads and loads of Mind Screw in their music videos. Probably copied from Dir en grey, whose music videos (being inspired by the Eroguro art style) are nigh-infamous for both Nightmare Fuel and Sensory Abuse, often with a misogynistic bent.
  • They Copied It, So It Sucks: Early Bring Me The Horizon received some bad press for allegedly copying the styles of As Blood Runs Black and The Black Dahlia Murder. Perhaps more notoriously, Emmure is often accused of outright stealing The Acacia Strain's signature sound, despite the fact that Emmure's music is far groovier than TAS ever was and trades their prominent beatdown hardcore and sludge metal influences for a whole lot of nu metal. And those are just a couple prime examples; this is a common negative reaction to deathcore bands in general.
  • Trope Codifier: For the various styles:
    • First-wave deathcore: The Red Chord, Despised Icon, Antagony, Animosity, and Deadwater Drowning
    • MySpace/traditional deathcore: Job for a Cowboy, All Shall Perish, As Blood Runs Black, Salt the Wound, and Suffokate
    • Technical deathcore: The Faceless and Beneath the Massacre
    • Deathcore/djent fusion: Born of Osiris, Veil of Maya, and After the Burial
    • Slam/deathcore fusion: Ingested and Waking the Cadaver
    • Brutal deathcore: Oceano and I Declare War
    • Nu-deathcore: Suicide Silence and Upon a Burning Body
    • Blackened deathcore: Winds of Plague and Carnifex
  • Trope Maker: Either Despised Icon or The Red Chord. Elements of what would become deathcore can be traced back to brutal and slam death metal bands such as Suffocation, Dying Fetus, and Internal Bleeding, among others.
  • Ur-Example: The Red Chord and Antagony, while Despised Icon, All Shall Perish, Animosity, and Deadwater Drowning came along a little later. Furthermore, while none of them have ever been deathcore (save for Cryptopsy on The Unspoken King), it can generally be agreed upon that without Suffocation, Dying Fetus, The Black Dahlia Murder, Cryptopsy, Devourment, Internal Bleeding, Circle of Dead Children, and Human Remains, the genre probably wouldn't exist.
  • Wangst: A common lyrical preoccupation, particularly among bands with a more overtly "emo" aesthetic.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/DeathCore