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
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 Slam Death Metal tropes. 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.
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:
- Abacinate (not a particularly accurate label, but it's probably the easiest and most fitting one for their music.)
- Abigail Williams (first EP was this mixed with Black Metal, later on shifted to a more ambient black metal sound)
- Acrania (has a noticeably prominent brutal death undercurrent)
- Acranius (close enough to slam to essentially blur the lines, but has enough core to qualify for that as well)
- The Agonist (Have elements of this mostly their later material)
- All Shall Perish (one of the most loved examples)
- And Hell Followed With
- Annotations of an Autopsy (briefly took a more death metal-influenced direction before returning to their wiggery sound of old)
- Applaud the Impaler
- Arsonists Get All the Girls
- As Blood Runs Black
- Attila (borders on crunkcore with their party heavy lyrics and rap influences)
- Beneath the Massacre
- Bleeding Through (later material)
- Born of Osiris
- Bring Me The Horizon (early material)
- The Browning (mixed with brostep)
- Burning the Masses
- Carnifex (combined with Black Metal and blackened death metal)
- Chelsea Grin
- Conducting from the Grave
- Cryptopsy (formerly Brutal Death/Tech Death - as of 2012 they have returned to their earlier sound)
- Dance Club Massacre
- Dark Sermon
- Despised Icon (sometimes considered a Trope Maker along with The Red Chord)
- Dir En Grey (Overlaps with Nu Metal and Technical Death Metal, also one of the more respected examples)
- Divine Heresy
- Dr. Acula (one of the more hated examples)
- Emmure (overlaps with Nu Metal)
- The Faceless (EP and first full-length)
- Fallujah (first few EPs and demos)
- Fit for an Autopsy
- Glass Casket (overlaps with Technical Death Metal)
- Halo of Gunfire
- Hester Prynne
- I Declare War
- Impending Doom (Christian goregrind early on.)
- Ingested (has a particularly noticeable brutal death influence)
- The Irish Front
- Iwrestledabearonce (with elements of Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly akin to Mr Bungle)
- Job for a Cowboy (Trope Codifier; they were only part of this genre on their debut EP Doom, after which they abandoned the genre and moved onto straightforward Death Metal and Technical Death Metal)
- Kamikabe (first EP)
- King Conquer
- Knights of the Abyss
- Lord of War
- Man Must Die (No Tolerance for Imperfection, mostly, though they've always had core elements)
- Oceano (one of the most Love It or Hate It examples)
- The Partisan Turbine
- The Plasmarifle
- The Red Chord (sometimes considered a Trope Maker along with Despised Icon; overlaps with Technical Death Metal and Grindcore)
- The Red Death
- Rings of Saturn
- Rose Funeral
- Salt the Wound (overlaps with Slam death metal)
- See You Next Tuesday
- Suicide Silence (Trope Codifier)
- Thy Art Is Murder (one of the most extreme and well-respected examples)
- Underoath (Ur Example-very early material before lightening up)
- Upon a Burning Body (some overlap with Nu Metal)
- Veil of Maya (also Djent)
- Waking The Cadaver (Also Slam/Brutal Death)
- War from a Harlots Mouth (early material, later went in a more djent-oriented direction)
- Whitechapel (arguably the closest to standard Death Metal, at least until their self-titled, which had prominent Nu Metal elements; also one of the most generally respected examples.)
- Winds of Plague (Symphonic Deathcore, at least for a while; they seem to have become the biggest example of the "Despised-Icon-Meets-Korn" type of deathcore)
- With Blood Comes Cleansing
- Within the Ruins (newer material)
Deathcore exhibits the following tropes:
- Base Breaker - Bring it up on the internet. Just try it once, and hope to escape with your life.
- 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).
- 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.
- Ensemble Darkhorse - As with Nu Metal, the genre also has its fair share of critically acclaimed musicians, though they have been largely overlooked by a huge majority of the deathcore fanbase.
- The Red Chord, Despised Icon and Born of Osiris have earned grudging respect from metal fans thanks to their greater musical complexity compared to most other deathcore bands. Not to mention Veil of Maya, to the point where many people don't consider them deathcore at all.
- Thanks to massive Genre-Busting, Dir en grey has gained a ton of respect among many metal fans, despite receiving some criticism for their visual image.
- Rings of Saturn has also become one in some circles, but bringing them up around serious fans of death metal is generally a very bad idea.
- Suicide Silence have been retroactively getting a fair amount of respect ever since the passing away of Mitch Lucker. When that died down a bit, fans continued to love the band for their aggressive, borderline Slam-death approach to the genre.
- Job For A Cowboy, big time.
- Thy Art Is Murder also gained a fair bit of respect with The Adversary after they shed their "Suicide Silence clone with Waking the Cadaver lyrics" trappings that shadowed their earlier works.
- Whitechapel is also generally respected, although they are often ripped on by metalheads due to their fanbase, which for some reason, generally consists of teenagers who know nothing about actual death metal, but think that they do (though they have started calling certain fans out on this though.). A fair bit of the respect faded with the self-titled, which had prominent Nu Metal elements... It was still critically well-received, nonetheless.
- All Shall Perish is yet another.
- Basically, if you want your deathcore band to be respected, you can be: more "death" than "core" (Whitechapel, Thy Art Is Murder, The Red Chord) or be really experimental (Veil of Maya, Dir En Grey, iwrestledabearonce)..
- 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 favourite 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.
- 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 the less violent, more introspective bands will express negative views of women in their music. Carnifex and Bring Me The Horizon are the biggest offenders.
- 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 more or less 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.
- 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, which is even considered as the genre's Magnum Opus, 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: Some deathcore vocalists have made liberal use of very high, whistling "banshee" shrieks. most notably Oli Sykes, Mitch Lucker and Tooru "Kyo" Nishimura.
- The Scrappy - Of all the various offshoots of death metal (hell, of metal in general), deathcore is the most disliked/least likely to be taken seriously. Outside metal circles, it has attracted a hatedom second only to dubstep in terms of numbers and ferocity, while the genre it displaced has slowly regained some respect over the past few years.
- Even within deathcore circles, however, Waking the Cadaver and Dr. Acula are widely hated.
- Rose Funeral also gets a lot more hate than other deathcore bands due to the Uno incident.
- As of late, The Browning has gained staggering amounts of hatred because of a). their sound (the general consensus is that deathcore and brostep should never, ever be mixed), b). the ease with which they got signed (not that anyone views Earache as being any better), c) their entire aesthetic (they played every cliche in the genre straight) and d). the fact that they somehow manage to get on lots of touring bills made up of otherwise solid bands.
- For that matter, Attila has become absolutely despised for combining the worst elements of deathcore with strained white boy rap and an incredibly stupid party aesthetic.
- Rings of Saturn, as well-liked as they are in some circles, have become equally hated in others thanks to what is seen as an emphasis on aimless, horribly overprocessed noodling, their tendency to get on bills that they are seen as not belonging on, blatant studio trickery (the half-speed debacle aside, their production makes it obvious that most of their music sounds the way it does because of sound replacement), and the rude and unprofessional attitude of Lucas Mann.
- 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).
- 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 those are just a couple prime examples; this is a common negative reaction to deathcore bands in general.
- Trope Codifier - Job for a Cowboy, Suicide Silence and Bring Me the Horizon are all pretty much equally responsible for popularising the genre.
- 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.
- Wangst: A common lyrical preoccupation, particularly among bands with a more overtly "emo" aesthetic.