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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.

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There are many subsets of the genre, and a general breakdown of them is as follows:

  • First-wave deathcore: The original acts in the genre and a few acts that started around that time, but took off later. Almost universally overlaps with deathgrind, often with prominent mathcore influences as well (primarily odd time signatures and heavy usage of "panic chords"). Famous acts include The Red Chord, Despised Icon, Antagony, Animosity, Bodies in the Gears of the Apparatus, and Deadwater Drowning.
  • MySpace deathcore: The most famous variant of the 2000s, so named because it gained its popularity through MySpace. Heavily melodic death metal-influenced, with lots of pedalpoint riffing, a prominent high/low vocal approach, faster and more overtly hardcore-influenced breakdowns, and occasional chaotic technical passages that heavily emphasize sweep picking and tapping. Famous acts include All Shall Perish, As Blood Runs Black, Winds of Plague, Through the Eyes of the Dead, Suffokate, and Molotov Solution.
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  • Brutal deathcore: Exactly What It Says on the Tin: deathcore with a far less melodic and more brutal approach, usually with faster and more overtly brutal death-influenced riffing and slower, "chuggier" breakdowns, as well as a more guttural vocal approach. Famous acts include early Suicide Silence, early Whitechapel, Oceano, early Impending Doom, I Declare War, and Slaughter to Prevail.
  • Technical deathcore: Another self-evident tag: more overtly Technical Death Metal-influenced deathcore. Runs the gamut from more melodic acts all the way to overlapping with brutal deathcore, but is generally on the more brutal end. Famous acts include Rings of Saturn, Beneath the Massacre, Infant Annihilator, early The Faceless, Within the Ruins, and Wretched.
  • Djentcore: Deathcore that overlaps with djent (and often also modern metalcore); clean vocals and symphonic or atmospheric synths are common, and while most of these acts are lighter, heavier examples do exist. Famous acts include Born of Osiris, later Chelsea Grin, After the Burial, Veil of Maya, Betraying the Martyrs, and Humanity's Last Breath.
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  • Blackened deathcore: Deathcore with prominent blackened death metal and/or black metal influences; runs the gamut from heavily Behemoth-influenced acts all the way to acts with prominent black metal riffing and melodic ideas. Famous acts include Thy Art Is Murder, later Carnifex, Lorna Shore, Aversions Crown, later Mental Cruelty, and Xenobiotic.
  • Slamming deathcore: An offshoot of brutal deathcore with prominent slam elements, usually involving a more gurgly vocal approach and slam breaks in addition to more traditional deathcore breakdowns. Famous acts include Waking the Cadaver, Disfiguring the Goddess, Vulvodynia, Signs of the Swarm, mid-era Within Destruction, and early Mental Cruelty.
  • Downtempo: Another offshoot of brutal deathcore, focusing almost exclusively on very slow tempos (often with dissonant lead themes laid over the top) and extremely long breakdowns, while more nu metal-oriented acts tend to take a somewhat faster and groovier approach. Also frequently involves very little actual death metal influence, as many acts are far more rooted in beatdown hardcore and/or nu metal. Famous acts include Black Tongue, early Bodysnatcher, Traitors, Falsifier, Bound in Fear, and Cabal.
  • Nu deathcore: Deathcore combined with nu metal, usually involving groovier and bouncier riffing, droning atmospheric textures, and possibly some sort of clean vocal or rapping presence. Famous examples include modern Suicide Silence, modern Whitechapel, Emmure, Attila, Spite, and The Last Ten Seconds of Life.

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 Genre-Busting 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. Nowadays, the rough equivalent is a more emo-trap/horrorcore-inspired look, which is rarer but still somewhat common.
  • 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. Also beginning to manifest in the wake of downtempo; more traditional deathcore fans tend to see it as lazy, annoying, boring music that caters to violent douchebags who clearly care more about crowdkilling than they do about the music, while downtempo fans see it as deathcore's purest distillation that is meant to be fun, not serious, and feel that, as music that is meant for people to throw down to, it should not be maligned just because of a few jerks who like to hurt people or don't know how to be careful when near the edge of the pit.
  • 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. When Whitechapel got big, bands started including nu metal elements in their sound. When Ingested got big, bands started mixing in slam elements. When Black Tongue got big, bands began to slow down and take a more downtempo approach. 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.
  • Indecipherable Lyrics: Like its source genre, it is infamous for unintelligible vocalists (especially in more brutal or slam-oriented acts), and the nature of the techniques used (deathcore vocalists tend to use their throat a lot more, and the "pig squeal/bree" basically ensures that no one is going to understand the lyrics) means that it is even easier to have lyrics that will completely stymie the listener even with a lyric sheet handy. Particularly major offenders include Dickie Allen (Infant Annihilator), Dave Simonich (Signs of the Swarm), and Luke Griffin (Acrania).
  • It's the Same, Now 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 was known for his homophobia-laced rants and aggressively confrontational (often violently so) nature in real life over petty slights in his younger days, but he has become a significantly nicer and more laid-back person with age.
    • 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.
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy: One thing that helped deathcore reach a young audience was having far more conventionally attractive musicians (mostly frontmen) than other forms of extreme metal. Oli Sykes, Mitch Lucker, and Alex Koehler (ex-Chelsea Grin, before he cut his hair) were easily the most famous for their good looks. Other examples include Dan Watson, Victor Guillet (Betraying the Martyrs), and Brandon Butler (ex-Veil of Maya).
  • 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 colloquially referred to as "tunnel throat"; while the origins are unclear, it is likely that Phil Bozeman and Adam Warren popularized this approach. The "pig squeal" or "bree" is another Type 2 genre hallmark that was originally taken from slam and brutal death (primarily Devourment and Cryptopsy) and was introduced by Steve Marois and Marie-Helene Landry of Despised Icon before being popularized by All Shall Perish and Job for a Cowboy. 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. Another variant of the Type 3 emerged in the 2010s as a throaty squawk; this was influenced almost exclusively by the vocals of Travis Ryan, while famous proponents of the style include Dickie Allen (Infant Annihilator, Scumfuck), Dave Simonich, and Lucca Schmerler (Mental Cruelty). 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, Joe Badolato, 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 was a very high chance that almost every song is going to be about torturing and murdering women. This has started to become more and more of a Dead Horse Trope as bands have steadily abandoned misogynistic lyrical themes, and outside of the odd brutal or slamming deathcore band, it was barely present by the late 2010s.
    • 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 CJ McMahon joined and changed the lyrical focus to horror and standard evil-based themes, before further shifting it to more political and introspective themes. The band as a whole is now ashamed of their early material, and CJ rather famously went off on a fan who shouted a request for "Whore to a Chainsaw" in 2017 and ranted for almost a minute straight about how uncomfortable that song was for him to sing.
    • 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, and based on what people who know the original members have said, they are embarrassed by those shirts and the Jamie Hanks iteration of the band in general.
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: As with most extreme metal, from 9 to 11.
  • MySpace: It is not really a stretch to say that this was the platform that made the genre explode. Acts like Job for a Cowboy, Suicide Silence, Whitechapel, Carnifex, Oceano, As Blood Runs Black, and Born of Osiris all owed their almost overnight rises to fame to that site, while acts that took off just slightly before its rise to dominance (namely All Shall Perish, Despised Icon, and Suffokate) all jumped on board and took advantage of the format. "MySpace deathcore" has also become something of a colloquialism to refer to the style of deathcore that most of those bands played, which was usually characterized by melodic death metal-influenced riffing styles, heavy usage of gang vocals, melodic and often relatively unstructured leadwork that made heavy use of sweep picking, breakdowns that were usually faster and more overtly hardcore-influenced (oftentimes also featuring extremely fast double bass rolls), the regular usage of the "pig squeal/bree" from vocalists, and chaotic technical passages that heavily featured tapping. Most of these traits were commonplace in the music of All Shall Perish and As Blood Runs Black, who are generally agreed to be the figureheads of the style.
  • Noodle People: For some reason, there are an awful lot of real-life examples of these in the genre. The stereotype of the skinny deathcore kid exists for a reason, and on the musician side of things, Mitch Lucker, Ricky Hoover (ex-Suffokate) and Aaron Matts (Betraying the Martyrs) are among the more famous (and extreme) examples.
  • 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 tended to have a very bro-ish aesthetic; Despised Icon may or may not have parodied this with "MVP", which is ironic because they were one of the worst offenders. This largely faded by the late 2010s, however, as hip-hop and hardcore fashion diverged greatly.
  • Religion Rant Song: Very frequent, just like its parent genre.
  • Revolving Door Band: A number of bands have this, though many (Oceano, I Declare War, and Enterprise Earth chief among them) will retain one or two key members. Rose Funeral are perhaps the most extreme case, having gone through eighteen members since their formation in 2005, and several other now-defunct bands (namely Suffokate, As Blood Runs Black, and King Conquer) were also infamous for extremely unstable lineups that only retained one or two members over the course of their career and typically involved hard feelings when someone did leave.
  • 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, Vans, baggy shorts, and snapback hats" look is still common among the more hardcore-oriented ones).
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: Deathcore vocalists who use highs tend to have a very shrill, screechy style; Eddie Hermida, Mitch Lucker, and Jonny Davy most likely popularized this approach. Other well-known purveyors include Scott Lewis, Alex Koehler (ex-Chelsea Grin), Ian Bearer (Rings of Saturn), Ben Duerr (Shadow of Intent), 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.
  • Special Guest: Guest vocal spots are extremely common and almost expected in the genre as of the 2010s, and most lower-level bands will have at least two or three guests per album. It has become a target of mockery, however, and the stereotype of the perpetual local opener with no real future as a band outside of their home state/province/country and the locales surrounding them who gets a big-name guest for a badly-mixed vocal spot on their first single (usually hosted on Slam Worldwide) is very Truth in Television.
  • 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.
  • The Stoner: It would be easier to list bands who AREN'T stoners. It reflects in merch where marijuana leaves are common and bands having weed donation boxes at shows. Chelsea Grin, Suicide Silence, and especially Volumes are known for being total potheads. Might have reached critical mass with Hunt the Dinosaur's video for their song "Baked."
  • 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 Changed It, Now It Sucks!: A common reaction back during the MySpace era, primarily when bands took a more death metal-oriented turn; "going Job for a Cowboy" (in reference to the polarizing Genre Shift on Genesis) was a (usually derisive) euphemism for the act of dialing down core elements on new releases, usually with the implication that it was done in a misguided bid for critical respectability. While some bands (particularly Carnifex) were able to avoid this, others (particularly Annotations of an Autopsy) ran right into a brick wall. Generally averted in the 2010s, as the deathcore and death metal fandoms are generally much friendlier towards one another, and bands going more death metal are unlikely to encounter much resistance. Lighter and Softer changes are still likely to split fanbases down the middle, however, as evidenced by the highly contentious nature of later releases from Suicide Silence and Whitechapel. A few bands have transitioned out of deathcore entirely (most notably Bring Me the Horizon going into nu-metal and alt rock and The Contortionist going full on progressive and post-rock) and managed to keep a following, but examples of this are incredibly rare.
  • 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. Lastly, when Winds of Plague took off, they were accused of being a Bleeding Through ripoff. And those are just a few 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, Through the Eyes of the Dead, and Suffokate
    • Technical deathcore: The Faceless and Beneath the Massacre
    • Deathcore/djent fusion: Born of Osiris, Veil of Maya, and After the Burial
    • Slamming deathcore: Ingested, Vulvodynia, and Within Destruction
    • Brutal deathcore: Impending Doom and I Declare War
    • Nu-deathcore: Suicide Silence and Emmure
    • Blackened deathcore: Thy Art Is Murder and Lorna Shore
    • Downtempo: Black Tongue, Traitors, and Bodysnatchernote 
  • 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, Behemoth, Devourment, Decapitated, Skinless, Aborted, and Internal Bleeding, the genre probably wouldn't exist.
  • Vocal Tag Team: While most vocalists cover everything (aside from gang vocals and certain layered/overdubbed parts in the studio that other members help with live), this is usually the setup with bands that do clean vocals (namely Born of Osiris, Betraying the Martyrs, and Make Them Suffer), but it also happens with harsh vocals from time to time (namely Despised Icon and Angelmaker).
  • Wangst: A common lyrical preoccupation, particularly among bands with a more overtly "emo" aesthetic.

Deathcore songs (includes tracks from all the above styles):


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