Deathcore is an extreme metal fusion genre that combines musical elements of death metal and metalcore and sometimes hardcore punk. It makes use of death metal riffs and blast beats, as well as metalcore breakdowns. 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.
|Cultural origins||Late 1990s and early 2000s, North America|
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. 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.
Low growls and shrieked screams are common vocalizations. Some other techniques that deathcore vocalists have used include what is known as pig squeals. 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").
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. 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)." In spite of this, Antagony and Despised Icon are considered to be the pioneers of deathcore, However, both Antagony and Despised Icon have rejected the label. Nick Vasallo is credited as being the "father of deathcore" due to his work in Antagony. Embrace the Eternal (1998) by Embodyment and Rain in Endless Fall (1999) by Prayer for Cleansing are known as some of the earliest albums that feature metalcore combined with death metal influences.
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."
Deathcore also began to gain moderate popularity in the late 2000s (specifically 2006 and 2007). Notable bands that brought the genre in the highlight include Bring Me the Horizon and Suicide Silence. 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, 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. After its release, Whitechapel's album This Is Exile sold 5,900 in copies, which made it enter the Billboard 200 chart at position 118. Their self-titled album peaked at number 65 on the Canadian Albums Chart and also at number 47 on the Billboard 200. 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. Furthermore, Bring Me the Horizon won the 2006 Kerrang! Awards for Best British Newcomer after they released their 2006 debut record Count Your Blessings. However, Bring Me the Horizon abandoned the deathcore genre after the release of this album. 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. Lastly, Australian deathcore band Thy Art Is Murder debuted at number 35 on the ARIA Charts with their album Hate (2012) making them the first metal band to ever reach the Top 40 of this chart.
A variety of deathcore bands experimented with other genres into their music as influence as time went by. For example, early material by the band Fallujah was described as carrying deathcore and black metal influence respectively. On the other hand, Emmure has been credited to be heavily influenced by nu metal and was described as "the new Limp Bizkit".
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.
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." 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."
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:
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." 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."
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Deathcore -- the type of noisy, caustic, abrasive mixture of metalcore and death metal that Chelsea Grin offer on their first full-length album, Desolation of Eden -- is bound to annoy a lot of parents, which is exactly the point."
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I like this band OK, but I think it's really funny how when they first came out everybody was like "WTF this band sucks they are posers/not real death metal!!!" Then they put out their second album, which was basically generic late-90s death metal like any of the 8962323 jillion bands who ripped off Cannibal Corpse and Suffocation at the time, and then everybody was all "I guess they are OK this record is pretty sweet."
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