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Timeline of Metalcore Records That I See as Important

I've decided to look at this divisive genre of heavy music and explore its origins leading up to the modern day and what bands have done to evolve and expand this genre from what it started as. The visceral, raw, emotive beginnings...the inclusion of explosive melodies...chunkier, groovier riffs...heavy production, effects exploration of all these elements compiled into a single list of 40 songs to document it. I do not necessarily even like all these songs, but I feel the capture certain eras and soundscapes well enough to include. I will start from humble beginnings working my way to now...
1Earth Crisis
Destroy the Machines

"Born From Pain" - 1995

Many point to this record as the beginning of metalcore, the combination of those hardcore punk vibes and more raw, visceral guitar work. I don't believe bands know when they create a new genre, but Earth Crisis sort of did and it grew from there. Not my favorite Earth Crisis song but one that really captures those beginning stages...
2Cave In
Beyond Hypothermia

"Crossbearer" - 1997

One of the early demo tracks from Cave In that features on this compilation record that explores some of those similar attributes Earth Crisis was exploring but a bit more refined and reeled in.
Where Blood and Fire Bring Rest

"Ravage Ritual" - 1998

Zao are a band that I largely don't listen to because they don't really strike me but it's hard to neglect their influence on the genre. This record in particular often considered one of the greatest metalcore records of all time, brings the riffs, brings that raw emotion, brings all these elements that have been hinted at over the last couple years and creates some of the most memorable songs to define that sound.
4The Dillinger Escape Plan
Calculating Infinity

"43% Burnt" - 1999

It's without saying that this song and record are metalcore/mathcore royalty. Dillinger explores those metalcore roots and goes bananas with the song structures, time signatures, just flips everything on it's head while still maintaining those core values.
5Cave In
Until Your Heart Stops

"Juggernaut" - 1999

Cave In are one of my favorite bands so I don't feel bad for featuring them twice in a short span of time. This band really knocked it out of the part with these first two releases, further refinement on that original sound and paving the way for other bands like Botch and simultaneously releasing quality material alongside another Massachusetts band that we'll talk about shortly.
Jane Doe

"Hell To Pay" - 2001

It's impossible to talk about metalcore without mentioning one of the most influential bands in the genre. From the chaotic production style, the anger and fury within the music, the totally off-the-wall compositions. Converge perfected this early style of metalcore and bands began emulating this style immediately and this was the peak for a good few years.
7Norma Jean
Bless the Martyr and Kiss the Child

"Memphis Will Be Laid To Waste" - 2002

Following in the footsteps of Converge, Norma Jean are cut from a similar cloth, a bit sludgier and groovier than bands like Converge but nevertheless, embracing chaos and fury within their music. This album is perhaps one of my least favorites by Norma Jean but it's influence is undeniable.
Rise of Brutality

"Doomsayer" - 2003

Personal preference takes over at this point. The first two records in Hatebreed's discography are arguably more hardcore or thrash than metalcore and while yes, there are hints of metalcore creeping in, I don't feel like it's until Rise of Brutality that the band fully embraces the catchiness and anthemic nature that defines the sound they will explore up until now. Hatebreed are a metalcore hybrid without a doubt, Doomsayer is a nasty piece of music with groove, heaviness and features a bit better production and clarity than some of the records we've seen up to this point.
9Avenged Sevenfold
Waking the Fallen

"Unholy Confessions" - 2003

You might love it, you might hate it, but this song was metalcore breaking into the mainstream with now one of the most popular bands in heavy music. While the band heavily deviated from metalcore with their follow up release, it's hard to ignore the influence and sheer accessibility this song has going for it. The main riff is one of the most recognizable and ripped off metal riffs ever. The stylistic shifts in the song dynamics will become a staple and replicated formula for the next few years as metalcore becomes popularized.
10Shadows Fall
The War Within

"The Light That Blinds" - 2004

This might be my bias for having played Guitar Hero when I was young, but this was one of those songs that sprung out into popularity from those games. The thrash metal laced metalcore stylings of Shadows Fall was one of the early forms taken in the Western Massachusetts metalcore explosion of the late 90's/early 2000's and while the band never grew popularity like Killswitch Engage or All That Remains, their unique take and more 'metal' sound was refreshing and emulated.
11Lamb of God
Ashes of the Wake

"Laid To Rest" - 2004

Another band and song that sprung from the influence of Guitar Hero games also utilizing that thrash metal infused metalcore but with a bit more groove metal in similarity to 90's metal bands like Pantera. These catchy riffs while still heavy were much more accessible along with the vocals being fairly simple to understand as opposed to some of the early metalcore records. This was certainly the point where metalcore was becoming profitable and viable outlet for young bands.
12Bullet for My Valentine
The Poison

"4 Words (To Choke Upon)" - 2005

A number of BFMV songs could take this spot considering how they were one of the first metalcore bands to release under a major record label and achieve radio success by infusing emo-leaning tendencies and heavier emphasis on catchy choruses. The juxtaposition is something commonly associated with metalcore nowadays but was not immediately something used in the format up to this point.
13Killswitch Engage
As Daylight Dies

"My Curse" - 2006

Killswitch were already a very popular band in metalcore at this point taking on some elements of straightforward heavy metal, that visceral rage of early metalcore but now the band began exploding with a top ten record and radio success. Featured in many video games, featured on MTV, this was the peak of this style of metalcore and would be the blueprint for awhile. While Killswitch fans might argue that their first couple records are more influential than this one, I think it's at this point where Killswitch became household names and really spearheaded the popularity of the genre. They were essential in the development of the genre as well, without question.
14All That Remains
The Fall of Ideals

"This Calling" - 2006

Released around the same time as Killswitch's record, Fall of Ideals is often looked at as a quintessential piece of metalcore, blending those fast melo-death drum patterns with hooky choruses, intricate riffs and brutal breakdowns. A further exploration in metalcore utilizing it's best aspects to launch itself into popularity.
The March

"My Will Be Done" - 2008

I would be remiss to not mention another metalcore pioneer with Unearth, also hailing from Massachusetts during the metalcore explosion. I chose not to mention some of their earlier records because like Shadows Fall, their popularity never ascended to the heights of aforementioned bands but it's with this song that I felt they had established and refined that popular metalcore sound of intricate riffs, catchy vocal melodies and abundant breakdowns.
16Attack Attack! (USA)
Someday Came Suddenly

"Stick Stickly" - 2008

An unfortunate rendering of metalcore came out around this time as well known as electronicore or crab-core. The chugs began to be utilized as the bands man source of heaviness with dense synthesizers, skinny jeans, boy-ish haircuts and enough white boy attitude to die from cringe over. While this era of metalcore was short-lived and has seen occasional revivals, it wasn't more popular than around these couple years and this record.
17August Burns Red

"White Washed" - 2009

With an outburst of various sub-genres in metalcore, one of the most profound and profitable was Christian Metalcore and ABR were one of the peak contributors. Simply being able to sell your records in Christian stores was well enough to put these bands in high charting positions and allow them to perform is venues that other metal bands were not able to.
Hollow Crown

"Early Grave" - 2009

While BFMV were one of the leading contributors to metalcore from overseas, Architects while not popular at the time in the states was beginning to make waves in the UK with their mathy interpretations of metalcore with vicious angry riffs, terrifying brutal vocals and an attitude unlike other bands at the time.
19A Day To Remember

"The Downfall of Us All" - 2009

While A Day To Remember were already reaching a high level of popularity, this record solidified the amalgamation of pop punk and metalcore. The absurdly catchy vocal melodies, the easy-core style instrumentals all accumulating into crushing breakdowns. Personally, I don't enjoy these guys very much but I'd be wrong to neglect how popular this sound is and how well they've done with it.
20Asking Alexandria
Stand Up and Scream

"A Prophecy" - 2009

The last 2009 entry also establishes the influence that UK metalcore would have and the popularity that would ensue. While this song is bad bad bad, it's extremely popular and like ADTR, popularized breakdown callouts, open chugs and a heavy amount of synthesizers and EDM influenced passages.
21As I Lay Dying
The Powerless Rise

"Condemned" - 2010

I wasn't going to include AILD on this list but I don't think it would be fair to ignore them on the account of their singer being a pos. Their influence on melodic metalcore is insanely important with the soaring choruses being a major part of their sound and influencing other bands to utilize this approach. With this song in particular, there are no clean vocals but it's just my favorite song of theirs so I thought I'd shout it out. The clear choice for most influential songs by this band are probably "Through Struggle" or "Nothing Left."
22The Devil Wears Prada

"Outnumbered" - 2010

Here we have concept records becoming a fixture in the metalcore scene, The Devil Wears Prada also plays into the electronicore elements as well as Christian metalcore. This style of metalcore will reign supreme for a couple years as the genre begins to be stagnant in terms of progression but still maintaining a high level of popularity.
23Bring Me The Horizon

"Shadow Moses" - 2013

The revival begins, at least an attempt to differentiate from the tired formula that had it's grasp on the genre for a few years now. BTMH branches off from their traditional deathcore/metalcore roots into a more nuanced, emotional style of metalcore that still uses synthesizers but less in your face about it. It also introduces levels of ambiance, simplifies the instrumentals to basic heavy hitting riffs coupled with simple lead work that's catchy and accessible. This style shapes metalcore for a few years before BMTH branch off into various genres other than metalcore.
24I See Stars
New Demons

"Murder Mitten" - 2013

While I wouldn't say I See Stars are vital to metalcore, their inclusion of dubstep and electronics is so in your face that it's worth mentioning along with this particular style of metalcore essentially taking over Warped Tour stages around this time.
25Motionless In White

"Reincarnate" - 2014

While metalcore had previously done well with radio success in the days of Killswitch, All That Remains and BFMV, the radio success had waned until MIW came through with a new formula that was perfect for radio. Combining elements of gothic, alternative and nu-metal with some of the metalcore aggression without screaming or very little screaming. While this direction has been to many metalcore bands detriment as they've fizzled out after becoming 'sellouts' and basing their entire style of trying to appease the radio stations, MIW have combined this style, an aggressive style, a Marilyn Manson-esque style, and many others in order satisfy multiple facets of the listener base. This genre-hopping will soon become the norm with many bands trying their hands at various approaches and styles to maintain relevance.
26The Amity Affliction
Let the Ocean Take Me

"Pittsburgh" - 2014

The breaking out of bands from Australia seems to begin around this time, Amity being one of the biggest to export their music and become mainstays on the Warped Tour circuit. Their signature style of heavy verses, catchy soaring choruses while not completely reinventive at this point, is certainly bookmarked and perfected at this point. Also, Amity gives way for other Australian acts to become popular and noticed in the genre.
27Parkway Drive

"Vice Grip" - 2015

Certainly not the most treasured Parkway song and a band that has already been around a long time at this point and also similar to Amity, is one of the biggest and most important exports from Australia. I chose this song however because it's a point in time where bands begin adopt 'stadium-metalcore' that is open, massive sounding and simplistic enough to be enjoyed by people who might enjoy older metal acts.
28Veil of Maya

"Mikasa" - 2015

Progressive metalcore also begins to take shape around this time with other bands like Periphery, Northlane, Monuments etc to jump on that band wagon but this song stands out because of the conceptual nature of the record and how popular this song was at the time of release, propelling other bands to be as technical and insane with their instruments as they could be. Essentially, the opposing side to the Parkway-effect.
All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us

"A Match Made In Heaven" - 2016

While I could argue that this style of metalcore started in 2014 when Architects released Gravedigger, I feel it's at this point where this form of progressive/post-metalcore takes place with deep tuned guitars, quick staccato riffs and ambient effects. It's also a fantastic song and a song that has been replicated numerous times over the next half a dozen years and is still the blueprint that many bands aim for.
30I Prevail

"Scars" - 2016

This is one of those songs that I don't enjoy but simple can't be ignored based on the popularity and the way this band has shaped the genre. While furthering the affects of how radio play can elevate the band, the lighter rap sections, online personalities as well as song-covers really define how a band could become popular at this time. Take for example Our Last Night, Bad Wolves (not really metalcore but still had an extremely cover song launch them to fame), both driving their success off recreating an already popular song and making it your standard metalcore with heavy verses and catchy choruses, topped off with a breakdown.
31Code Orange

"Forever" - 2017

The infusion of hardcore punk returns in a great way around this time, beginning a few years back of course but eclipsing with Code Orange's album at this time. The brutality, the extreme nature of the riffs and vocals harkens back to the heyday and aggression of early metalcore songs while adding a subtle industrial flair as well.
Holy Hell

"Doomsday" - 2017

This riff is everywhere starting now, while starting effectively with their last album, this song literally changed the soundscape of metalcore over now with every band and their mother wanting to sound like this.
33While She Sleeps
You Are We

"Silence Speaks" ft. Oli Sykes - 2017

Sometimes songs have legs without doing anything special and this is an example of that. While certainly not a bad song, it's popularity was essentially funded by a feature by an extremely popular figure in the scene. While certainly not a novel idea in the slightest, this late era of 2010's metalcore sees many of it's most popular songs exploding simple based on features rather than songs being 'good.'
The Dusk in Us

"I Can Tell You About Pain" - 2017

While Converge was extremely consistent between Jane Doe and this point, it becomes somewhat a trend for older bands to 'return-to-form' and simple be creatively active again. This can be seen as recently as this year with the return of Botch, announcements of Haste the Day and Still Remains returning, even bands like Bleeding Through reuniting and Cave In being a bit more active than previously.
35Ice Nine Kills
The Silver Scream

"The American Nightmare" - 2018

While it can be seen as a gimmick, this gimmick sells records, merch and everything in between. The idea of leaning into a niche audience proves to be successful for Ice Nine Kills with songs based on horror films. While having a gimmick is not new for heavy music i.e. (Slipknot), I feel that Ice Nine Kills burst the door open at this point for bands to lean into their quirks, their nuances and such. It's also a good record that utilizes various styles.
36Knocked Loose
A Different Shade of Blue

"Mistakes Like Fractures" - 2019

I was going to do "Counting Worms" for a song to represent this style of metalcore but Mistakes Like Factures is a superior 'song' in my opinion and really shows the value and versatility of this obscenely heavy style of metalcore bordering on straight deathcore or hardcore at points. It's not novel but it explores a more dirty style that reminds me of early bands like Converge and Cave In while having groove and heaviness like modern deathcore acts. This revitalization of heavy-metallic hardcore while having been explored for a few years at this point, really shows it's selling point with this record moving lots of sales and their tours selling out,

"Bloodline" - 2019

People are gonna be mad but that's okay. Northlane has gone through many changes and has been a staple at this point, but Alien is truly a masterclass in expanding the sound and boundaries of heavy metalcore music weaving into industrial, electronic seamlessly. In ever expanding space of metalcore, Northlane find a new path that they own.
38Electric Callboy

"Hypa Hypa" - 2020

Making metalcore fun and happy in times where everyone is cooped up and sad. It's a song that could only get popular during a pandemic but nevertheless, this song is more of a just a statement on what a fun song and important metalcore song it was to get us through dark times.
Eternal Blue

"Holy Roller" - 2020

I'm gonna hate myself for stating it this way but female fronted metalcore bands, while they have been around for a good long while, get extremely popular with Spiritbox being a prime example reaching high positions on charts with their newest full length. Bands like Ithaca, Rolo Tomassi, Jinjer, Dying Wish, Employed to Serve seeing massive upticks in popularity. The music itself is diverse and takes many forms but it's simple the point of female screamers and vocalists really seeing a surge in the genre.
40Every Time I Die
Gutter Phenomenon

Here's the thing...I missed a lot of important bands. I didn't talk about Integrity or ETID or Darkest Hour or Enter Shikari or Of Mice & Men, there's so many important bands that have taken metalcore and done something unique and interesting with it. I would be here forever if I talked about every single one and while I'm sure to upset people with my takes and descriptions, it's the way I see this genre of music. It's constantly shifting, taking on new identities and influences, seeing ebbs and flows of popularity, it's a magnet for criticism, there's so much to it. I hope some people get enjoyment out of this and don't take it so seriously that they'll explode when they see I See Stars at 24. But as it stands, this is how I see things.
Those Who Fear Tomorrow

1991 - An important beginning point of the foundations of metalcore
Suicide Notes and Butterfly Kisses

2002- A band that helped to bring metalcore to popularity in the early to mid 2000's
43Between the Buried and Me
Between the Buried and Me

2002 - A band that combined traditional elements of metalcore with math and progressive and went on to be one of the most influential acts in that respective sub-set of the genre.
44Poison The Well
The Opposite of December

1999 - One of those early Trustkill records bands that refined and popularized a melodic approach to metalcore

2010 - Certainly a band that played a role in popularizing 'djent' and that form of metalcore.
46The Plot In You

"Feel Nothing" - 2018

The last piece I'm gonna write about in the current iteration of this list is the impact that Tik Tok and like social media platforms have had on the genre, promoting songs that have been long released, revitalizing careers with tik tok sounds and even exploding album tracks never released as singles, as is the case with Bad Omens and their recent song "Just Pretend."
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