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Unveiling the Depths: A Journey through the History of Deathcore and recognizing the brutal metal subgenre’s top 13 bands

In the cataclysmic landscape of heavy metal, there exists a subgenre that stands as a relentless force, known for its brutal intensity and unapologetic aggression. It’s a realm where bone-crushing breakdowns collide with visceral growls, creating an auditory onslaught like no other. This is the realm of Deathcore.

Origins: Forging a New Path

Originating from the depths of extreme metal, Deathcore emerged as a fusion of death metal’s brutality and hardcore punk’s ferocity. Its roots can be traced back to the late 1990s and early 2000s, when bands began experimenting with blending the sonic elements of death metal and hardcore. While the exact birthplace of the genre remains a topic of debate among enthusiasts, it undeniably found its earliest foothold in the underground metal scenes of the United States.

One of the pioneering bands often credited with laying it’s groundwork is DESPISED ICON. Hailing from Montreal, Canada, DESPISED ICON‘s 2002 debut album, “Consumed by Your Poison,” showcased a potent mix of death metal riffing, breakdowns, and hardcore-influenced vocals. Their relentless aggression and technical prowess set a precedent for what was to come in the burgeoning extreme metal scene.

Simultaneously, in the United States, bands like SUICIDE SILENCE, and THE RED CHORD were carving their own paths in the realm of extreme music. SUICIDE SILENCE‘s debut album, “The Cleansing,” released in 2007, catapulted them into the forefront of the movement with its blend of guttural vocals, frenetic riffing, and pulverizing breakdowns. Similarly, THE RED CHORD‘s chaotic and abrasive style contributed to shaping the sound, albeit with a more pronounced grindcore influence.

Defining Characteristics: The Anatomy of Deathcore

At the core of the genre lies a relentless onslaught of sonic brutality. Characterized by downtuned guitars, blistering blast beats, and vocals that range from guttural growls to piercing shrieks, the sound is unmistakable in its intensity. One of the genre’s defining features is the breakdown, a rhythmic and percussive passage that serves as a focal point for mosh pits and headbanging frenzies. These bone-crushing moments of catharsis are often accompanied by chugging guitar riffs and syncopated drum patterns, creating a sense of primal energy that is as exhilarating as it is punishing.

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Coupled with lyrical themes ranging from violence and nihilism to introspection and societal critique, Deathcore isn’t exactly background dinner music when the in-laws are visiting from out of town. It’s sole purpose is a complete audio pulverizing in the most brutal way possible, complete with breakdowns, aggressive riffs and snarling guttural vocals strait out of the darkest pits of the abyss that is extreme metal. It is meant to be consumed at loud levels. The louder the better.

Deathcore vs. Death Metal

Death metal and Deathcore are two closely related subgenres within the broader spectrum of extreme metal, yet they exhibit distinct characteristics that set them apart from each other.

Death metal, originating in the late 1980s, is characterized by its fast tempos, complex guitar riffs, blast beat drumming, and deep, guttural vocals often referred to as “growls” or “death grunts.” The lyrics typically revolve around themes of violence, gore, and morbidity. Bands like DEATH, CANNIBAL CORPSE and MORBID ANGEL are considered pioneers of the genre. The instrumentation in death metal tends to be more intricate and technical, with an emphasis on musicianship and complex song structures.

On the other hand, Deathcore emerged in the early 2000s as a fusion of death metal and metalcore elements. It incorporates breakdowns, which are heavy, slowed-down passages typically accompanied by chugging guitar riffs, alongside elements of death metal such as growled vocals and blast beats. Deathcore often features a mix of harsh, guttural vocals and screamed or shouted vocals, adding an additional layer of intensity to the music. While it retains the aggression and heaviness of death metal, it often incorporates more melodic elements and breakdowns borrowed from metalcore.

In summary, while the two genres share similarities in terms of heaviness and aggression, they differ in their musical characteristics, lyrical themes, and overall sound. Death metal tends to be more technical and focused on intricate instrumentation, while Deathcore incorporates elements of metalcore and emphasizes breakdowns alongside brutal vocals.

Standout Bands: Icons of Aggression

As it continued to evolve, bands like WHITECHAPEL, CARNIFEX and CHELSEA GRIN emerged, each adding their own unique twists to the genre. WHITECHAPEL‘s 2007 album, “The Somatic Defilement,” showcased their signature blend of relentless aggression and groove-laden riffs, while CARNIFEX‘s debut, “Dead in My Arms,” introduced a darker, more atmospheric approach to the genre.

Evolution and Modern Scene: A Continuing Saga of Brutality

As the years have passed, deathcore has continued to evolve and adapt, incorporating elements from a diverse array of musical influences. Bands like FIT FOR AN AUTOPSY and SHADOW OF INTENT have pushed the boundaries of the genre, incorporating elements of atmospheric black metal and progressive extreme metal into their sound. Meanwhile, newcomers like LORNA SHORE and ANGELMAKER have injected fresh blood into the scene, revitalizing the genre with their own unique take on sonic brutality.

Significant Events: Milestones in Mayhem

Throughout its history, the genre has been marked by a series of significant events that have shaped it’s course. The tragic death of SUICIDE SILENCE vocalist Mitch Lucker in 2012 sent shockwaves through the metal community, prompting an outpouring of grief and solidarity from fans around the world.

Today, the genre stands as a global phenomenon, with bands from all corners of the world contributing to its sonic landscape. Among the contemporary torchbearers are THY ART IS MURDER, whose unrelenting brutality and socio-political lyricism have earned them widespread acclaim, and FIT FOR AN AUTOPSY, whose blend of technicality and melody pushes the boundaries of Deathcore.

In the tumultuous landscape of heavy metal, where trends come and go like passing storms, Deathcore stands as a bastion of unrelenting aggression and uncompromising intensity. From its humble beginnings as a fusion of disparate musical influences to its status as a global phenomenon, Deathcore has carved out a niche all its own in the pantheon of extreme music. As long as there are fans willing to embrace the chaos and embrace the brutality, the legacy will continue to endure, remaining a testament to the enduring power of sonic extremity.

The top 13 Deathcore bands of all time

We here at Loaded Radio have compiled a list of the best Deathcore bands in the genre. A list of groups who bring an immense level of brutality and breakdowns to extreme metal who deserve to be recognized as the greatest within the era. You can find them below.

13 – DESPISED ICON

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DESPISED ICON emerged from the vibrant underground metal scene of Montreal, Canada, in 2002, fusing the brutality of death metal with the raw aggression of hardcore punk.

Founded by vocalists Alex Erian and Steve Marois, along with guitarists Yannick St-Amand (later to be replaced by Ben Landreville) and Eric Jarrin, bassist Sebastien Piché, and drummer Alexandre Pelletier, the band quickly gained attention with their debut album “Consumed by Your Poison.” Their sound, characterized by relentless blast beats, intricate guitar work, and dual-vocal assault, greatly helped define the burgeoning genre.

As pioneers of the era, DESPISED ICON‘s influence on the subgenre cannot be overstated. Their innovative blend of technicality and brutality set a new standard for extreme music, inspiring countless bands to follow in their wake.

In April 2010, the band disbanded, only to officially re-form six years later in April 2016, following a series of reunion shows in 2014 and 2015. Over their tenure, the group has collectively released six full-length albums, experiencing minimal lineup changes throughout their career.

DESPISED ICON‘s commitment to pushing the boundaries remains unwavering, cementing their status as legends within the scene.

12 – JOB FOR A COWBOY

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Emerging from Glendale, Arizona, in 2003, JOB FOR A COWBOY swiftly ascended the ranks of the scene, wielding a potent fusion of death metal ferocity and hardcore intensity.

With frontman Jonny Davy remaining the only constant within the group, JOB FOR A COWBOY have still managed to puncture a massive impression within the ranks of extreme metal. Their debut EP, “Doom,” unleashed in 2005, served as a thunderous introduction, marked by blistering blast beats, intricate riffing, and Davy‘s visceral vocal delivery, catapulting JOB FOR A COWBOY the forefront of extreme music.

Undoubtedly, JOB FOR A COWBOY‘s imprint on the genre remains profound. From the seismic impact of “Doom” to the subsequent sonic assaults of full-length albums like “Genesis” and “Ruination,” the band reshaped the very fabric of the genre. Their pioneering spirit, showcased through technical prowess, electrifying live performances, and unyielding aggression, cemented their status as trailblazers, leaving an indelible mark on the heavy music community.

11 – THE RED CHORD

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Formed in 1999 in Revere, Massachusetts, THE RED CHORD emerged as a formidable presence in the Deathcore scene, amalgamating elements of grindcore, death metal, and hardcore punk into their sonic assault.

THE RED CHORD materialized through the collaboration of vocalist Guy Kozowyk and guitarist Kevin Rampelberg. Following their inception, the band swiftly expanded its ranks, welcoming second guitarist Mike “Gunface” McKenzie, bassist Adam Wentworth, and drummer Mike Justian within a year. Drawing inspiration from Alban Berg‘s opera “Wozzeck,” particularly a haunting scene where a schizophrenic character queries his lover about a crimson cord encircling her neck, the band adopted their evocative moniker.

With their inception rooted in such macabre imagery, THE RED CHORD carved a unique niche within the metal scene, seamlessly melding elements of grindcore, death metal, and hardcore punk into their sonic arsenal. Through their relentless sonic assault and conceptual depth, THE RED CHORD quickly garnered acclaim with their debut album “Fused Together in Revolving Doors” (2002), which showcased their penchant for chaotic riffing, relentless drumming, and Kozowyk‘s distinct vocal delivery.

Albums like “Clients” (2005) and “Prey for Eyes” (2007) further solidified their status as pioneers of the genre, inspiring a new generation of bands with their technical proficiency and uncompromising aggression. Through their relentless experimentation and boundary-pushing creativity, THE RED CHORD‘s legacy remains as enduring as it is influential.

10 – BORN OF OSIRIS

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Hailing from the vibrant city of Chicago, Illinois, BORN OF OSIRIS burst onto the scene in 2003, quickly establishing themselves as a formidable force with their dynamic fusion of technicality and melody.

The band’s early offerings, notably their debut EP “The New Reign” (2007), showcased their virtuosic musicianship and penchant for intricate compositions. Their distinctive sound, characterized by blistering guitar riffs, intricate keyboard arrangements, and vocalist Ronnie Canizaro‘s versatile vocals, captivated audiences and garnered a devoted following within the metal community.

BORN OF OSIRIS albums such as “The Discovery” (2011) and “Soul Sphere” (2015) served as milestones in their career, further solidifying their position as a force to be reckoned with in the genre. With their relentless dedication to pushing the boundaries of extreme music, BORN OF OSIRIS continues to shape the heavy music landscape, inspiring a new generation of bands with their technical prowess and progressive vision.

9 – SLAUGHTER TO PREVAIL

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SLAUGHTER TO PREVAIL, a formidable force in the world of extreme metal, rose from the depths of Russia to captivate audiences with their relentless brutality and uncompromising intensity.

Founded in 2014 by vocalist Alex Terrible, the band quickly gained attention for their ferocious blend of death metal and hardcore elements. With their crushing riffs, bone-rattling breakdowns, and Terrible‘s guttural vocals, SLAUGHTER TO PREVAIL forged a path of sonic devastation that resonated with fans worldwide.

Key members of the band include Terrible, renowned for his monstrous growls and commanding stage presence, and guitarist Jack Simmons, whose intricate riffing and blistering solos contribute to the band’s signature sound.

Hailing from Russia, SLAUGHTER TO PREVAIL has embraced their heritage, infusing elements of Slavic folklore and imagery into their music and visuals. Their rise to prominence within the metal scene showcases the global reach of extreme music and solidifies SLAUGHTER TO PREVAIL as one of the genre’s most formidable acts.

8 – CARNIFEX

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CARNIFEX, a stalwart in the extreme metal realm, emerged from San Diego, California, in 2005, delivering a potent blend of ferocity and melody that resonated with fans worldwide.

Founded by vocalist Scott Ian Lewis, the band quickly gained traction with their relentless aggression, technical precision, and bleak lyrical themes. With albums like “Dead in My Arms” (2007) and “Hell Chose Me” (2010), CARNIFEX solidified their reputation as one of the genre’s premier acts, captivating audiences with their bone-crushing breakdowns and Lewis‘s visceral vocal delivery.

CARNIFEX‘s rise to prominence within the scene not only showcases their musical prowess but also their unwavering commitment to pushing the boundaries of extreme music. With each release, they continue to evolve and innovate, cementing their status as modern-day titans of the genre.

7 – VEIL OF MAYA

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VEIL OF MAYA emerges as a titan within the realm of brutal metal, boasting a ferocious sound that melds technical precision with unbridled aggression.

Formed in Chicago in 2004, VEIL OF MAYA quickly rose through the ranks of the metal scene with their relentless onslaught of blistering riffs, thunderous breakdowns, and hauntingly atmospheric melodies. With each release, including albums like “Matriarch” and “False Idol,” VEIL OF MAYA showcases their musical prowess, seamlessly blending elements of death metal, djent, and progressive metal into a cohesive sonic tapestry that captivates listeners with its sheer intensity and depth.

Led by the dynamic vocals of Lukas Magyar and the virtuosic guitar work of Marc Okubo, VEIL OF MAYA has solidified their status as one of the genre’s most formidable acts, earning acclaim from fans and critics alike for their innovative approach to extreme music.

6 – FIT FOR AN AUTOPSY

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Originating from the urban depths of Jersey City, New Jersey, FIT FOR AN AUTOPSY emerges as a formidable force within the heavy metal landscape, wielding a sonic arsenal of devastating riffs, bone-crushing breakdowns, and raw, emotive lyricism.

Since their inception in 2008, the band swiftly captured attention with their uncompromising dedication to extreme music, drawing from a diverse palette of influences including death metal, hardcore, and atmospheric sludge to craft a sound that is both punishing and cathartic.

Spearheaded by founding members Will Putney and Pat Sheridan on guitars, alongside the commanding vocals of Joe Badolato, Tim Howley‘s precise guitar work, the thunderous bass of Peter “Blue” Spinazola, and the relentless percussion of Josean Orta, FIT FOR AN AUTOPSY rises to the forefront of the genre, wielding their compositions as a potent weapon against societal decay and existential anguish.

With acclaimed releases such as “The Process of Human Extermination” and “The Great Collapse,” FIT FOR AN AUTOPSY has etched their mark into the annals of extreme music, earning acclaim for their technical prowess, emotionally charged lyrics, and unyielding ferocity. Delving fearlessly into themes of environmental degradation, social inequality, and the precariousness of human existence, FIT FOR AN AUTOPSY‘s music confronts the darkest facets of the human condition with unwavering sincerity and conviction.

5 – CHELSEA GRIN

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Originating from Salt Lake City, Utah, CHELSEA GRIN emerged as a formidable presence in the extreme metal realm, infusing their music with a relentless blend of savage aggression and melodic finesse.

Initially known as AHAZIAH, CHELSEA GRIN‘s origins trace back to a 2007 lineup featuring vocalist Alex Koehler, guitarist Chris Kilbourn, bassist Austin Marticorena, and lead guitarist Michael Stafford. However, the band’s evolution took a significant turn when Marticorena introduced drummer Andrew Carlston to the fold. With Carlston‘s arrival, the band underwent a transformation, both in sound and identity, leading to the renaming of the group as CHELSEA GRIN. Marticorena played a pivotal role in this transition, contributing to the reworking of existing songs and the creation of new material as CHELSEA GRIN began to forge their path in the metal scene.

With acclaimed releases such as “Desolation of Eden” and “Ashes to Ashes,” CHELSEA GRIN went on to become well known as one of the pioneering acts of modern extreme music, earning praise for their technical proficiency, dynamic songwriting, and electrifying live performances.

Amidst massive personnel changes and not a single original member left within the band, CHELSEA GRIN continues to brutally deliver and represent a legacy that began back in 2007 with absolute ferocity.

4 – WHITECHAPEL

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Originating from Knoxville, Tennessee, WHITECHAPEL stands as a formidable force within the realm, carving out a legacy as one of the genre’s most influential acts since their formation in 2006. Revered for their unyielding fusion of crushing heaviness, technical prowess, and relentless aggression, the band swiftly captured the attention of metal enthusiasts worldwide.

Fronted by the commanding presence of vocalist Phil Bozeman, whose guttural growls and emotive delivery anchor the band’s sonic onslaught, WHITECHAPEL boasts a formidable lineup including guitarists Ben Savage, Zach Householder, and Alex Wade, alongside bassist Gabe Crisp and touring drummer Brandon Zackey. With acclaimed albums such as “This Is Exile” and “The Somatic Defilement,” WHITECHAPEL has cemented their status as pioneers of the era, lauded for their ferocious live performances and their unwavering dedication to pushing the genre’s boundaries with each release.

Beyond their musical prowess, WHITECHAPEL fearlessly navigates the murky waters of darkness, despair, and existential turmoil, delving into the depths of the human psyche with raw authenticity and unwavering intensity. Through emotionally charged lyrics and bone-shattering instrumentation, the band’s music serves as a cathartic outlet for fans of extreme music, providing a visceral and unfiltered glimpse into the darker facets of the human experience.

3 – SUICIDE SILENCE

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Originating from Riverside, California, SUICIDE SILENCE emerged onto the deathcore scene in the mid-2000s, quickly establishing themselves as a formidable force with their uncompromising blend of brutal heaviness and technical precision.

Formed in 2002, the band gained traction with their early releases, including their debut album “The Cleansing” in 2007, which catapulted them to the forefront of the genre. However, tragedy struck in 2012 with the untimely death of their charismatic frontman, Mitch Lucker, in a motorcycle accident. Despite this devastating loss, SUICIDE SILENCE persevered, bringing on ex-ALL SHALL PERISH vocalist Eddie Hermida, honoring Lucker‘s memory while continuing to push the boundaries of their sound.

In the face of adversity, SUICIDE SILENCE‘s enduring legacy is a testament to their resilience and passion for their craft. With standout tracks like “You Only Live Once,” “Unanswered,” and “No Pity for a Coward,” the band has left a massive mark on the metal landscape, captivating audiences with their ferocious live performances and unrelenting energy.

Through their music, SUICIDE SILENCE confronts themes of mortality, inner turmoil, and societal decay, resonating with fans around the world and solidifying their status as one of the most influential bands in the genre.

2 – LORNA SHORE

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Hailing from New Jersey, LORNA SHORE emerges as a force to be reckoned with in the extreme metal scene, blending relentless brutality with haunting melodies to create a sound that is both ferocious and atmospheric.

Formed in 2009, the band quickly gained attention with their debut album “Psalms,” showcasing their technical prowess and dynamic songwriting. With standout tracks like “Immortal,” “Darkest Spawn,” and “Flesh Coffin,” LORNA SHORE captivates listeners with their blend of bone-crushing heaviness and intricate musicality. Amidst frequent member changes, including a stint with notable extreme metal vocalist CJ MCreery on their 2020 LP “Immortal“, the band has grown to the point where they are now considered forerunners of the genre.

Key members including guitarists Adam De Micco and Andrew O’Connor, drummer Austin Archey, and bassist Michael Yager have helped shape the band’s signature sound, while the addition of vocalist Will Ramos in 2018 brought new energy and intensity to their music.

The addition of Will Ramos marked a new chapter for LORNA SHORE, infusing their music with a renewed sense of aggression and dynamism. With Ramos at the helm, the band released their critically acclaimed album “Pain Remains” in 2022, further solidifying their place as one of the leading acts in modern brutality.

LORNA SHORE‘s importance in the genre cannot be overstated, as they continue to push the boundaries of extreme metal with their relentless innovation and uncompromising dedication to their craft.

1 – THY ART IS MURDER

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Rising from the underground of Sydney, Australia in 2006, THY ART IS MURDER has carved a brutal path through the deathcore scene. Their sound is a relentless assault of blast beats, guttural vocals, and crushing breakdowns, laced with technical flourishes influenced by bands like THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER and CANNIBAL CORPSE.

The band’s early success, with their 2008 EP “Infinite Death” cracking the Top 10 on the Australian Independent charts, propelled them to international recognition. They continued to push boundaries with albums like “Hate” (2012) which became the first extreme metal record to reach the Top 40 on the overall Australian charts.

With vocalist CJ McMahon leading the charge for over a decade, alongside founding member Sean Delander (guitar), THY ART IS MURDER are not just extreme metal heavyweights, they’re credited with bringing the genre to a wider audience.

On September 23, 2023, shortly following the launch of their album “Godlike,” THY ART IS MURDER took to social media to announce the unexpected termination of vocalist McMahon, a decision made without his prior knowledge. The album, featuring re-recorded vocals by an undisclosed replacement, saw McMahon‘s contributions removed entirely. McMahon himself learned of his dismissal only upon the band’s public statement, revealing that the decision to replace his vocals had been made while he was still a member. The band cited McMahon‘s recent “anti-trans comments” as part of the reason for the split, identifying them as symptomatic of deeper issues. On September 27, the band unveiled Tyler Miller, formerly of AVERSIONS CROWN, as their new permanent vocalist.

THY ART IS MURDER has become synonymous with unrelenting brutality and socio-political lyricism. The group’s level of sonic brutality has solidified their status as one of the genre’s most formidable and important acts.