Metalcore is a fusion genre combining elements of extreme metal and hardcore punk. Among other styles blending metal and hardcore, such as crust punk and grindcore, metalcore is noted for its use of breakdowns, which are slow, intense passages conducive to moshing (i.e. the aggressive and often violent dancing of the scene) (cit. Wikipedia)
Although I’m not for sure the most passionate fan of Metalcore, I have to say that there are groups and songs that really shake me and manage to convey great emotions. Like all kinds of music that suddenly reach high visibility in the scene and world-wide success for the key representative bands, beside those few great innovative groups that contributed to the birth of the genres, hundreds of imitations have sprung up. As a matter of fact, from its beginning as an interesting blending of different musical experiences, too often Metalcore has become purely a label to apply to music and a style to pursue blindly without trying to tell anything new. Thankfully, however, there are still a few groups that manage to bring passion and creativity into their music.
Let’s see then which are the best Metalcore records released since the beginning of the year. I’ve selected 5 albums among the many I’ve heard so far, which are presented here starting from the top.
#1) Pain Again by Varials
At the very top of the Metalcore selection of 2017 we find the debut album by Varials, a quintet of young metallers from Philadelphia. Pain Again, their first and impressive LP, contains everything you would expect from a Metalcore release but with a number of different and well executed variations from the standard canons of the genre that make this album a definitely must have.
#2) Deadweight by Wage War
Deadweight is the second full-lenght work by Wage War, a relatively new American metalcore band from Florida. The album contains all the typical features of Metalcore music but with a definite turn towards slower tempos and powerful sounds. And even if the sytle of music played by this band doesn’t excel for innovation, this is a record full of passionate and engagin songs, which are all played with great skills and expertise.
#3) Madness by All That Remains
Ihe first two positions of the chart have been taken by a couple of new bands and we must arrive at the third place in the Metalcore ranking to find a bands of veteran musicians. All That Remains, from Massachussets, are approaching 20 years of career and they relesed in 2017 the eighteth album of their long discography, Madness, which sees the debut in the band of the new bassist Aaron Patrick.
Sometimes accused of softening their sound to approach a wider audience, with this work the band has evidently tried to show that they still possess the ability to compose dynamic and articulated songs. The results may not always be up to the expectations, but the album has still some remarkable songs which made it one of the best Metalcore LPs of the year.
#4) You Are We by While She Sleeps
UK is represented in this chart by the Metalcore band While She Sleeps, from Sheffield. These guys are active since 12 years but You Are We, their last album, is only the third LP they have released so far.
Musically speaking, the album belongs to that side of Metalcore where melodic lines and catchy riffs often predominate over the hardcore and other more brutal elements of the genre. Nevertheless, the album still manages to convey the sense of frustration and anger that typical metalcore enthusiasts like to find in their favourite music.
#5) Phantom Anthem by August Burns Red
August Burn Red are are among the most appraised and also best-known Metalcore bands and their latest end eighteth record, Phantom Anthem, is definitely another masterpiece of its genre. It couldn’t miss from this selection of the best Metalcore albums of the year, but given its complexity and depth, it won’t be a great surprise if in the few years that separate us from the end of the year, this album will gain positions in the chart. Listening to this album, in fact, may be not as easy as the case of the previous LPs of the chart, mostly because the songs of Phantom Anthem are full of guitar motifs that that overlap with the the riffs and the rhythms of the songs, making the pieces actually more laborious to be fully absorbed and comprehended.