Metalcore for Hard Rockers
by Justin Farrar | July 22, 2014
Over the last several years, metalcore has become a fixture on Billboard’s Hard Rock Albums chart. From Asking Alexandria and Chelsea Grin to Killswitch Engage and Of Mice & Men, the number of metalcore bands experiencing substantial chart action seems to increase with each passing year. Of course, for those with deep roots in hardcore punk and extreme metal, metalcore is nothing new. After all, its roots reach as far back as the early '90s. But the fact that it now appeals to consumers of hard rock signifies a major transformation in its commercial outlook. My suspicion is that the two dominant forms of hard rock over the last two decades, post-grunge and nü metal, are beginning to sound a bit long in the tooth to a lot of hard rock fans. As a consequence, they're craving heavy music that sounds new and exciting to their ears, and the younger metalcore bands are only too happy to provide this new and exciting heaviness.
I say younger because, outside Killswitch Engage and Every Time I Die, it's the newer metalcore groups -- free of the anti-mainstream bias of their punk-oriented forbears -- that are most concerned with crafting their music in ways that appeal to hard rock's populist fan base. Asking Alexandria's latest effort, From Death to Destiny, contains an actual "rock mix" of the cut "The Death of Me." Then there's Escape the Fate. In addition to dressing up like Mötley Crüe-influenced rockers, they cut their metalcore and post-hardcore with arena-approved guitar solos and power ballad moves (see the track "Picture Perfect"). Issues, whose self-titled debut was released in February, are a lot like Escape the Fate. That said, the Atlanta-based act also manages to incorporate elements of early nü metal, emo pop and R&B. For an introduction to many of the key metalcore outfits that have moved into the hard rock zone, simply check out our playlist.