The 20 Best Metalcore Bands
Metalcore has been around for more than three decades and become a global entity today. As a fusion of extreme metal and hardcore punk, metalcore features heavy riffs, blast beats, thrash, and scream vocals. Since the 90s, the metalcore audience has been getting larger, thanks to many successful bands.
Metalcore is a great combination between metal and punk with percussive pedal tones, double bass drumming, breakdowns, and stop-start rhythm guitar riffs. The genre also has different subgenres as the first metalcore tunes were closer to hardcore, and later the influence of heavy metal and thrash metal got more significant.
With bands like Killswitch Engage, Atreyu, Trivium, Bullet For My Valentine, and many more, the genre reached a global audience and became one of the richest genres in terms of variety and different approaches.
Let’s look at some of the best metalcore bands that decided the course of the genre.
- 1. Killswitch Engage
- 2. As I Lay Dying
- 3. Trivium
- 4. The Architects
- 5. Parkway Drive
- 6. August Burns Red
- 7. Bullet For My Valentine
- 8. Bring Me The Horizon
- 9. All That Remains
- 10. Converge
- 11. Asking Alexandria
- 12. The Devil Wears Prada
- 13. The Dillinger Escape Plan
- 14. Hatebreed
- 15. Northlane
- 16. Unearth
- 17. Memphis May Fire
- 18. Atreyu
- 19. In Hearts Wake
- 20. Between the Buried and Me
1. Killswitch Engage
Formed in 1999, Killswitch Engage is an American metalcore band that is considered one of the pioneers of the metalcore genre. The band sold over four million records in the U.S. and was nominated for a Grammy in 2007 with the track “The End of Heartache,” which was the band’s first famous track.
Killswitch Engage is closer to heavy metal than punk due to the band’s meaty sound, which we are familiar with hearing from bands like Slayer and Metallica. On top of the heavy riffs, the band combines singing, screaming vocals and growls in their tracks.
2. As I Lay Dying
As I Lay Dying is an American metalcore band founded in 2000 (in San Diego, California) by the vocalist Tim Lambesis. The band became one of the greatest metalcore bands ever with several number 1 hits, Grammy nominations, plenty of awards, and performances in globally famous events.
As a prominent metalcore band, As I Lay Dying blends heavy metal, hardcore, and grindcore in their music and uses strong influences from melodic death metal. Their style can be clearly heard in their Grammy-nominated song “Nothing Left,” which became one of the biggest hits of the band.
The band took a break when the band leader Lambesis was sentenced to 6 years if prison. In 2018 he got out, and the band reunited.
Sitting in between heavy metal and metalcore genres is the American band Trivium, founded in 1999. With over one million records sold worldwide and one Grammy nomination to their name, the band is one of the most successful names in the metal world.
Trivium uses all the classic characteristics of the metalcore genre, including crushing heavy riffs, dual guitar harmonies, blast beats, and breakdowns, as well as double bass drum patterns. The most successful tune of the band became the 2019 hit “Betrayer,” which was nominated for a Grammy the same year.
4. The Architects
Formed in England in 2004, The Architects are a well-known metalcore band famous for their chaotic and rhythmically complex music. The band is considered a progressive metalcore band due to obscure time signatures and rhythmic breakdowns in their songs.
The band’s founder and leader, Tom Searle, passed away in 2016, but the band moved on and released three new albums after. The album, “For Those That Wish to Exist,” became the band’s first chart-topping album in the U.K. followed by the immense success and popularity of their last album “The Classic Symptoms of a Broken Spirit”.
5. Parkway Drive
The Australian metalcore band Parkway Drive was formed in 2003 and became one of the most successful metal bands in Australia. The last four Parkway Drive albums reached the top 10 in the country. With screaming vocals, guitar riffs, and breakdowns, the band has a sound sitting close to heavy metal.
The most famous albums of the band are considered “Ire” and “Reverence,” released in 2015 and 2018, respectively. Furthermore, the band was more aimed toward the deathcore sound in the early albums, but they shifted to a more heavy metal sound with their latter albums.
6. August Burns Red
Two-time Grammy nominee metalcore band August Burns Red was founded in Manheim, Pennsylvania, in 2003. They are considered a melodic metalcore band due to their frequent use of breakdowns, melodic guitar partitions, and odd-time signatures, along with clean vocal parts.
With nine albums to date, August Burns Red is a highly prolific band. Their most successful hits were “Identity” and “Invisible Enemy,” both were nominated for a Grammy.
The band’s tunes often do not have a chorus and have classical-music-inspired interludes with the high use of different instruments like the cello and the violin. August Burns Red is a unique metalcore band pushing the limits of the genre.
7. Bullet For My Valentine
Often cited as BFMV, Bullet For My Valentine is a famous Welsh metalcore band formed in 1998. Having sold over 3 million albums worldwide, BFMV is one of the most successful metalcore bands ever. The band fuses heavy metal guitar partitions with post-hardcore vocals creating their unique sound.
BFMV follows the steps of iconic heavy metal bands such as Iron Maiden and Slayer. The band uses muscular riffs and harmonies and blends them with 80s metal sound and punk-style metal to create their melodic and dark sound. Their albums “The Poison,” “Scream Aim Fire,” and “Temper Temper” are some of the best charting albums of the band.
8. Bring Me The Horizon
The British metalcore band, Bring Me The Horizon was formed in Sheffield in 2004. The band started as a deathcore band but shifted to metalcore with later albums, in which they mixed different influences from classical music, electronica, pop, and hip hop into their music. They sold over 4 million records and were nominated two times for a Grammy.
“That’s the Spirit” in 2015, “Sempiternal” in 2014, and “There Is a Hell Believe Me I’ve Seen It. There Is a Heaven Let’s Keep It a Secret” in 2010 are some of the most successful albums of the band. The band’s music is unique as they experiment a lot with glitched-out vocals and breakdowns, a full choir, a synthesized orchestra, and more.
9. All That Remains
Having sold over a million albums, All That Remains is yet another famous metalcore band from the U.S.A. The band was founded in 1998 and played a significant role in the new wave of American heavy metal with their crushing riffs, double guitar harmonies, and great vocals combining screams and growls with singing.
Some noticeable work from the band is the albums “All That Remains,” “ The Fall of Ideals,” and “Overcome.” The band underwent plenty of personnel changes for different reasons, but as of 2022, the band is still producing fresh material.
American hardcore band Converge is one of the oldest metalcore bands, with their origins dating back to 1990. So, as a pioneer of the genre, Converge helped shape the metalcore sound through their innovative and original approach to the punk scene with heavy metal influences.
Converge is one of the most influential metalcore bands, and their style is best described as aggressive punk combined with heavy metal riffs and complex rhythms and melodies of jazz. The band won several Boston Music Awards, and the album “Jane Doe” is regarded as one of the best metalcore albums ever released.
11. Asking Alexandria
Formed in 2006, Asking Alexandria is a British metalcore band that took the attention of music lovers with their second album, “Reckless & Relentless.” The band started with a metalcore sound before moving to a more experimental hard rock style after their self-titled fifth studio album.
Asking Alexandria does not like to stick with the same style from album to album. They started experimenting a lot by fusing hard rock, screamo, electronic, and heavy metal influences into their music. “Reckless & Relentless” and the self-titled album are two of the most successful works of the band.
12. The Devil Wears Prada
Another metalcore band from the U.S.A. is The Devil Wears Prada, formed in 2005. The band was considered a Christian metalcore band as they blended metalcore with Christian metal. The band uses elements from American metal-core and European melodic metal to create a unique style.
The Devil Wears Prada got fame and success with their “With Roots Above and Branches Below” album in 2009 and continued their success with the “Zombie” EP and the “Dead Throne” album between 2010 and 2013. The name of the band reflects the band members’ anti-materialistic perspective.
13. The Dillinger Escape Plan
Famous for their frequent use of odd time signatures, polyrhythms, and complex drum patterns, The Dillinger Escape Plan is an American metalcore band founded in 1997. Their 1999 debut album “Calculating Infinity” became one of the important landmarks of metal and punk history.
The album sold over 100.000 copies which made them one of the best-selling metal bands of the era. Although it is a metalcore band, The Dillinger Escape Plan uses many elements from progressive rock, electronic music, and jazz fusion and melts them into one pot.
The band’s perspective was very technical in the first albums, which gave way to a more melodic approach with later albums.
Formed in 1994, Hatebreed is another metalcore band from the U.S.A. metal scene. The band helped make the genre mainstream in the U.S.A. with their blend of hardcore and heavy metal. Later, Hatebreed continued its success and was nominated for a Grammy in 2004.
Their first album, “Satisfaction is the Death of Desire,” in 1997, was an important milestone in the U.S.A. that made the band a pioneer of the metalcore genre. The band blended punk rock, heavy metal, thrash metal, and hardcore.
The band’s song “Live for This” became a huge hit in 2004, which led them to be nominated for a Grammy.
One of the relatively newer names in the metalcore scene is the band Northlane from Australia. The band was formed in 2009 in Sydney and focused on the classic foundations of metalcore in their first albums before moving to more experimental regions with different influences from various genres.
Northlane is one of the most successful metal bands in Australia, winning several awards. The albums such as “Singularity,” “Mesmer,” “Node,” and “Allien” all charted top 3 in Australia and plenty of awards.
The band likes to create different approaches in each album. So, you can hear nu-metal, industrial metal, and EDM influences in one album, while alternative and experimental elements are present in another one.
Founded in the U.S.A. in 1998, Unearth is one of the lesser-known metalcore bands on the list. The band has seven studio albums, with the most famous ones being the 2008 album “The March” and the 2011 album “Darkness in the Light.”
Although the band is focused on the metalcore genre, their influences, along with their sound, are more on the heavy metal side. The band follows the steps of giant names like Pantera, Slayer, Metallica, In Flames, and At the Gates.
17. Memphis May Fire
Mainly known for their fourth studio album, “Unconditional,” Memphis May Fire is a famous metalcore band founded in 2006 in Texas. The U.S.A. The band is one of the most-loved bands in contemporary metalcore in recent years with their sleek and catchy yet also heavy and groovy sound.
Another key to the success of the band is the talent of the vocalist Matty Mullins, who can sing uniquely with a soulful croon and bellowing screams. All the albums after the success of “Unconditional” in 2006 were well-received by the fans, and albums such as “This Light I Hold” and “Broken” became fan favorites.
One of the most famous names in the metalcore genre is Atreyu, formed in California, U.S.A., in 1998. The band is often considered a metalcore band, but they have a unique sound that does not fit any single genre. From psychedelic rock to hardcore punk, from heavy metal to blues rock and death metal, Atreyu blends many influences from different genres.
The band has two vocalists, one for clean and one for unclean vocals, which gives the band high flexibility to travel around genres. The most successful album of Atreyu to date was “The Curse,” which was released in 2004 and sold over 500.000 copies. The band received huge fame after that, and their songs were featured in many Hollywood movies.
19. In Hearts Wake
Formed in 2006, In Hearts Wake is an environmentalist metalcore band from Australia. The band is well-known for its socially conscious lyrics and its idealist perspective. While they are a lesser-known brand, they frequently perform in many festivals, especially after the success of their second album, “Earthwalker.”
The band achieved national fame after their second album as the album reached No. 5 on the official ARIA Charts. The band has a heavy sound, but they also often experiment with instrumental pieces and elements from different genres.
20. Between the Buried and Me
BTBAM, or Between The Buried And Me, is an American progressive metalcore band founded in 2000. The band has a more technical approach with avant-garde metal, progressive metal, and metalcore influences as their songs shift from genre to genre with various riffs played in the same song.
Some significant albums of the band are “Colors” and “The Great Misdirect” as well as “The Parallax II: Future Sequence.” All these albums reflect the unique approach of the band amazingly, as songs are highly progressive, shifting from death metal to jazzy riffs in seconds.
Metalcore is an ever-growing and popular genre of music and since no list can ever be definitive, here are some honorable mentions. Let’s start with Shadows Fall. Formed in 1996, the band underwent several lineup changes until the present day and after a 6-year hiatus period, they are back and performing still. With 7 studio albums under their belt, they have a good foundation and incentive to stay active.
Next, we have Poison the Well. An American metalcore band, hailing from Miami, Florida, despite their many breaks, have reunited on several occasions for reunion shows. They have five albums released and have sold around 300,000 copies in the US.
Last, but not least – Walls of Jericho. Founded in the late 90s’, in Detroit, the band has since released five studio albums and three EPs. After a two-year break from 2001 to 2003, the band has since been active, playing live shows and tours.
As a great combination of hardcore punk with heavy metal, metalcore is one of the popular branches of metal that is still popular today. With aggressive heavy riffs, screams, breakdowns, slow and intense passages, and the moshing dance culture, it is highly enjoyable music, especially for metalheads.
These are some of the best metalcore bands of all time without a specific order. I must say that this is not a definitive list, and many more bands can be added. Nevertheless, I tried to choose different bands from different parts of the world and with different approaches to metalcore as a genre.
Killswitch Engage Featured Image (Top-Left) by: Ralph Arvesen, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
The Architects Featured Image (Top-Right) by: Selbymay, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Parkway Drive Featured Image (Bottom-Left) by: Sven Mandel, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
As I Lay Dying Featured Image (Bottom-Right) by: Mark Coatsworth, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons