It’s been derided and discredited by fans and critics alike. Yet almost two decades after it first emerged, deathcore is that genre that refuses to go quietly into the night, wielding its defiance like a club.
Deathcore’s musical modus operandi tapped into a desire to combine full-on death metal brutality with mid-paced grooves and crushing breakdowns. Whether you’re looking for an introduction or just a spin-kick down memory lane, here are our 10 essential Deathcore albums.
Job For A Cowboy - Doom (2006)
We’re cheating a little here, as Doom was technically an EP. But with Jonny Davy producing some of the most terrifying pig squeals ever committed to tape and the limb-flailing audacity of standout second track Entombment of a Machine, the power of the chug was strong within this one. If you fancy a 23-minute long blast of relentless aggression, zero pretention and plenty of schizophrenic tempos to snap your neck to, Doom will scratch that itch. With all the “breee” you could want for your buck, it’s the quintessential spawn borne from the MySpace deathcore era.
All Shall Perish - The Price of Existence (2006)
If there was ever an album to listen to as you willingly peel your own face off whilst the world burned around you, it’s this 2006 chuggernaut. Balancing death metal and hardcore elements, TPOE is the Bay Area bludgeoners’ first record with Eddie Hermida and serves up a hulking maelstrom of heaving breakdowns, riff-gymnastics and vocals ranging from low-end growls to enamel peeling screams.
Despised Icon - The Ills Of Modern Man (2007)
It’s impossible simply talk about deathcore without mentioning Despised Icon. The Montreal natives are not just pioneers of the genre but, arguably, the very band that created it. With influences ranging from Suffocation to Sepultura, DI’s mission was to combine blastbeats with slamming riffs and breakdowns, and that’s exactly what they do on their second album. The Ills Of Modern Man shifts seamlessly between bowel-rumbling gutturals, devastating grooves and chaotic blasts of hardcore ferocity. As good as it gets when it comes to modern technical extremity.
Carnifex - Dead In My Arms (2007)
Another band whose origins can be traced back to the MySpace explosion, Carnifex’s seething debut kicks you directly in the teeth (and then the crotch) for good measure. Brutal yet accessible, it’s the perfect blend of death metal and hardcore with Lie To My Face and Slit Wrist Savior packing plenty of downtuned clamour and some surprisingly relatable lyrical content. Subsequent releases incorporated elements of black and symphonic metal, but this 2007 release is filthy deathcore through and through.
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Suicide Silence - The Cleansing (2007)
Suicide Silence’s debut album is a furious vortex of grind, metalcore and death metal that works as an entry point to the genre. The late Mitch Lucker’s lyrical nihilism appealed to the disillusioned masses searching for an outlet in which to vent their anger and frustrations, while lyrical statements like “Where is your fucking God?” would go on to adorn the black t-shirted backs of countless fans. The Cleansing’s raw simplicity catapulted this filth-laden banger to the scene’s forefront, becoming one of the best-selling debut albums in label Century Media’s history.
Whitechapel - This is Exile (2008)
While their 2007 debut The Somatic Defilement made Whitechapel a band to watch, this career-defining follow-up perfected the Knoxville sextet’s sound, establishing them as one of deathcore’s leading players not to mention a dominant force within modern metal itself. Songs range from the technically complex to the catchy; combining that triple-guitar attack with teeth-rattling breakdowns.
The Acacia Strain - Continent (2008)
Billed as a concept album about a man who leaves society and destroys mankind, Continent is be as engaging as it was aggressive. Its brick-to-the-cranium battery manifests itself via a slew of twisted hardcore-spliced grooves, lyrical misanthropy and chug-heavy breakdowns. Dr Doom comes bulldozing out of the blocks while you can visualise frontman Vincent Bennett frothing at the mouth as he expresses his disgust towards literally everything during a menacing Jfc.
Make Them Suffer - Neverbloom (2012)
Perth six-piece Make Them Suffer legitimised their symphonic deathcore tag with the release of 2010’s blistering Lord Of Woe EP and this full-length debut, with its propensity for eloquent gloom. The Antipodeans’ penchant for blending nihilistic beauty with rapid-fire bludgeoning is a fundamental part of their sound and the heartfelt shrieks piercing Elegies alongside Maelstrom’s vicious bludgeoning stem any potential monotony that’s often associated with modern-day deathcore.
Thy Art Is Murder – Hate (2013)
Opening with the hellacious Reign of Darkness, Hate grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go for 36 minutes. Packing face-melting slams, furious tremolo riffing and CJ McMahon bellowing like a man possessed amidst an explosion of machine gun fire drumming, the Sydney quintet’s second album offers up a nihilistic narrative on modern-day life, exploring societal ills such as politics and religion. Mixing up elements of both deathcore and tech death, there’s a concerted focus on musical complexity, as well as some ramped-up production courtesy of Will Putney.
Fit For An Autopsy - Absolute Hope Absolute Hell (2015)
The third album from New Jersey bruisers Fit For An Autopsy was the first to feature current vocalist Joe Badolato, and although the tremolo picked dissonance, triple-axe onslaught and menacing chug remain omnipresent, there’s an undeniable stylistic shift at work. The Gojira-esque Ghosts In The River and post-rock leaning ambience of Out To Sea sit alongside punishing breakdowns, making for a more considered sound that proved as progressive as it was potent.