The "core" subgenres, while sometimes maligned by the more extreme corners of the scene, can arguably be the source of some of the greatest emetal music known to man. Here I give you the ten of the most influential and groundbreaking core releases that have ever come out, in my personal opinion. Bear in mind that the albums featured on here span many different categories of the 'core' scene.
This one may come as a surprise to many viewers or followers. However, I believe that this particular release by Bring Me The Horizon is so vastly written and perfectly over-the-top in terms of deathcore standards at tne time (year of release was 2006) that it cannot be overlooked for the sake of argument here. I mean, in Count Your Blessings, you've got your downtuned guitars, death growls and gutturals, spontaneous slams and breakdowns, blast beats, diverse instrumentals and much more. Tracks such as 'Pray For Plagues' and 'Black & Blue' demonstrate the lyricism and instrumental abilities of the band while other songs like 'Slow Dance' and 'I (Used to) Make Out With Medusa' showcase the brutality and versatility of it all. All in all, it's a worthwhile listen for all of the MySpace era fanatics.
This next one is a hardcore/metalcore niche classic for those who have been into the subgenre in the early 2000s. Coming from an Orange County, CA-based act, Until The Ink Runs Out showcases many of the early talents and edgy vibes of the underground hardcore scene during this era. From its hard-hitting choruses to its strong-willed and enthusiastic vocal style; the album's riffs and transitions and much more, it is truly a wonder. For the time, the production quality is pretty stellar...and those Hatebreed and Poison The Well-esque instrumental patterns come in heavy. Because of memorable hits like 'She's A Movie Produced Masterpiece', 'Who The F**k Killed John Lennon', and 'Flowers For Ingrid', this one is an enjoyable experience from start to finish.
So as some may already be aware, the Relapse Records label is one that has been influential to the extreme metal and underground communities for many, many years now and is one that I hold near and dear to me. And, because of this label, we've got ourselves what is arguably Pig Destroyer's greatest release to date...and, possibly the best grind album of all time...Prowler in the Yard. There is just so much that this one does right and so many memories for me listening to this release that it's difficult to say anything remotely negative about it. It's got character, charisma, violent and agressive, gore-obsessed lyricism, some borderline psychotic tendencies, less-than-a-minute-long track lengths, constant blast beats, sprawling shredding, over-the-top trakc titles, signature and recognizeable high vocals, and a lot more to write home about. It is spontaneous, fast paced, and all over the place...and that's why we like it so much!
This particular Job For A Cowboy release is one that is not very much appreciated in comparison to their other efforts...and, consequently, it is their only core-oriented offering to date. Doom EP serves as the band's debut release in their very early days; their 'prime', so to speak; and it also features some of the most eclectic instrumentals, crushing breakdowns, convincing pig squeals, and sweet guitar solos that this subgenre has to offer. While the music itself may seem fairly dated and not as mature as the future efforts may be, it is still pretty bold and creative for its time, mainly considering the age of the band members in addition to the originality presented in its confines.
From Autumn To Ashes was a Long Island, NY-based metalcore outfit that never ceased to amaze or deliver on its impeccable core content. A real fan pleaser since its inception, the band released four full lengths up until its separation and apparent disbanding in the late 2000s. Too Bad You're Beautiful is the legit highlight of this artist's career for a few different reasons, I feel. For one thing, this album has some of the most relatable themes and memorable lines that I've ever heard in this type of music. If one were to refer to such songs as 'Chloroform Perfume', 'The Royal Crown vs. Blue Duchess' and 'Reflections' for reference, it would become apparent that this band is out to tackle real-life issues here. Nonetheless, other songs also include some pretty stellar guitar riffs as well as dialogue, most notably in 'Short Stories With Tragic Endings', which features multiple vocalists and notable changes of pace from the band's usual formula. All in all, it is a metalcore album I have much nostalgia and affection for.
Cracking in to the top 5 is an album that I'm sure many of the people reading this have at least heard or heard of. Messengers is the sophomore full length release by Pennsylvanian metalcore act August Burns Red under Solid State Records in 2007. The eleven tracks and nearly 50 minutes of content that comprises this album is little to nothing short of melodic perfection. Through songs like 'The Blinding Light' and 'Composure', listeners get to experience the heavier and more progressive, breakdown-happy side of ABR's talents; on the other hand, other songs serve to show us their musical and atmospheric capabilities by way of intruigingly well written lyrical concepts, inspired and sometimes extremely complex guitar riffing, and shifting tempos as well as musical patterns. This one is a hard recommend for fans of the more melodic and intuitive side of the metalcore genre. In addition, the band recently toured for the album's tenth anniversary following a re-release.
Fused Together in Revolving Doors is the debut full length album by Massachusetts band The Red Chord. Released originally in 2002, this album is still relevant as well as notable for its amalgamation of the deathcore & grindcore subgenres into one entity -- namely becoming deathgrind as a result. In its writing, Fused Together in Revolving Doors helped pave the way for future core bands through the MySpace era and influenced a new generation of deathcore. The shredding tremolo and shrieking parts are generally lightning fast, while the breakdowns found on this album are relatively slow paced...which makes for an interesting juxtaposition. The sound is fairly diverse and original for the time it was released, and the vocals are some of the most recognizeable that you will hear in the genre. Refer to tracks like 'Nihilist', 'Dreaming in Dog Years', and 'Breed The Cancer' for more examples of all the aforementioned qualities.
Taking the third spot on this list is the second studio album by hard-hitting hardcore/metalcore act Hatebreed. Perseverance, in addition to being released on Universal, a largescale music label, is a release that displays a ton of raw emotion and aggressive concepts, along with some stellar production quality and disgusting core riffs for good measure. While the songs on Perseverance are all generally on the shorter side in terms of length, this factor is greatly made up for by musical quality and substance. It's a fast paced album that also features many guest spots, including the likes of Kerry King of Slayer fame in addition to a couple of the guys from Shadows Fall, yet another highly notable band in the core scene. All in all, this is one release that fans of hardcore and metalcore alike should not miss out on, for both its historical and musical value.
This penultimate entry surely needs very little introduction. Define The Great Line by Underoath is a 2006 metalcore album that gained the band a ton of praise and recognition when it released, and for good reason. The release is very well paced, with a ton of variety and eclectic vibes. The subtle undertones and notable vocals really give it a heads up in its subgenre. Define The Great Line marks the band's second album with Spencer Chamberlain as frontman and also includes some very relatable themes linked to concepts of betrayal, feeling lost, spirituality and more. This album has been near and dear to me ever since I first discovered it in the eighth grade. It is emotional, melodic, exhilarating, and everything in between.
Taking over the top spot for this list is none other than the noteworthy Jane Doe album courtesy of Converge. I had to think about this one for a bit...and it came down to this chaotic metalcore/metallic hardcore/early mathcore release for a few different reasons. For one thing, many individuals would say that it was a huge milestone and stepping stone for the metalcore genre as a whole back when it dropped, inspiring countless other artists to emulate the general formula of this album. Another aspect is the overall scatterbrained sound of it, coupled with the chaotic instrumentals and incoherent vocal style. What did it for me were the destructive tones, unorthodox song structures and nonstep dissonance of Jane Doe. It is undeniably famous within the underground and core communities, garnering a largescale fanbase and outstanding critical reception due to its quirks. In conclusion, this album represents a huge portion of what this type of music ought to be about, and that is: edgy, hard(core), offensive, creative and sometimes inexplicable.