A few days ago, ever since Atreyu’s vocalist Alex Varkatzas claimed his band invented metalcore. There has been a debut going on back and forth between metalcore artists and I believe it was deemed Overcast created the genre. I know, who cares… I want to enjoy the music, not a full-on history lesson. I’m a huge fan of the older metalcore albums and this is my experience.
My Musical Preference
Before I start this little list I think it’s best that I establish my musical taste background. Being a child of the 80s, I grew up listening to Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Motorhead, Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, Slayer, Guns N’ Roses, etc. I would sit and draw pictures for hours while listening to the heavy riffs of the greats. It was a time of Ghostbusters, Nintendo, and Heavy Metal… it was a good time to be a kid.
Once the 90s hit, it seemed like grunge was taking over and I just didn’t connect with it. To me, it was slow, it was boring, there was no speed rush. I was constantly listening to my older records. Then one day, my buddy Deric and I jumped in his classic 1978 Buick Regal, that we recently performed a V8 swap on… which made the car metal as f@#$ and we hit the road. I was glancing through his cassette collection and found Pantera, my life was changed forever! Pantera filled the gaping gap left open from all the damn grunge music. Pantera was the headbanging speed I needed. Later, Deric gave me his “Cowboys From Hell” cassette because he didn’t like it. He said it was just screaming… afterward, we didn’t hang out much anymore LMAO.
Then I went to college and lived through the awful days of nu-metal. Mixing rap with metal always made my stomach turn. It just f@#$ing sucked! Unless you’re Machine Head… Machine Head is just too much awesome. The music scene was filled with Korn, Kid Rock, Limp Biscuit, and whoever else. The only thing I enjoyed during that time was Static-X. Static-X’s record “Wisconsin Death Trip” is legendary and will ensure an instant party, no question asked. Everyone will be shouting “Get up off my horse cuz my nuts drip!” (Not the actual lyrics.) LMAO!
Fast forward a few more years after college and I moved back to good old Nebraska. Being back I was super bored and needed some fresh riffs to help me get back to my drawing routine. Music and drawing go hand and hand. Everyone around me was jamming Slipknot and I enjoyed it, but then I ventured into the local music store and discovered one of the greatest genres ever… METALCORE!
Which Brings Us to Metalcore
I discovered metalcore at Hastings Books in Grand Island, Nebraska sometime around 2002. I was on the hunt for some fresh tunes when I discovered Shadows Fall. Holy shit, life changed again that day. Shadows Fall was heavy and full of badass metal riffs. I purchased “The Art Of Balance” and played that CD until it melted. I had to discover more of this thing they called “Metalcore” or as I called it “Metal”.
Luckily, Shadows Fall was signed to Century Media Records and they made it very convenient to discover new heavy music. I was also checking out Roadrunner Records because I was still jamming Slipknot at ear-piercing volumes. That’s when I found Killswitch Engage. KSE is hands down a powerhouse of metalcore. If you like metal, but don’t like KSE… there is something wrong with your ass. Adam Dutkiewicz and Joel Stroetzel, are some of the best in metal. Their guitar riffing battles are flawless!
Every payday I went to my local Hastings Books and picked up new albums from Godforbid, 36 Crazyfists, As I Lay Dying, Demon Hunter, Diecast, Lamb of God, and more. My Pontiac’s center console was filled with CDs. Around this time I also learned where the “core” part of “metalcore” was coming from and I discovered Madball and immediately was hooked on the Hardcore genre. Of course, I started checking out more HC bands and began listening to Agnostic Front and Terror. I couldn’t get enough and then I heard Hatebreed! Holy shit, Hatebreed is AMAZING, but that’s another story for a different article.
Thanks for taking the trip with me back down memory lane and revisiting these great albums! I’ll leave you with some of metalcore’s finest videos below, enjoy.
P.S. If you just happen to be interested in checking my drawings, head on over to Dillon’s Diabolical Designs and fest your eyes on some monsters!