10 Best Metalcore Bands of All Time


Promo image of metalcore band Killswitch Engage.

Killswitch Engage are among Audio Ink Radio’s 10 best metalcore bands of all time – Story by Anne Erickson, courtesy photo

Here are Audio Ink Radio’s 10 best metalcore bands of all time

Metalcore is a unique genre and one that can mean different things to different people. Some view the metalcore sound as a mix of heavy metal and classic hardcore punk, while others look to the specific sounds of big metal choruses and scream-fueled, hardcore vocals.

Bands such as Converge and Earth Crisis were the first in the genre’s movement, as they blended melodic metal and hardcore punk in a novel, fresh way. But today, metalcore can sound very different, as it works in electronic elements and experimental sounds.

Read on for 10 of the best metalcore bands of all time. There’s no denying that each of these bands have a place in the genre’s history books, whether it’s at the beginning or now. Reach out to us on social media to offer your picks.

The 10 Best Metalcore Bands of All Time

10. Converge

Converge are among the forefathers of metalcore, and their 2001 album, “Jane Doe,” is one of the genre’s defining releases. The record is truly a snapshot of what was a burgeoning genre at the time. Decades later, it really stands the test of time and still sounds great.

9. As I Lay Dying

Things got, well, messy when As I Lay Dying vocalist Tim Lambesis was convicted of trying to hire a hitman to take care of his former wife. But before that drama, As I Lay Dying were the kings of metalcore. Mixing intense riffing with relentlessly heavy vocals, the band’s 2003 release, “Frail Words Collapse,” was something of a blueprint for the still forming genre. The guitars really shine on here, with wild breakdowns and dissonant chords.

8. Bring Me the Horizon

Over the years, Bring Me the Horizon have demonstrated the ability to marry scorching metal music with hardcore vocals and a pop sensibility. Their popularity keeps growing, but 2003’s “Sempiternal” remains the album that really showed the world the possibility of metalcore appealing to the masses.

7. Hatebreed

Jamey Jasta and Hatebreed appeal to both the hardcore and metalcore contingent. The band falls into the heaviest side of the latter genre, with Jasta’s powerful, crushing vocals and poignant lyrics with weighty themes. One early highlight for the band is 1997’s “Satisfaction is the Death of Desire,” which discusses the group’s outlook on life in a crushing metal set.

6. Architects

Architects are often left off these “best-of” lists in the metalcore genre, and we don’t agree. The British band is one of the most powerful forces in the genre today. Lately, their music has featured a bevy of melodic post-hardcore, offering more melody that in previous records. They may be evolving, but they’re still influencers in the genre.

5. Poison the Well

Poison the Well were early influences in the metalcore genre. Their 1999 release, “The Opposite of December,” brought out a crop of bands that tried hard to sound just like Poison the Well, but nobody could do it. The band excelled at bringing together metalcore’s aggressiveness with the heart of emo, all amid huge breakdowns.

4. The Devil Wears Prada

The Devil Wears Prada broke out on the Solid State Records label, proving that, yes, Christian metalcore bands could be a thing. The band survived the rise of the genre in the 2000s and have stayed relevant event decades later, which is a rare treat. The band’s 2011 release, “Dead Throne,” basically kicked off the second phase of the metalcore genre.

3. Parkway Drive

When it comes to massive breakdowns, Parkway Drive have always been the guys to deliver. In fact, many credit Parkway Drive with making the breakdown a critical part of the metalcore genre. On 2007’s “Horizons,” the band served up insane breakdowns that hit the listener in the gut. They have always been original, too, never imitating.

2. Avenged Sevenfold

Yes, Avenged Sevenfold are high on this list, and that might seem odd, especially since many consider them more of a straight-ahead modern metal band. But, before Avenged Sevenfold went mainstream, they were very metalcore. Their 2003 album, “Waking the Fallen,” was a major influencer in the genre, offering a mix of high-octane breakdowns, catchy hooks and stunning musicality.

1. Killswitch Engage

Perhaps no metalcore band succeeded at blending beautiful, sing-able melodies with heavy instrumentation as well as Killswitch Engage. Even as they swapped vocalists, from Jesse Leach to Howard Jones and back to Leach, their sound and style remained cohesive and ever-growing. Many point to Killswitch Engage’s 2004 release, “The End of Heartache,” as the genre’s opus. That’s why we’re naming them the greatest metalcore band of all time.

Read Audio Ink Radio’s list of the 10 best thrash metal bands of all time here.

Anne Erickson
Posted by Anne Erickson | Features, Metal, Music, Rock