Four Forgotten Classics from the Golden Age of Metalcore

Calling all punk kids, metalheads, and everyone in between!! In the late 90’s and early 2000’s, the brutal and crushing fusion genre of metal and hardcore punk known as “metalcore” reached it’s creative peak. New bands were cropping up left and right, each one presenting a new and unique twist on the sound. Some acts from the scene, such as The Dillinger Escape Plan and Converge, would go on to have successful careers all the way into the 2010’s and become household names in the world of heavy music. Other bands had a short and sweet run and released great records known only by those who are well-versed in the genre. So without further ado, enjoy this list of four unique, creative, and highly underrated metalcore albums.

Starting off in 1997, we have the band Snapcase with their sophomore effort, Progression Through Unlearning. This album definitely leans the closest to punk compared to anything else on the list, with it’s heavy influence from post-hardcore bands of the early 90’s such as Helmet and Quicksand. The result is an energetic sound featuring groovy riffs, tight drumming, barked vocals and sharp, melodic guitar leads. Look no further than the opening track, “Caboose,” a brisk, two-and-a-half-minute banger that could get any listener feeling pumped up and ready to go. Other highlights include “Harrison Bergeron” and “Zombie Prescription.”

If slow, crushing, destructive metal is more your style, you’ll love If God Only Knew the Rest Were Dead, a 1998 EP by the band Disembodied. At a mere 18 minutes in length and with only five tracks, this release packs a brief but serious punch with it’s low-tempo drumming, thick, sludgy guitar riffs, desperate shouted vocals, and hopelessly depressing lyrics, not to mention the brutal breakdowns scattered all over the EP. Highlights include the opening track, “Heroine Fingers,” with it’s dark and brooding acoustic guitar intro that builds tension for the explosion that kicks off the rest of the track. Other highlights include “Bloodshed Rain” and “Gone.”

If you like a lot of melody in your heavy music, don’t miss Undying’s The Whispered Lies of Angels from the year 2000. From the harmonized and tremolo guitar leads to the blast beat drumming, this record is exhilarating, epic, and intense. The opening track, “Echoes,” perfectly sets the tone of the rest of the album, with it’s heroic riff followed by passionate screamed vocals on top of it. It should also be noted that this is a band who knows how to play with atmosphere, which is shown on the interlude tracks of this record, which often feature sombre guitars, synths, and piano.

And lastly, if you’re looking for a perfect combination of heaviness and dissonance with melodic tendencies, check out Jhazmyne’s Lullaby, the 2001 album by 7 Angels 7 Plagues. The opening track from this record, “A Farewell to a Perfect Score,” will constantly switch back and forth between heavy guitar chugs and high pitched “panic chords” as well as prettier melodies and ringing chords. The song even ends on a very pretty acoustic guitar passage. Throughout the rest of the album there are cathartic moments of singing or intense spoken word bits, which serves to enhance the emotion of the album. Other standout tracks include “Someday,” “Silent Death, Crowded Lives,” and the closing title track, which is nothing but a beautiful piano piece.