Metalcore don't get no respect
I was expecting the usual ridiculous posts of Bohemian Rhapsody played on a piccolo (sorry piccolo players) or something, but on that day, The Devil Wears Prada — one of the very best bands around — situated as the top post. The link was a YouTube video of their song “Dez Moines” from its legendary 2009 album, "With Roots Above and Branches Below."
My conversations with people about metalcore music have often been quite polarized, so I was curious to peruse the comments and observe what people thought.
To my surprise, most of the comments were quite supportive, but my expectations of ostracism of the genre were soon met as I scrolled further down the page.
People like what they like, and I would never look down on someone for disliking the Devil Wears Prada, no matter how great I think they are.
But I have a problem with dismissal of metalcore as a genre. This style provides the most inventive, talent-filled music around, and if you neglect it because it’s too “heavy,” you’re missing out.
Is it a style of music that lends itself to house parties or camp fires? Of course not — with the possible exception of A Day to Remember — but that doesn’t make it bad.
I was blown away when I first heard the mind-boggling time signatures of "August Burns Red," the perfectly balanced dual vocals of "Volumes" and the relentlessly awesome breakdowns of "Northlane."
Alas, music is a fairly subjective matter, so I can’t exactly convince anyone a song is good. However, there are some other aspects of the genre that I think can speak for its quality.
Metalcore bands progress more than those of other genres because it attracts people who look for challenges.
After a few years of playing, most guitarists can browse through a Red Hot Chili Peppers tab and play it near perfect after a few days.
It can take months upon months for a decade long player to master a metalcore song. The intricacies speed and the bizarre rhythms are extremely difficult to pull off. The same goes for drummers and bassists.
Follow the course of any metalcore band’s discography, and you can see from their growth that they push themselves harder than bands in any other type of music. They had to in getting there in the first place.
Bring Me the Horizon’s progression is a great example. Comparing its raw, admittedly juvenile 2006 album "Count Your Blessings" to its critically acclaimed "Sempiternal" seven years later is an incredible look into just how much bands in this genre evolve.
In fact, if we are talking pure musicianship, metalcore boasts the best of any genre by an immense margin.
Somewhere down the road, I noticed that more and more of my money for concertgoing was no longer being spent on bands like Brand New, the Gaslight Anthem or Minus the Bear, but instead on Parkway Drive, Of Mice and Men and Erra. That’s not to say the former bands aren’t good — they’re some of my very favorites — but when it comes down to deciding between an experience, a metalcore band generally puts on a performance that outdoes other genres. There’s just more fun, energy and passion.
Perhaps growing up in the Valley, a place which has made immense contributions to the metalcore scene in producing bands like The Word Alive and blessthefall, has made me more aware of the merit of this genre.
I’m not saying everyone should like this type of music, but I think it deserves a lot more respect.
Reach the columnist at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @MurphJamin