Meeting Metal Through its Core

Bridge Nine Records

Bridge Nine Records

What is “core?”

As an influx of bands burst into the spotlight almost daily, it’s becoming harder to define what music style it really is.

People who don’t know the subgenres simply label it “screamo” or metal, but many elitist fans and some bands would strongly cringe at those labels.

Core dates back to the late ’70s with the beginnings of hardcore punk (now known as hardcore). The sound, originated in the Bay Area and southern California, was seen as a faster and more aggressive style of punk. It arose as a reaction to the hippie movement and was heavily influenced by the New York scene.

The music and sound was viewed as chaotic, aggressive and full of energy, and was usually filled with lyrical content about anti-commercialism, strong political and social topics, and anything that disavows the mainstream rock scene.

As the ’90s approached, the genre split into its own microcosm of numerous labels and subgenres such as screamo, post-hardcore, straight edge hardcore, metalcore, emo, melodic hardcore, mathcore, deathcore and chaotic hardcore, just to name a few.

Century Media

This was due to the expanding influence from other genres like jazz, heavy metal, alternative, pop and rap. The subgenre labels are ever changing, and new subgenres of subgenres are continuously forming such as technical metalcore, symphonic deathcore and many more as each band tries to create a unique sound.

Screamo, on the other hand, is a subgenre that started in the early ’90s, pioneered by bands like Heroin and Antioch Arrow in San Diego. It is characterized by a strong influence of hardcore punk and the use of screamed vocals.

Lyrical themes usually include emotional pain, romantic interest, politics, and human rights. However, it has become a misused umbrella term to describe modern post-hardcore and metalcore.

Another battle has been over modern core music being considered metal. That argument has been online in forums, posts and social media for years and often ends in fallouts because many of the metal music community do not consider core to be metal. Others, however, will say it is part of the metal genre, since the music itself is heavily influenced by metal and punk.

It is not uncommon to see a metal band tour with a core band, as the music industry sees it differently. Many record labels will have a roster filled with all types of metal, including core (which consists of metalcore and deathcore).

The main idea is not about the labels but the music itself. It does not matter if the band plays “melodic blackened Viking metalcore” or something outrageous. If it is good music, then it speaks for itself.