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15 contemporary mathcore bands bringing the genre into the future

Out of all the subgenres of metal, mathcore has the most to tell us about our fractured present and intimidating future. A violent, alchemical fusion of hardcore, prog metal, and grindcore, the style coalesced in the 1990s as a vicious reflection of the decade’s pre-millennium anxieties. It was, and remains, a wholly singular branch of […]

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Out of all the subgenres of metal, mathcore has the most to tell us about our fractured present and intimidating future. A violent, alchemical fusion of hardcore, prog metal, and grindcore, the style coalesced in the 1990s as a vicious reflection of the decade’s pre-millennium anxieties. It was, and remains, a wholly singular branch of music, one that could only have been born in a decade infamously labeled as “the end of history.”

If anything, mathcore’s relevance has only deepened with time. Today’s crop of bands, born in a fractured, digitized world, have retained this ruthless sense of future-consciousness. Mathcore’s deconstructive approach makes it intrinsically opposed to retro tendencies or backward-looking imitation. The current generation takes the subgenre’s explosive energy and free-form creativity deeply seriously, imbuing it with fresh perspectives and ultra-contemporary formal experimentation.

Read more: 25 best albums of 2023 so far

Of course, the specters of seminal acts like the Dillinger Escape Plan, Botch, and Converge loom large. This new crop is aware of their presence, but refuses to be overpowered by their distinctive shadows. Rather, they are opting to erase the stylistic choices of their forebears that haven’t aged quite so well. These bands are more emotionally open and moralistic than many of the subgenre’s nihilistic foundational texts, making for a refreshing, humanistic outlook amid the carnage.

The following list is far from exhaustive, but aims to provide a wide-reaching entry point for those who are new to the genre or are simply intrigued as to the state of its current health. These bands show off mathcore’s remarkably unburdened approach to heavy music, its slippery genre fusions, and aforementioned newfound sense of humanity. This is the sound of the present’s anxieties and the future’s electrifying possibilities.

The Callous Daoboys

The Callous Daoboys’ scintillating 2022 LP, Celebrity Therapist, whipped mathcore fans into a bit of a frenzy. The Atlanta band’s sophomore full-length received rave reviews and garnered comparisons to the legendary the Dillinger Escape Plan. While there are some inherent similarities, the Callous Daoboys possess their own distinct energy. Celebrity Therapist’s eight hefty tracks are lumbering, swaggering beasts, methodically bulldozing through their runtimes rather than fleet-footedly hurtling like their ultra-kinetic influences. The album (along with the six-piece’s raw debut Die On Mars) has placed the Callous Daoboys firmly within the upper echelons of the modern mathcore scene.

Pupil Slicer

One of the many bands who arrived seemingly fully formed in the immediate post-lockdown period, London’s Pupil Slicer are as savage and confrontational as their grisly moniker. The trio’s whiplash 2021 debut, Mirrors, heralded the arrival of a major force in mathcore. Mirrors’ personal lyrics, written by vocalist/guitarist Katie Davies, cut uniquely deep. However, their latest full-length, Blossom (released at the start of June), takes Pupil Slicer into the conceptual cosmos. Weaving a compelling sci-fi/horror narrative, the album’s prog ambitions and razor-sharp heaviness marry up beautifully and make for one of the finest extreme-metal albums you’ll hear in 2023.


156/Silence’s Narrative was one of last year’s most underrated metal releases — a mean, bludgeoning, and atmospheric collection of technical metal. The young Pittsburgh mob channel the dark, downtuned noughties strain of math metal employed by Gaza and Burnt By The Sun, imbued with an emotional despair that feels wholly modern and unique. Mathcore’s not always been the most emotionally transparent genre, but on monstrous cuts like “A Past Embrace” and “Live To See A Darker Day,” 156/Silence’s hallowed fervor feels as visceral as an open wound.


On the subject of emotions-as-wounds — SeeYouSpaceCowboy are the current masters of using mathcore to give shape to their pained, angry scars. The San Diego band’s expressive energy has seen them lumbered with the tag “sasscore” — a nebulous subgenre that does SSYS something of a disservice. There’s a flippant quality to the sasscore aesthetic that fails to reflect the raw honesty channeled by SSYS and their vocalist Connie Sgarbossa. The band’s fusion of mathcore and post-hardcore draws on the past (check out their intensely noughties track titles) but also champions ultra-contemporary causes related to identity and representation. A thrilling and vital band.


The brainchild of former the Dillinger Escape Plan drummer Billy Rymer, Thoughtcrimes’ stellar 2022 debut album, Altered Pasts, serves as a natural extension of TDEP’s formidable legacy. Along with Rymer’s virtuoso drumming, the band’s ruthless power and unpredictable creativity pick up where their parent band left off, while also flexing some of its own muscles. Beyond the inherent similarities to TDEP (vocalist Rick Pepa’s unhinged scream is a dead ringer for Greg Puciato), spacey tracks like “New Infinities” and “Lunar Waves” blast Thoughtcrimes off into engrossing new directions and promise a very bright future for the band. 


Thoughtcrimes’ Pure Noise Records labelmates Chamber lean especially hard into mathcore’s “core” suffix. The Nashville act craft contemporary heavy hardcore as if it was fed into a short-circuiting, malevolent computer. Their electrifying latest, A Love To Kill For, built on stellar previous releases Cost of Sacrifice and Ripping / Pulling / Tearing while serving up an even more formidable dose of calculated heaviness. The four-piece’s brevity and groove means that, unlike more expansive mathcore bands that lean toward prog and alternative metal, Chamber remain maniacally committed to cathartic, teeth-gritted aggression. Their precise technical ferocity is a thing to behold.

Death Goals

Like the aforementioned SeeYouSpaceCowboy, London’s Death Goals use mathcore’s expressionist aggression to champion LGBT rights and other progressive causes. The duo’s sound crosses over into chaotic hardcore and queercore, but never strays far from mathcore’s trademark chaos and dissonance. As evidenced on whirlwind latest A Garden of Dead Flowers, Death Goals’ aren’t concerned with technical flair, instead drawing their thrills from a deep well sense of feeling. Vocalist Harry Bailey’s scream is as harrowing as it is riveting, and the band’s lyrics attacking homophobia and the trappings of masculinity resonate with visceral anger. 

Johnny Booth

An accomplished and rousing contemporary mathcore band, Johnny Booth were actually born more than a decade ago. Their debut full-length, Connections, was released in 2012, but the band went quiet until 2019’s terrific Firsthand Accounts. There’s more than a touch of early Architects (if you haven’t, check out their 2008 mathcore masterclass Hollow Crown) about the Long Islanders’ bludgeoning sonics, while Andrew Herman’s screams frequently echo the commanding charisma of the Chariot’s Josh Scogin. If these reference points don’t make clear — Johnny Booth have all the ingredients to become a major force in the genre. Here’s hoping they don’t return to sleep any time soon.


There’s a strong argument to be made that Frontierer are the heaviest band in the world. The Transatlantic band’s monolithic sound is oppressive, challenging, and bafflingly unique. Their low-end guitars fuse with rapid-fire drums like an alien-crafted alloy, one that’s decorated with maniacal screams and guitar effects that bleep and jitter in a robotic language. Building on the work of experimental mathcore acts like Car Bomb and Ion Dissonance, each of the Scottish/American five-piece’s three albums are jaw-dropping creations. Their discography is the definition of forward-thinking heavy music and deserves to be embraced, provided you’re able to tune into Frontierer’s uncompromising wavelength.


If their creepy artwork and EP titles such as Dollmeat and Pig don’t already make clear, MouthBreather play an especially nasty brand of mathcore. The transgressive approach of the Boston four-piece feels genuinely unhinged. You get the sense that something dangerous could happen in their volatile company. The band’s short tracks are leaden with murky guitars, unpredictable structures, and dark atmospherics, journeying down twisted passageways and unexpected trapdoors. Their wild debut full-length, I’m Sorry Mr. Salesman, has cemented MouthBreather as the enfant terribles of the contemporary mathcore scene.

God Mother

God Mother’s math/sludge/noise metal possesses an intensely crystalline quality — like looking at a reflection and being horrified by what stares back. On stellar releases such as their 2022 EP Obeveklig, the Swedish band opt for a production and songwriting approach that’s as cold and incisive as a paring knife. The drums boom with serrating clarity, atop which God Mother clinically lay sharp, abrasive guitars. An absence of additional atmospherics only increases this sensation of being trapped in the presence of God Mother’s formidable personality. Their potent energy makes it plenty worthwhile, though.

Better Lovers

Newly formed supergroup Better Lovers look set to be an essential mathcore band of the foreseeable future. Composed of Greg Puciato (formerly of The Dillinger Escape Plan), three former members of Every Time I Die, and metalcore producer extraordinaire Will Putney, Better Lovers ooze pedigree, confidence, and songwriting chops. Their debut EP, God Made Me An Animal, masterfully blends together most of what made the respective members’ former acts so epochal. Jordan Buckley’s exhilarating riffs provide the foundation for Puciato’s versatile screams, offering incontrovertible evidence that Better Lovers will soon become a force to reckon with on the mathcore scene.

.gif from god

Virginia’s .gif from god are among this list’s most fiercely contemporary mathcore acts. The latest in a rich lineage of screamo and experimental heaviness from their home state, the six-piece collective make music that’s as confrontational and open-minded as the intersectional causes they proudly support. Their sound (best encapsulated by manic 2019 debut approximation_of_a_human) is full of angular corners, explosive interruptions, and unstable energy. The lyrics reflect our myriad current socio-political woes, which are reflected (or perhaps combatted) by the warped and belligerently heavy music. A challenging band whose raw approach won’t be for everyone, .gif from god’s humanist morality deserves immense respect.

Black Matter Device

We’ve reached the most batshit-crazy act on our list. Many bands on this list are challenging in their own ways. However, Black Matter Device conjure up whole new levels of insanity. The four-piece craft demented mathcore madness — as comparable to noughties carnage merchants The Sawtooth Grin as they are dissonant cult shredders Psyopus. Their 2022 full-length, Autonomous Weapons, is a record that needs to be heard to be believed. Its 14 tracks are as uncompromising as this genre gets. The collection never imposes its weight or stature, instead relying on intense tempos and cacophonous unpredictability. It’s as colorful and volatile as its album cover, and provides a mind-expanding example of heavy music at its most ambitious and unhinged.


Hailing from the fertile hardcore scene of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, the young, exhilarating prospect Sleepsculptor fuse 156/Silence’s doomy angst with Chamber’s ferocious technical precision. April saw the band release their second album Divine Recalibration — a barnstorming exercise in downtuned, raucous modern mathcore. A sense of despair underlies the unpredictable vocals of frontman Florent Curatola, imbuing Divine Recalibration’s musical havoc with a notable sense of heft and pathos. Jump on the Sleepsculptor hype train now, as this is cutting-edge mathcore at its most compelling and exhilarating.


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