Deathcore was a defining force of the 2000s metal scene. While polarizing at the time, it’s gained more respect in recent years through a new era of the genre. Still, the origins of the genre were filled with great releases that stand strong over a decade later.
While bands used to fight against metal elitists who claimed the music was bad at the first indication of a breakdown, they powered through to do what they enjoyed. Between 2000 and 2009, the foundation of deathcore melding death metal and hardcore was laid down and shaped into something new.
Looking back at that era, there are bands who stuck around and became mainstays. Others disappeared along with Myspace, one of the driving forces in deathcore’s development. Take a look below at 30 defining albums in deathcore’s first proper decade of existence.
All Shall Perish – The Price Of Existence
As one of the earliest pioneering bands within deathcore, All Shall Perish slugged it out and established their own unique sound, which finally came to fruition on their sophomore album. The Price Of Existence marked the band’s beginning with Eddie Hermida on vocals. They found their sound by giving death metal that core touch, with an abundance of breakdowns, gang vocals and an inability to let up on the aggression.
Animosity – Animal
When Animosity began, the members were still teenagers but showed promising skills, landing them a chance to show what they’re worth. Animal was the ultimate payoff. The record was the band’s last before breaking up, but it displayed their capability to mesh thrash metal and hardcore-punk influences with death metal in a succinct way. Laced with intricate breakdowns, the album is a blistering assault from beginning to end, with perfect tones that rival even the best records coming from the genre today.
Annotations Of An Autopsy – Before The Throne Of Infection
Annotations Of An Autopsy took to the brutal death-metal side of deathcore’s origins with an abundance of pig squeals and gurgly gutturals that have become more prevalent today. When releasing Before The Throne Of Infection in 2008, their approach was less common but is a perfect example of how deathcore achieves low-and-slow brutality to rattle a speaker’s bass response. Speed and blasts of aggression are prevalent here, but midtempo chugging moments are where this band really shine.
Arsonists Get All The Girls – The Game Of Life
Arsonists Get All The Girls were an entirely different breed of band. While rooted in deathcore, their sound expanded into mathcore, grind and more, giving them a truly unique tone. The Game Of Life is constantly changing gears, finding new ways to throw listeners off and mixing oddities of melody, noise and off-kilter riffs while falling back on deathcore breakdowns to reel you back in.
As Blood Runs Black – Allegiance
Just like so many metalcore bands of the early 2000s, As Blood Runs Black drew massive influence from ’90s melodic death metal, but they did so with a harsher approach. Allegiance brings nasty machine precision in breakdowns, slows them down and bashes listeners over the head again with a heavier moment. Gang vocals highlight the core elements in their sound perfectly, too. Though the specific use of them on this and many other early deathcore albums is mostly lost today, it worked spectacularly.
Born Of Osiris – The New Reign
The early days of Born Of Osiris’ career saw them transition through numerous sounds for years until settling into what they do now on The New Reign. Numerous name and stylistic changes later, they found what works: a technical deathcore approach they launched into on this release with punchy, machine-like instrumentation. Groove-oriented breakdowns were in abundance, raspy gutturals cut through melodies to produce a harsh tone and early signs of the progressive-metal tinge they’ve adopted now were present, showing what they would become.
The Breathing Process – In Waking: Divinity
Taking after the symphonic and melodic death-metal influences popularized in the early 2000s Myspace scene, the Breathing Process struck gold with In Waking: Divinity. The record finds a darker take on melody. Assaults of churning blast beats are intertwined with chugging beatdowns and ominous keyboards containing a black-metal touch that coats their sound.
Bring Me The Horizon – Count Your Blessings
Long before Bring Me The Horizon became the cleaned-up alt-rock version of themselves most people know today, they had a footing in deathcore’s creation. Count Your Blessings is a far cry from what they are now, with Oli Sykes employing guttural vocals and the band doing a seamless job in cranking out a fresh take of brutal music. Like they’ve done with metalcore, electronic and more now, the band crafted a sound others instantly took to and then switched gears immediately.
Carnifex – Dead In My Arms
Carnifex are established now as one of the hallmarks of the genre. They came right out of the gate with an instant classic on Dead In My Arms. Songs such as “Lie To My Face” or “Slit Wrist Savior” are staples of their discography and deathcore as a whole, containing those classic pinch harmonic-filled blasts of aggression, drop-tuned grooves and some of the nastiest guttural vocals one could imagine. The band only improved from their debut, but it stands as one of the best deathcore albums ever released.
Despised Icon – The Ills Of Modern Man
Despised Icon are renowned as one of the first-ever deathcore bands, establishing what it meant before there even was a movement. The band leaned hard into brutal death-metal influences, popularized pig-squeal vocals and are actively raising the bar for extremity and technicality in deathcore. The Ills Of Modern Man marked a new high for the band as they finally settled into their sound, using their dual-vocalist approach to its full potential and finding the perfect middle ground between their hardcore and death-metal influences.
Dr. Acula – Below Me
If their name doesn’t make it clear enough, Dr. Acula began as a joke band who mocked the trends of the day. Regardless, they achieved a really great sound. Below Me never hits a serious tone, but it works to the band’s advantage by poking fun at metal’s stone-faced fanbase while producing some amazing riffs. It’s experimental in nature, has some standout songs and riffs and perfectly captures the disparity between the core scenes of the 2000s and the rest of the heavy music world.
Elysia – Masochist
Beginning the band as teenagers, Elysia were years ahead of where they should have been with the capabilities they showed on Masochist. The album is intricate while also laying down raspy, pummeling hardcore beatdowns between technicality. The record is a prime example of the golden era of deathcore, with youthful energy and a drive to push deathcore into prominence without consideration for what doubtful people would say.
Emmure – Felony
Deathcore always had an element of influence from rap and nü metal, but it wasn’t quite as overt as it is now before Emmure came around. Frankie Palmeri’s vocal style became increasingly rap-oriented on Felony, solidifying the style for the 2010s wave of bands to use as a blueprint. This sound and approach surely pissed off many metal elitists who already hated deathcore, but it fueled growth in the genre and opened the door into metal for so many, just like Limp Bizkit and Korn did in the ’90s.
Glass Casket – We Are Gathered Here Today…
Deathcore naysayers who criticize the genre for simplicity will have to eat their words when listening to Glass Casket. The band’s technical prowess brought dizzying riffs and constant tempo changes. This isn’t too surprising knowing members of Between The Buried And Me led the group, but their sound remained rooted in deathcore breakdowns. We Are Gathered Here Today… may have arrived in 2004, but it still sounds fresh.
Here Comes The Kraken – Here Comes The Kraken
Deathcore on paper is simplistic in nature due to its prime characteristic: chugging breakdowns. But bands such as Here Comes The Kraken show it can be a genre of all-out technical prowess, too. The band members all performed at an exceptionally high skill level, and blazing flurries of shredding are in abundance across their self-titled record. The Mexican group never seem to slow down on the record, even when laying down a skull-crushing assault of chugging mosh riffs.
I Declare War – Amidst The Bloodshed
By the time I Declare War released their sophomore album, big names in the subgenre were preparing their debut full-lengths, with many of them finding rapid success. With others taking the spotlight, the band didn’t quite get proper attention. Amidst The Bloodshed showed the depths of brutality that were possible within deathcore. Vocalist Jonathan Huber had the gurgling, swamp-monster style that’s common with more extreme subsects of death metal and marked an early sign of what the lesser-known side of the movement would fall back on.
Impending Doom – The Serpent Servant
Death metal and its many subgenres are the furthest things one would associate with Christianity. Yet, Impending Doom proved it was possible to mix them together. The Serpent Servant is as brutal as any of their competitors at the time. The ominous, doomy tone of the album served the dark lyricism well in a polar opposite way of how religion has historically been discussed within metal.
iwrestledabearonce – It’s All Happening
While iwrestledabearonce are hard to define in their sound, they firmly hold on to a deathcore label, particularly on their debut album and self-titled EP. It’s All Happening sounds like a deathcore coloring book where drawing inside the lines was discouraged, leading to wacky samples, clean jazzy breaks, elements of grindcore and more mashed into the genre’s typical tropes.
Job For A Cowboy – Doom
The origins of deathcore and its ascension to popularity can’t be addressed without mentioning the influence of Job For A Cowboy’s Doom EP. A song such as “Entombment Of A Machine” is a snapshot of exactly what deathcore was in its beginnings. The shrieking pig squeal in the track’s first minute is what hooks you. Moments like that became the cherry-on-top approach many bands took to make a song memorable beyond blast beats and slow grooves.
Knights Of The Abyss – Juggernaut
Knights Of The Abyss were born after original Job For A Cowboy drummer Andy Rysdam left the group. The group carried on the deathcore approach of that band’s early days. They solidified their sound through demos until releasing their debut record, which stands as a strong example of the midrange hardcore influence deathcore bred into death metal in its earliest days. There’s plenty of fast-paced action on the record, but it’s balanced out well with breakdowns and a strong vocal range.
Molotov Solution – The Harbinger
Molotov Solution found their footing in deathcore by ditching pure speed and aggression for a mix that included more groove elements and straight-to-the-point chugging breakdowns. The tones on The Harbinger call back to the European death-metal scene in the vein of acts such as Grave or At The Gates but with a modern approach that incorporated the key elements of deathcore established toward the end of the decade.
Oceano – Depths
Oceano originally leaned more toward the machine-gun speed and intensity of grindcore before releasing their debut record. However, Depths saw them employ a sludgy groove, which helped them step up their game. The record has melodic elements sparsely laced throughout to make the intensity stand out through drop-tuned beatdowns and an incredible vocal range.
The Red Chord – Clients
Along with other early pioneers of deathcore, the Red Chord spectacularly meshed technical death-metal chops with a hardcore band’s approach. Clients lands somewhere between bands such as Dying Fetus and Sick Of It All. There are some punk moments colliding with technical shredding, all coated in a thick layer of extreme aggression.
Rose Funeral – The Resting Sonata
By the time deathcore’s earliest bands established themselves, multitudes of acts came around to bash out similar sounds while finding their own tone and approach. Rose Funeral took to the aggressive yet melodic sound of bands such as the Black Dahlia Murder but steeped themselves in sludgy, down-low breakdowns. The Resting Sonata offered constant barrages of neck-snapping grooves to balance out the speed.
Salt The Wound – Carnal Repercussions
Salt The Wound showed immense promise in their time together. While they never truly achieved a high level of popularity, Carnal Repercussions is a deathcore masterpiece. Its excellent blend of melodic, death-metal prowess, beefy breakdowns and pig-squeal gutturals captures everything that early deathcore releases strived for.
Suicide Silence – The Cleansing
Suicide Silence’s rise to prominence began with their massive breakthrough on The Cleansing and established deathcore as a dominant movement. Songs such as “Unanswered” or “No Pity For A Coward” are staples, influencing countless others to launch their own bands. They still stand as some of the best songs they’ve ever produced.
Through The Eyes Of The Dead – Bloodlust
Through The Eyes Of The Dead struck a middle ground between the harsh melodic death-metal influence that dominated the early 2000s metal scene and creating something new with Bloodlust. The record has melody in its riffs but never relents in its goal to constantly be aggressive. Finding a place between hardcore breakdowns and death metal’s pure-speed style, the album contains all the elements commonly found today. However, it was brought forth in a different way that sounds like a product of its time.
Veil Of Maya – The Common Man’s Collapse
Veil Of Maya have shifted their focus to a more progressive, djent sound as they developed their discography. With The Common Man’s Collapse, they were still flirting with a more straightforward deathcore approach. Even before evolving into what they are now, Veil Of Maya showed great potential with punchy, technical riffs and an ability to craft melodies that didn’t drag down any of the heaviness. Their sophomore release is a prime example of where they were heading and how progressive metal would develop across the 2010s.
Whitechapel – This Is Exile
While Whitechapel showed immense brutality on their debut record, The Somatic Defilement, their sophomore album proved they had the skills and the ability to improve their sound. This Is Exile displayed a more technical, cohesive group who could move beyond simplistic beatdowns into an organized structure by using every member’s skills to their full potential. On this album, Whitechapel transformed from being another run-of-the-mill deathcore band to frontrunners. To this day, fans look to this record as their landmark.
Winds Of Plague – Decimate The Weak
Like Bleeding Through did in metalcore, Winds Of Plague were early adopters of incorporating symphonic elements into deathcore. Newcomers to the genre have found success in doing so today, but without Winds Of Plague, it wouldn’t be such an obvious pairing. Decimate The Weak is a blistering record that kicked this sound off. It leaned hard into midtempo hardcore jams broken up with blast beats, which were coated in ominous melodies through their keyboards and lead guitar work.