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Cuchulainn's Random Tangent Volume I

Recently I've decided to use this as a forum to vent my frustrations inside and outside the metal genre, but all of them have to do with metal in one way or another. These will have absolutely zero structure whatsoever and I will give you, the reader, my take on each one of these issues. Like them or not, I'd love to discuss each of these issues with you in our forum.

American Metalcore

When I first joined Harm, I was very new to metal. I thought American metalcore was great. I used it as a bridge to get into metal like so many people did in that era. The incorporation of hardcore into metal was something fresh to me, something that was done extremely well by certain bands like Chimaira (circa "The Impossibility of Reason"), Killswitch Engage (circa "The End of Heartache"), Shadows Fall (circa "The War Within"), Unearth (circa "The Oncoming Storm"), Trivium (circa "Ascendency"), All That Remains (circa "This Darkened Heart"), and even Atreyu (circa "The Curse"). The time was 2003-2004 and these albums struck me as some of the most aggressive albums I had heard with a twist of loss, despair, and confusion. The truth of the matter was at this time I had just broken up with my fiancee at the time so these albums really helped me personally deal with that (and yes, I know that's like halfway emo and even thinking about that kinda makes me nauseas). Regardless, looking back, those were some great albums. I would view this as metalcore's peak for a number of reasons.

So what the hell happened to these bands (FYI, I'm giving Unearth and All That Remains a pass from further discussion because they are the only ones who still make good records)? Fueled by the success of "The End Of Heartache", Killswitch Engage toured like crazy and then in 2006 released "As Daylight Dies" which in a word compared to "The End of Heartache" was atrocious. Shadows Fall released one more record on Century Media which was "Fallout from the War" which didn't hold a candle to "The War Within" or even "Art of Balance" for that matter then decided it'd be a good idea to cash in on their more mainstream success by joining the ranks of Atlantic Records for "Threads of Life" which once again I found to be a piss poor performance. Chimaira released a decent album in their self-titled album in 2006 and then "Resurrection" in 2007 which marked a notable decline for the band in my opinion. Also, Mark Hunter at some point decided he was a rock star and became a complete asshole. I met him at a show before all the success of "The Imposibility of Reason" and he was a really cool dude. Ran into him again after "Chimaira" was released and let's just say he wasn't the most pleasant person I've ever met in metal. I've heard many reports validating that experience as well. Speaking of starting to believe your own hype, I think Trivium and Matt Heafy is probably the most blatant example of that. "Ascendency" had balls, that's why I liked it. Trivium's next record "The Crusade" was the most over-the-top wanna-be Metallica record I've ever heard. Completely ridiculous in my opinion. Atreyu releases "The Curse" which is a great record in my opinion and then "Deathgrip on Yesterday" which was so-so. With that record, Atreyu put it's old-school fans on notice that they were about to venture down the emo route of selling out and gaining legions of teeny bopper fans with following releases. And they, of course, came through with one of the worst records of 2007 entitled "Lead Sails Paper Anchor".

Not only did these bands basically abandon the fans that got them in a position to sell-out in the first place, but they also inadvertantly spawned hundreds of shitty clone bands looking to cash in on the latest craze. So bam, overnight there are a ton of bands that sound exactly like one another and ironically enough each one of them want nothing to do with the metalcore tag. "I don't think of our band as being a part of any label. I think our music is unique in its own way." Yeah, OK. So all the sudden metalcore goes from being unique and different from the rest of the genre to the most oversaturated, repetitive genre in music other than rap.

So what does this all mean? Well, to me personally, it means I don't like metalcore at all anymore. As soon as a band contacts me to be on this site and says they are metalcore, I delete the email. Chances are they won't be around in a year anyway, so why bother? Metalcore has no substance anymore and hasn't for quite a long time. To me, metalcore has become a cuss word in the church of metal. For you metalcore fans out there I dare you to tell me any band in the genre that doesn't sound exactly like one of the bands above. And I test you to find me a metalcore band that actually offers a unique sound. I won't hold my breath.

(Please note: European metalcore is quite a different story, at least those bands don't sound like everyone else.)

April 19, 2008
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