big four metalcore

I’ve learned forever ago that you should never ever take anything written by Metalsucks/Stuff You Will Hate contributor Sargent D at face value, but his recent posting “Who are TEH BIG FOUR OF METALCORE??” has evidently stirred some serious discussion regarding which bands will take the informal crowning as The Big Four of Metalcore.

Obviously, Sarge’s picks — 18 Visions, Throwdown, Bleeding Through, and Poison The Well — were very tongue in cheek. Leave it to us, a bunch of IMNs, to take his proposed question seriously. Here’s my idea of a working Big Four of Metalcore:

Killswitch Engage


This one’s obvious. Few modern metal bands have attained the heights of popularity that Killswitch Engage have managed to reach. Their albums Alive Or Just Breathing and The End of Heartache were very influential to not just my early bridge into metal, but for metalcore itself. It also helps that the music hasn’t been half bad since then.



Ascendancy may just be one of my favorite albums of all time. They’ve had a few missteps — The Crusade and Vengeance Falls in particular — but overall, Trivium have never really gotten all that bad. Ascendancy and Shogun are genre classics, and they brought a thrashy edge to a genre that was otherwise packed with bands aping In Flames and At The Gates.

All That Remains


This one will be controversial considering their godawful recent output, but The Fall Of Ideals, just like Ascendancy, is seriously one of the best melodic metalcore records ever. It was packed with hooks without being outright cringeworthy, and ‘The Weak Willed’ pushed the whole deathcore sound before the trend caught on. They’re definitely more popular now at the cost of their critical acclaim, which puts them at a mighty position for being the Metallica of this list, and not in a good way.

As I Lay Dying


As I Lay Dying are probably the most consistent band on this list as far as quality goes. Every As I Lay Dying record has been great, holding up to repeated listens. Even as a band I was never that huge on, their influence and power in the genre is undeniable. They’ve been a bit “tied up” lately, with their future hanging in the balance, but that doesn’t negate all the incredible music they’ve put out.

What do you think? Tell us your list of metalcore’s “Big Four” in the comments section below.

– JR


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