Last week, Invisible Oranges made a very good case for the death of deathcore citing the absolute disasters that Suicide Silence and Emmure put out this year, the diminishing commercial success of the genre, and the disappointing follow-ups of some of the genre’s most promising acts. To be clear, there is no defending Suicide Silence and Emmure, but there is more to deathcore’s story to be told in 2017 and beyond.
Deathcore was a promising genre during its humble beginnings. In the early 2000s, the genre was just starting to build a reputation, but its crucial development and underground status was interrupted by a huge surge in popularity around 2005 with Job For A Cowboy’s Doom along with other early classics from Despised Icon, Through The Eyes of The Dead, and The Red Chord. The following years produced some of the genres most notorious and commercially successful releases. Deathcore became a major player in the metal world seemingly overnight. This momentum that deathcore experienced was influenced significantly by the huge mainstream appeal of melodic metalcore as well other punk and metal based pop acts of this era. It even started to incorporate elements of these more popular genres. It was deathcore’s chance to make it big. All this new, underground, cutting-edge music had to do was to sacrifice a little of its danger and grit in exchange for being the next big thing! What could go wrong?
Sadly, deathcore suffered the same fate as hair metal, grunge (if one can even call it grunge anymore), and nu metal before it. It got too big too fast, the public got sick of it, the genre’s innovators never followed through on their true potential, and underground fans, feeling betrayed, abandoned it. Now, after the fallout, it’s perfectly clear what went wrong. The genre became a gimmick. However, this doesn’t mean deathcore is “dead” today.
Suicide Silence and Emmure represent the wave of bands who noticed the trend and pushed to make deathcore into pop. These are not founders of the genre; these are bands who wanted to cash in on the building momentum of the genre. Their failures today don’t represent the downfall of the genre but the unsustainable nature of any such short-lived trend. Being two of the most commercially successful bands of that trend, this pitiable pair of bands is still around desperately trying to revive the gold mine like Bon Jovi in the 90s. Many other deathcore acts on the trendy side have stopped putting out consistent material or have quit altogether.
In the dust of that fallen craze, a small select few have chosen to ignore the fact that deathcore was an abominable fad for a few years and instead chosen to continue to release quality deathcore. To find hope in good deathcore acts that still draw a considerable audience, look to Fit For An Autopsy, Within the Ruins, and Aversions Crown this year. The real problem that deathcore faces is not that two old hacks have lost their salesmanship; its that this small pocket of quality bands can’t guarantee another healthy decade for deathcore. Sadly, at the end of the day, Invisible Oranges is still mostly right: deathcore has to win back underground fans with interesting experiments and relevant material if it hopes to survive and this doesn’t seem to be happening as of today.
There is a different way to look at this, though. Anyone who grew up in the 2000s will certainly have a little pain in their heart letting deathcore go if not for a true admiration of the genre then simply for the existential dread that comes with passing trends of one’s childhood. For those who have that sort of feeling: fret not! The truth is that genres aren’t built to last and they all “die” eventually. However, genres never die with the people who love them. Genres die when no one is talking about them. Every year, Rolling Stone or some equally terrible publication declares the death of rock and yet blogs like this still exist and thrive. Music never dies as long as we still talk about it and remember it. So check out 2017’s deathcore classics mentioned above alongside the classics of last decade with us. We won’t forget it anytime soon.