Nowadays, when most people hear the word metalcore, they probably think of the heavier bands on Rise Records’ roster (Of Mice & Men, Memphis May Fire etc) but back in the day the word took on a totally different meaning. I am of course referring to the ATTHEGATESCORE era of the early-mid 2000′s (also known as SWEDECORE or GOTHENCORE).
Although this genre has been completely irrelevant for like 7+ years now, some of these bands have been gaining tr00 credibility recently and I could even picture this style making a comeback (like, “ugh metalcore now is like, 70% breakdowns with lame programmed synthesizers, let’s bring it back to when it was like 20% breakdowns at 80% At The Gates riffs”).
As I Lay Dying to me are the best example of this genre. Not only were they one of the key bands in helping to popularize this style, but they were also the first big metalcore band I can recall that had a primarily scene kid fanbase (leading the way for bands such as Parkway Drive, Bring Me the Horizon, and The Devil Wears Prada). If you pause the video at 34 seconds, I feel like it’s a time capsule of mid-2000′s scene fashion: merch design on the side of the shirt, bootcut girl jeans, key chain dangling from his belt. The vocalist has also solidified himself in the Regretcore hall of fame(/shame) for being arrested and tried after hiring a hitman to murder his wife.
Bleeding Through were also one of the leading bands of this movement. To my knowledge, they were the first metalcore band to have a cute female keyboardist, an idea that was later adopted by bands such as Winds of Plague and Abigail Williams. I also like to call these guys and As I Lay Dying “headbangersballcore” because having MTV2 air your video at like 2 AM on that show was considered the benchmark of success for these bands.
This is a band that went completely off the radar. They didn’t have as good production as the bigger bands but they were super ahead of their time. It’s too bad they’ve gone uncredited because I’m not sure I could think of any other bands that were mixing melodeath riffs with mosh parts in 1999, or atleast doing it this well (the riff at the beginning of this song > 99% metalcore riffs IMO). To me, this EP bridges the gap between 90′s Earth Crisis style metalcore and the 2000′s style of metalcore which would eventually get popular, but their later stuff is more straight up ATTHEGATESCORE.
Although they slowly progressed towards a more deathcore sound on their later material (smart career move on their part), Dead To Fall’s earlier material is the epitome of ATTHEGATESCORE. It seems like everyone’s forgotten about this band by now and I’m not even sure if they were that big in the first place which makes this lineup even more weird when I put it in today’s context, but in like 2007, I saw them headline over Stick To Your Guns and Suicide Silence.
Unearth is another band that got big off playing this style. They also had crossover appeal because they garnered some respect from tr00 metalheads due to their ability to shred, but still brought the mosh enough to maintain a metalcore fanbase. To me, 2:04 is the epitome of a mid-2000′s breakdown. I could just picture a 24 year old ex-metalcore kid sitting down with his teenage cousin being like “see Jimmy, this is what breakdowns sounded like back in my day, long before they invented drop-F single note Djent chugs”.
Back then, a band was potentially compromising a chunk of their fan demographic by adding “gay emo singing” to their music but it didn’t seem to hurt It Dies Today because as far as I remember they were pretty popular. Bands like this could be seen as pioneers because “gay clean vocal choruses” would end up becoming part of the standard prototype for Crabcore/Risecore music. I’m not sure I understand the meaning behind the storyline of this music video at all, can someone explain it to me?
I don’t remember much about this band but I remember them being vaguely popular, but had no idea they were big enough to be signed to Metal Blade. This video follows the typical “let’s rebel against our 9 to 5 desk job” plotline. I can imagine the awkward scenario of the screamer dude begging his boss for the job back after the band fell through. I’m glad the days of bands trying to add some sort of story to their music video are over and just play in a vacant parking garage instead.
As you can see, the creativity got pretty limited when coming up with names for bands like this. Unfortunately, unlike If Hope Dies, As Hope Dies never got picked up by a decent label. Their music might have been closer to straight up melodeath but they still brought some heavy mosh. It’s a shame that these guys are so unknown because to me they were top tier ATTHEGATESCORE. Random fact: they actually released a split with From Autumn To Ashes not long after both bands started out and had different names (source).
I remember back when Tribunal Records was a hub for good metalcore (does that label even exist anymore?). This is one of the better albums they put out. This band wasn’t around long enough to make a name for themselves (they were a band for literally like a year and then they broke up a week before this CD was released) but they were sweet as fuck.
Before they adopted Nickelback as their main influence, All That Remains started their careers long ago by playing ATTHEGATESCORE. It’s kind of crazy how big this band is (their last three albums all made top 20 on Billboard) yet I never really hear about them. I’ve always known them as “that metalcore band that was in one of the guitar hero games who are just okay”.
With Dead Hands Rising can be filed under “bands that were kinda vaguely popular and then forgotten about like a month after they broke up”. This is probably one of the most annoyingly filmed music videos ever and it almost gave me a seizure. It keeps changing shots every 1.5 seconds and none of the shots are even good. There is some sweet ninja mosh in this video though, which was a staple in the mid-2000′s scene (I seriously haven’t seen kids dance like that at a show in like 5+ years and it kinda makes me sad that it seems to have died out).
I’m not too sure if I could call them pioneers, but endthisday were definitely one of the first bands I can think of to do this style. They have lots of sweet riffs and mosh parts but their songs are so long (like damn bros, this is metalcore not post-rock). The whole “slow down before the breakdown and do a spoken word part” thing at 2:47 is a staple in this style I feel.
Parkway Drive showed up a bit late to the ATTHEGATESCORE party but that didn’t stop them from getting huge off of it. They have two gold albums in Australia (which in their country that probably means they sold like 5,000 copies but still) and have managed to make it in the US which is hard for an overseas band to do. I remember the first time I ever felt old at a show was seeing them when I was like 20 and everyone else was a like 14-16 year old scene kid. RIP the scene-metalcore era :(
I don’t know why Summer’s End weren’t more popular. They were super tight and had really good recording quality for their time (which is getting butchered by the 240p quality of this video). Borrowing the horror themes and imagery from the Misfits and adding them to modern metalcore seemed like a solid idea. I guess kids just wanted to hear about broken hearts instead.
Darkest Hour is a band that is probably closer to just straight up metal but got pegged as a metalcore band, probably due to them being hardcore kids and having a metalcore fanbase (kinda like The Black Dahlia Murder when they first came out). They were so dedicated to their Swedish influences that they actually flew out to Sweden to record this album with the guy who recorded the holy grail itself “Slaughter of the Soul”.
Did you listen to this type of music when it was popular? Who were your favorite ATTHEGATESCORE bands? Do you think this style will ever make a comeback?