If you thought these 10 metal subgenres needed serious explaining, then you’re in for a treat when you read up on these hardcore and scene subgenres.
While there are some very credible bands on this list—Dillinger Escape Plan, Periphery, Veil of Maya—it’s also rife with novelty, hilarity and even disappointment. Who ever thought that hardcore music would come to this?
Bands to know: Attack Attack!, Abandon All Ships, (early) Asking Alexandria
Picture a crab. There, you’ve got it! There is essentially no defining musical characteristic that makes crabcore different from any other type of metalcore; it’s all about the posturing. When they perform, the band members get down really low and the bend in their knees is reminiscent of crab legs. Attack Attack! is the most notable band and is cited by many as the originator of this particular subgenre. Watch the music video for “Stick Stickly” below to get a good long look at crabcore.
Bands to know: Drop Dead, Gorgeous; Black Veil Brides; Eighteen Visions
Fashioncore actually isn’t really a subgenre of hardcore at all. It was coined as an insult to hardcore kids who started caring more about how they dyed their hair than the actual music. These are people who supposedly show up to live sets just to be seen. Remember, original hardcore is very street-tough and straightforward—not about fashion at all.
Bands to know: Horse the Band, Minibosses, NESkimos
Nintendo is the forefather of modern gaming. Everyone remembers the first time they played Nintendo. In fact, it means so much to so many people that the nostalgia alone was enough to compel some musicians to create Nintendocore. This subgenre literally sounds like a bunch of scene kids got lost inside a Mario game.
Bands to know: BrokenCYDE, Blood On The Dancefloor, 3OH!3
Crunkcore is a subgenre that is extremely easy to ridicule, but that’s kind of the point. Crunkcore artists don’t take themselves seriously, and no one else should, either. Think of BrokenCYDE, Blood On The Dancefloor, 3OH!3, and Eskimo Callboy. It’s neon tees, way too much hairspray and cow costumes combined with elements of hip-hop, dance, hardcore and screamo.
Bands to know: Meshuggah, Periphery, Veil of Maya
When this subgenre term first surfaced, I admit that I had no idea what it meant. But don’t think of it as a word—think of it as a sound. It’s probably more helpful to pretend there is no “e”: djnt. Say it out loud. Sounds like one downstroke on the electric guitar, right? That’s the sound that defines this subgenre. Bands such as Periphery and Veil of Maya are well known for including lots of djenty guitars in their songs.
Bands to know: Atari Teenage Riot, Lolita Storm, The Mad Capsule Markets
In a nutshell, digital hardcore is a strange combination of house music and hardcore, almost grindcore music. The rhythms and instrumentation are super heavy, but the overall sound is very spacey, electronic and noisey. Its originator, Atari Teenage Riot, not only defined the genre but named it. Frontman Alec Empire set out to create a new genre and did it, practically as if he were filling out paperwork.
Bands to know: Insane Clown Posse, Twiztid, Mushroomhead
Horrorcore is technically more of a subgenre of hip-hop than anything else. Horrorcore songs are comprised of rap and exceptionally dark and even violent lyrics. Its biggest proponent is Insane Clown Posse. The A.V. Club goes so far as to define horrorcore as “a turn-of-the-millennium cultural misstep, directly adjacent to rap metal and tribal tattoos.” So if you like this genre...sorry.
Bands to know: Youth of Today, Shelter, 108
No, really. Krishnacore is a subgenre of hardcore and punk that is extremely austere in its ethics. It takes straightedge to a whole new level. This subgenre hinges on the concept of enlightenment, based on ideas laid out by the Hare Krishnas. Basically, it’s the combination of two opposing subcultures: hippies and punks. Take a listen to bands like Shelter or 108.
Bands to know: Four Year Strong, Set Your Goals, Chunk! No, Captain Chunk
When I first heard about this subgenre, I was immediately confused. Hardcore is anything but easy-listening. Hardcore is abrasive and full of spitfire attitude. But the incredibly successful scene YouTuber Jared Dines cleared it up pretty quickly. Easycore is hardcore music that has been entirely written in major key (think Four Year Strong). It’s got the hardcore aesthetic, but the mood and the tone are happy-go-lucky.
Bands to know: Dillinger Escape Plan, Botch, Ion Dissonance
Mathcore is almost indistinguishable from progressive metal. These are subgenres that focus on highly technical musicianship. Mathcore songs switch rhythmic patterns several times at the drop of a hat and rely on the use of scales and dissonant sounds. Botch, Ion Dissonance and Dillinger Escape Plan are often cited as mathcore bands.