Do metalheads hate metalcore? Do they think it's not actually metal? Those are questions being proposed on Reddit, with fans looking for answers as to why old school metal fans have such a problem with the popular subgenre that has dominated the 21st century.

Over the last 20-25 years, metalcore remains one of the most densely populated and successful subgenres. Having largely broken away from the style that emerged in the early 2000s, many of today's biggest metalcore acts that came up during the 2010s are increasingly gravitating toward unabashed pop melody and other mainstream influences.

But, even back when this scene was still budding, there was growing resentment from fans who prefer traditional metal, thrash and even other extreme forms such as death metal, black metal and grindcore.

What's the fuss all about? Why can't fans accept that these metal subdivisions can all co-exist?

Let's take a look.

Loudwire Merch Store's Bleghs / Breakdowns '24 Campaign product line: T-shirt, magnet, bumper sticker, crop top

The Thread Starter

Reddit user aybekrodoplu kicked off the r/Metalcore thread titled 'Why do metalheads hate metalcore?,' stating:

Some people say the metalcore genre isn't metal, and that's ridiculous. I think there are stupid people who don't want metal to evolve. Like everything in metal, it evolves and gets better. I think the metalcore genre has a very valuable place for metal. Because I think it strengthens and secures the metal from different angles. I'm curious about your thoughts.

The thread has racked up nearly 800 comments and, below, we highlight some of the most popular responses.

The Emo Association? — 600+ Upvotes

emo hair emoji
Adrian Borromeo for Loudwire

One person posits that metalcore's early association with emo music is partially to blame, while a major component of the sound being derived from hardcore points to a dilution of being a purebred heavy metal act.

While both heavy and aggressive, hardcore and metal are not interchangeable.

The Comment:

I think the main reason is that a lot of metalcore bands were associated with emo.

Also it was originally a subgenre of hardcore, so they're correct that a lot of metalcore bands are in fact not metal. But it has evolved much closer to the metal side over the decades.

Some of them just have an imaginary sense of superiority and want to hate things.

The Responses:

Fans weigh the differences between metalcore back in the day — which was more rooted in hardcore — and today, where bands tend to lean more toward the metal side. It's noted that, of course, it depends on each band. However, this has overall been the widely observed trend in metalcore's evolution.

Others place the blame on the clean vocals, which can, at times, sound a bit whiny and more akin to emo and pop-punk.

On the subject of "poppy/clean" vocals, one Reddit user summarizes:

You know how a lot of people say pop punk vocals all sound very similar like they're impersonating Tom [DeLonge] etc about leaving town... I think it's the same for metalcore, especially when a band follows the same formula of always having a clean vocal chorus followed by a breakdown.

Another draws a comparison to punk's influence on thrash, much like hardcore's influence on metalcore — they're both an influence from outside the metal realm. "Shouting also came from punk, but no one in their right mind would ever say thrash isn't real metal," they contend, raising a fair and excellent point.

Metalcore's popularity amongst teenagers amid the skyrocketing success of 2000s emo and pop-punk is suggested to have potentially turned off fans who were a bit older at the time.

READ MORE: Who Invented Metalcore?

The Four-Prong Breakdown — 150+ Upvotes

Is the metalcore 'blegh' dying out?
Mariano Regidor/Stefan Hoederat /Redferns/Getty Images/Canva/

The Comment:

One user, sock_with_a_ticket, lays it out in four bullet points:

  • They view it as hardcore and they don't particularly like hardcore. Not an unjustified view. All of the original metalcore bands and plenty since came out of hardcore scenes and have a lot more in common with hardcore than metal. There's broader cultural differences contained within this too, particularly around moshing styles. A lot of metalheads hate hardcore dancing and advocate for push pits only.
  • They view it as metal-lite that focuses too much on breakdowns instead of solos and riffs.
  • The clean vocals are often viewed as poppy/whiny/emo in style and that's considered negative (have some sympathy with this one myself, there are a lot of metalcore bands whose cleans I find jarring or unsuited to the rest of the music)
  • Resent it's popularity

Demonstrating a sense of semi-neutrality, this person discloses, "I come to metalcore from the hardcore direction. I don't consider authentic metalcore to be metal and I really don't enjoy much 'proper' metal, so I don't care if metalheads dislike metalcore or don't think of it as metal."

It's quite the generous response overall from someone who is rather indifferent!

The Responses:

A lot of the replies went deeper, explaining why there was such a disdain for emos 20 or so years ago. Someone even points out that a lot of metalheads dislike power metal due to the singing style, much like how some are dismissive of metalcore for a similar reason.

Note To Scene logo
Get our free mobile app

Cringe Factor + Overproduced — 140+ upvotes

Recording studio console deck and speakers embedded into the wall
Jupiterimages, The Image Bank/Getty Images

Is metalcore cringey? One self-professed fan believes so and assigns some blame to the pristine production quality that's typical of metalcore recordings.

The Comment:

Metalcore is my favourite genre, but it has plenty of cringe that is the antithesis of what you see in metal. Sometimes there’s a lot of faux emotion and overdramatisation etc. but in my experience most of the hate comes from overproduction.

The Responses:

Many were quick to call out the cringe factor, citing that quite a lot of metal is cringey, especially black metal. power metal, '80s hair metal and battle jackets/patch vests get called out as well.

"Most black metal guys don't think corpse paint is cool," one person argues, taking stock of the diminished use of the imagery in black metal. A handful of the subgenre's early pioneers have abandoned the corpse paint as well.

"I guess what it comes down to [is] what's more cringe to you," Ikora_Rey_Gun says, "Singing about dragons and wizards and quests or how your ex made you sad and going to therapy in a way that's more about wallowing in self-pity than dealing with your problems."

Metalheads Defending Metalcore

NurPhoto, Getty Images
NurPhoto, Getty Images

Rounding out the differences of opinion are some select headbangers who enjoy old school metal, but also find no problem with metalcore.

The Comment:

I'm a metalhead, I like metalcore, I also play in a metalcore band. I was brought up on 80s rock and metal. Iron Maiden, Metallica, Van Halen, Ozzy, Dio etc. to me sub genres don't matter, as long as it's heavy and I like it that's all I'm bothered about.

The Response:

One Reddit user argues that the classic bands aren't all that heavy and is confused who the inverse seems to hold true for some metal fans.

"My uncle thinks Motorhead or Metallica [are] heavier than Spiritbox or [Bullet For My Valentine] and I just don't hear it. That being said the '80s metal bands are iconic and awesome, I just never understood the elitism from a lot of their fans," Lerzycats posts.

It's certainly a point of contention that seems to come up a lot, with fans of different eras having varied ideas on what being "heavy" means.

Elsewhere, one metalcore fan can't understand how metal fans dislike the subgenre at all. In fact, they're turned off by any metal that doesn't have any form of extreme vocal.

More Comments

Read the full thread here.

Of course, there is no one true answer. What it comes down to is metal fans have elitist tendencies and will bicker over any nuance just for the sake of it... which we already knew!

Have fun out there and listen to what you like, whether people think it's "metal" or not.

10 Best Clean Singers in Metalcore

They clean up nice.

Gallery Credit: Jake Richardson

10 Metalcore Bands Who Don't (Or Barely) Use Cleaning Vocals

It's not what you usually think of when you think of metalcore, is it?

Gallery Credit: Jake Richardson

More From Note To Scene