Top 10 Best Metalcore Bands

Who are the best from the new breed of metal artists? Your votes have been counted; see the results here.

Ultimate Guitar

Metalcore might be a newer breed of metal, but it's still as heavy as music gets.

This week we asked Ultimate Guitar readers to nominate and vote for the best metalcore bands of all time.

The resulting list could make your ears sign a petition to turn the volume down, so crank it up and enjoy!

10. All That Remains

In the pre-"Overcome" era, All That Remains were a defining early metalcore act. The lineup has changed somewhat since then, but vocalist Philip Labonte and guitarist Oli Herbert remain.

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9. Atreyu

Fans were devastated when Atreyu split in 2011 after twelve years together. But fear not: they've strongly hinted over the past year they're writing new music "for your ears to bleed to," so all is not lost.

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8. Unearth

Unearth took everything they loved about Pantera, Slayer, Metallica and Earth Crisis, then smashed it into something perfectly cast for the new generation of metalcore.

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7. Times Of Grace

Members of Killswitch Engage (who feature high in this list, as you're about to find out) formed this band when guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz injured his back and wrote a new set of material in hospital. After some time, it took on a life of its own.

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6. As I Lay Dying

What started as a two-piece in 2000, fronted by a then-skinny Tim Lambesis, flew on an upward trajectory and could have been absolutely huge. Problem is, Lambesis was arrested last year for hiring a hit man to kill his wife. Eek.

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5. Parkway Drive

The Australian quintet supported many bigger names, such as the aforementioned As I Lay Dying, and quickly cast themselves as a key figure in the metal core scene. They're still going, and have even released a book about their first 10 years together.

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4. August Burns Red

A self-proclaimed Christian Metalcore band. These guys formed before they were even out of high school, and are on their third vocalist with Jake Luhrs who joined in 2006.

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3. Avenged Sevenfold

So the famous A7X have crossed over into traditional metal now (and if we remember rightly, now lack the modesty not to call themselves the next Metallica), but in their younger days they were pure metal core. It's great that they can explore new sounds, and they're certainly a forced to be reckoned with - even without their prominent founding member "The Rev" who sadly died in 2009.

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2. Trivium

Another act who started out more metal core, but have simmered into something quite distinct. They're true riff masters, as demonstrated with aplomb on their new album "Vengeance Falls."

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1. Killswitch Engage

You voted in your thousands, and the official results are in: Killswitch Engage are the greatest metalcore band of all time!

Formed in 1999 from the ashes of Overcast and Aftershock, Killswitch Engage are commonly cited as one of the founders of the metal core genre. By 2007 they went as far as being nominated for a Grammy, and despite some substantial lineup changes in their time, they're still going strong. Congratulations!

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That's the end of our top 10 metalcore bands of all time. Who's your favorite, and how would you tweak the results? Let us know in the comments.

245 comments sorted by best / new / date

    This is pretty accurate, I think. Of course, UG is full of elitists who don't acknowledge the talent of any metalcore band, regardless of whether they have it or not.
    I think heavy music in general is populated by elitists who won't acknowledge the talent of any metalcore band. I don't believe there's a single metalhead who won't accept the sheer brilliance of the last Unearth record.
    I deny the sheer brilliance of the last Unearth record on the counts that I don't like Unearth.
    Ok, but have you listened to it? All metals albums I find take a min of 5 listens to take it all in and gauge the personal value.
    THIS give this man the medal! Stoked to see PWD on this list... awesome band!
    Way Cool JR.
    The same thing can be said about '80s hair metal, from last weeks question. Lots of great talent but the elitists don't want to acknowledge that. It's pretty sad.
    i think that as you get older you will probably grow out of the metal core scene. as it all starts to sound VERY much the same after a while. i used to be VERY into it up until maybe my mid 20's but being MAYBE one of the older posters on here, i see it as a genre for younger people. i still like heavy music, but I've gone the way of A7X (I don't listen to them much anymore, just that i moved away from metal core) and Trivium.
    In my world, for my generation, metalcore never happened. We wentbright from Megadeth/Slayer to Skeletonwitch and Ghost. Nothing happened in between.
    Have you ever considered the possibility that some people just don't LIKE metalcore? All the drama and assumptions aside, I myself just don't enjoy the genre at all.
    I think the comments like you are speaking of are directed towards the people who come in here trashing Metalcore, and disregard it, stating it has no place and is not real metal. What you are saying is a respectful opinion. I personally do not enjoy much of it, but feel there is some great bands in the Genre.
    I think the list is kinda eh, My list would have included Rise to Remain & Protest the Hero for sure.
    PTH would kick you in the head if they heard you call them metalcore and I'd cheer them on...
    I would argue that Kezia was metalcore, and I'm sure they could see it too. It's my favorite album of all time, but there are definitely metalcore cliches all over it. They've put out three completely not metalcore at all albums since then though, so.
    PTH started out as a Hardcore band, so it's not a massive stretch to say that Kezia is Metalcore.
    Lmfao, you know nothing of PTH. If you don't see that they are so obviously metalcore you know nothing about the genre. Their entire new album is a metalcore record through and through. Just because they don't just use power chords, don't do traditional breakdowns (on the new record, they have in the past) & have advanced licks doesn't make them not metalcore. Your dumb brain is just wired to think metalcore bad, dahhhh, metalcore baaaadddd, deeeeerrrrrppppp. Please kill yourself.
    Derrr. My stupid brain is too stupid to realize that PtH is a Metalcore band. I am going to cock my shotgun and blow my head off because of your advice now.
    Any comment that uses the words "Please kill yourself" I downvote regardless of the rest of the content as a rule. Just saying.
    I realise I sound like an a--hole in that comment above and I'm sorry though quite seriously, Protest The Hero may use some odd time signatures here & there but if you look at the style of riffs that they write they fit right into metalcore. Metalcore is definitely a huge bracket, I'm not saying that they sound like Of Mice & Men but they do not sound like 'progressive metal' they are a bit too jumpy & a lot of there riffs rely on breakdown ryhtyms underneath them. When I say that I am not saying 00000 00000 00, I am referring to them using interesting chords with drums and bass following them while a lead goes over the top in the style of a breakdown.
    Equally though, there are also elitists/fanboys who vehemently defend metalcore bands regardless of their quality. Quite surprised to see that I know of most of these bands, given that the users of this site, particularly the fans of the less mainstream genres, often introduce me to slightly more niche acts in these lists.
    This is the best comment i've ever read on here. It's so true. If people don't like the music, it's talentless garbage to them. It's a shame you can't just talk about music on here without people flaming each other for disliking a band.
    No BTBAM surprised me a bit though, other than that it's a pretty good list.
    That would probably be because BTBAM hasn't had a notable -cre influence for the their last four releases, five if you count the cover album.
    BTBAM is as progressive as it gets. Calling them metalcore is like calling Dream Theater heavy metal, which is insulting.
    A lot of these bands i'd hardly consider metalcore, just modern metal with screaming.
    Isn't that what metalcore is? xD
    No lol. It's metal with hardcore (terror, irate, madball, agnostic front) influence. So Parkway Drive, The Ghost Inside, Unearth, Every Time I Die I would consider metalcore. Bullet For My Valentine and Trivium I would not. (note: I know that most of those bands weren't on the list. It was just an example)
    Avenged Sevenfold stopped being metalcore some time ago, and Trivium have some metalcore elements , most of them on the first album , maybe some on the second , but they've always been more Groove Metal and Thresh ... They are still awesome bands but not really metalcore.
    The Times of Grace album is sooo ****ing good. Without a doubt on my top 5 list.
    Solid list. I would call these "First Wave of Metalcore" bands since most of them helped pioneer the genre and formed in the late 90s and early 2000s. Most of the watered-down metalcore that kids are listening to these days doesn't have much in common with these bands. In my opinion, earlier bands like Killswitch, Unearth, and Trivium are far superior to Memphis May Fire/I See Stars/Issues/etc.
    Exactly. Most bands that would be called "metalcore" now were actually just called "hardcore" back in the mid to late 90's. The word "metal" was a dirty word. It was until bands like the ones on this list started making simpler, catchier versions of their music that "metalcore" was even a term that anyone used.
    Metalcore is watered down now? Funny, I thought the bands from 10 years ago were watered down versions of melodic death metal, like In Flames or At The Gates.
    Thanks to this top 10, Ive discovered Unearth!\m/
    Unearth is fantastic, and its funny "So it Goes" comes on shuffle as I read this
    if you want to merge into the world of 7 string guitars learn their stuff! contrary to the half the tabs on this site for them everything they do is on 7s.
    I'll have to check it out....I've heard of them but never really listened. Having a 7 string, I'm always looking for bands who also use one to learn stuff.
    Architects are the best pound for pound metalcore band in the world today.
    Where's Underoath? possibly the most creative band that has ever been given the "metalcore" label by people. And where's The Devil Wears Prada? Those guys are some of the best in the business. Especially with how open they are to reinventing their style with each record
    Man if I was Oli Herbert of All That Remains, I'd leave the band in a heartbeat. I have yet to hear Oli binary riffing, his style fits prog more. Listen to those ****ing solos, does that sound like even remotely close to metalcore? Their old shit sounds nothing like what people label metalcore these days. To be fair, their new shit is metalcore.
    Best for me is As I lay dying. But there is not Lamb of god. It's so amazing.
    i was hoping Killswitch Engage would win! they are the least offensive of all metalcore to me.
    matteo cubano
    Killswitch as #1? huh. alright.
    That makes...absolutely perfect sense. Ask yourself which band really defined the metalcore genre in the last fifteen years. Killswitch Engage is on the forefront of it and everyone else is generally lagging behind. You can argue that they're not doing things first or best and I will happily and wholeheartedly agree with you, but the fact that they've reached the largest mainstream audience out of any band on this list (and, arguably, any band in the genre) means that they're rightfully #1.
    Misery Signals. It blows me away there is no mention. All the real and joke "definitions" of metalcore on UG fit them (and all their albums) perfectly.
    Misery Signals is amazing, especially Controller and Absent Light. I think people have a hard time describing them as a metalcore band even though they have aspects of metalcore in some of their songs. Additionally, I think they don't get the recognition and credit they deserve. It would be nice to see them mentioned.
    i wouldn't consider misery signals metalcore, at least the 2 albums i like, absent light and controller
    Are Shadows Fall not "metalcore" anymore or something?
    I agree. Atreyu should be replaced by them. And get rid of A7x and maybe Trivium and add Norma Jean and maybe Architects to the list.
    Good list. KSE deserves that spot for sure. Just replace Avenged Sevenfold with one of these: Bullet For My Valentine or The Devil Wears Prada. These two bands have done more in metalcore than A7X.
    All Great Bands! Thanks for showing love to Metalcore this week, UG. No matter how many haterz here on the site resist it, alot of UG members Love Metalcore.
    personally would have thrown caliban on this list in place of times of grace, but otherwise, spot on!
    There's like a million bands whose music is way more exciting in the metalcore genre than the ones on this list. Not a bad list though, just kind of old by now.
    KSE deserves the top spot, Atreyu is shit and Parkway should be higher. Other than that can't argue too much. Check out Phinehas though, they are great and deserve more recognition.
    "metalcore" is an abbreviation of "metallic hardcore". to be a metalcore band you have to be a hardcore band. with metal influence. almost none of the bands listed are hardcore bands, so I don't really see how they made the list. agreed that this list is useless without Converge, also want to cry like a baby over the omission of Shai Hulud and Botch.
    I think of bands like Converge, Shai Halud, Botch, Overcast, DEP, Poison the Well, Zao as creators of the genre before the term "metalcore" existed. That word wasn't really used back then. It wasn't until bands on this list watered-down the genre and made it more accessible to a wider audience that people started calling it "metalcore".
    but it was called metalcore even before the term was coopted by shitty metal bands. and the chronology of it doesn't change the fact that to be a metallic hardcore band (a metalcore band), you first have to be a hardcore band.
    This list is missing key 80's/90's acts. Only 2 or 3 bands really capture hardcore and metal elements.
    Trivium is not at all metalcore. Even Ascendency is clearly thrash metal with traces of death.
    Thank you! Just because a metal band screams doesn't mean they're metalcore -_-
    Parkway 1 atreyu > A7X but at least they picked some good bands. I would be going ****ing mental if i saw asking alexandria or some shit.
    Decent list, but predictable. Like the genre... Surprised to not see Lamb of God anywhere. Figured a lot of people would consider them metalcore. But by the same token, I'm glad bands like Asking Alexandria and I See Stars didn't make it on here.
    Lamb Of God Metalcore??? Name one song where Randy sings, or name one Hardcore breakdown in there music> Jesus titty christ
    Song where Randy sings: Insurrection Song with Hardcore Breakdown: Now you've got something to die for. But apart from that you're right. I would definately not consider them metalcore.
    Laid to rest around 30 ish mark there's a break down saying, "If I could live, I'd trade all the others away blah blah, then it goes CHUG CHUG CHUG." Bitch please metalcore seems to be some descriptor to something shitty these days, and I'd just happen to be you favorite band eh?
    He's butthurt now because he just found out his favorite band has some metalcore influence. I dont get what the big deal is. Just because a band is influenced by metalcore or is primarily a metalcore band doesnt automatically mean they suck. The majority of artists in every genre of music are shit. For every shitty metalcore band out there (Asking Alexandria.....cough), I can find an equally shitty Black metal band.
    I have no problem with any genre, but having influence is different than fitting into a genre.
    When did metalcore have to have singing in it? I do agree though that Lamb Of God is not metalcore though.
    LoG isnt metalcore, thats why you dont see them here. they dont sound like any of the bands that made it into this list. guitar and drum work is MUCH more intricate than any of these bands. Theyre more "groove metal" but would probably make it into a "10 best metal bands of the 2000s" list
    "Guitar and drum work is MUCH more intricate than any of these bands" Dude, you need to scroll back up to the top and listen to the albums up on the list. I recommend The Fall Ideals. Many of those bands have guitar and drum work that is just as intricate if not more intricate than LOG. I'm not trying to hate on LOG either, they are one of my all time favorites.....And yes there is most definitely metalcore influence in LOG's older work. They are primarily a groove metal band now, but if you cant hear the metalcore in their older albums, you need to get your hearing checked out.
    I second this, the guitar work on The Fall of Ideals is absolutely amazing. I like Lamb of god too, but not for the guitar work
    Guitar work? Lol? Have you ever looked at their tabs? Their drummer is excellent though.
    Wow, shitty A7X is on the list, but no Norma Jean, Converge, This or the Apocalypse?
    because a7x unlike most bands have made it into mainstream metal, granted their last album left something to be desired, they are still a powerhouse in terms of the amount of fans, quality of their albums (excluding Hail to the King), they jumped through all the hoops, they deserve what they have, which is success.
    What you basically said is that Converge does not deserve any success despite basically inventing Metalcore, perfecting it, receiving high acclaim repeatedly, and yet still never being able to break through to the mainstream... Justin Bieber broke through to the mainstream too... album quality is debatable and I'd say A7X has never released a good song... having a lot of fans means nothing except that your sound appeals to a lot of people. It's statistically much much easier to appeal to a lot of people than not a lot of people... so a band like Converge takes the intellectually honest route, the more difficult route, and the more artistically interesting route, and they get buried by bands that basically just conformed to make a crap ton of money.
    I think metallic hardcore is a more fitting genre for Converge. Or chaotic hardcore. The term metalcore has evolved into melodic death metal with pantera style grooves and hardcore breakdowns.
    Converge is overrated.
    How are Converge overrated? They don't get anywhere near as much attention as most of the bands on this list for starters, plus they helped to pioneer a new style of music.
    Seriously guys go check out Phinehas, its a shame they're not touring in stadiums.
    When I read metalcore I admit I initially went "Ehh, not this shit." But having listened to a bit of this list I suppose the problem is when I think of metalcore, I automatically think of Bring Me The Horizon and Asking Alexandria etc. They aren't good examples to judge the whole genre by, considering bands like Killswitch, PWD - and now having listened to it - the Unearth album on this list are actually pretty damn good.
    I'm surprised that August Burns Red didn't make top 2. But then again, I can't stand A7x anymore, so they wouldn't be making any of my lists at all.
    Avenged Sevenfold and ABR on the same list, and even worse, Avenged being the number 3 spot, and ABR 4? Are you kidding? ABR is by far the talented band among the bunch, and old material or not, Avenged doesn't belong on the list. Meh.
    I Rock 4 God
    As I Lay Dying is no longer a band but a news article about Tim and his trial. They wrote some music, too, you know....
    TIL UG users need to familiarize themselves with Converge, Starkweather, Disembodied, Buried Inside, Burst, Gaza, Arkangel, Integrity, Acme, and Creation is Crucifixion.
    All of them are cool bands, but they are mostly not metalcore.
    Those bands ARE metalcore. Most of the bands on the Top 10 list are what is generally regarded as "metalcore" in the eyes of the audience (screaming verses, clean sung choruses, mash-up of Pantera and melodic death metal riffs + obligatory breakdown). Unearth and Parkway Drive are the only bands on the setlist that actually are metalcore - Unearth with their pronounced hardcore influences, especially in their earlier work, and Parkway Drive who were a hardcore band before they started incorporating metal elements into their sound. KSE's early work could also be classified as metalcore. Bands like Converge, Earth Crisis, Hatebreed, Integrity are metalcore because you can actually hear hardcore influences mixed with metal in their respective works.
    Hatebreed is hardcore in my book, right up there with Terror and Nails. I dont count them as a metal band. but thats just my opinion.
    I agree with you - but now genre tag approved for bands like Hatebreed, Integrity and Earth Crisis is "metal hardcore", not metalcore. Converge is also "chaotic hardcore". You can find more information on these genres in the internet.
    The only reason people use the term "Metallic hardcore" is because the majority of people who could potentially become fans of bands like Converge and Botch cringe at the term Metalcore. It's the same deal with Screamo, a lot of people who listen to actual Screamo bands like Jeromes Dream, Orchid, The Saddest Landscape and Raein use the term "Skramz" when referring to them, because otherwise people would instantly think that those bands consist of whiny scene kids that just got dumped by their first girlfriend.
    You're absolutly correct Scratcher. When UG says metalcore is a "newer breed of metal" they completly miss the point that metalcore's first iterations had more hardcore in their, well, core. I don't really appreciate the genre, but to not see Converge at all is kinda disturbing.
    Metalcore as a genre also had it's roots in the late 80's/early 90's, it's not exactly a new genre by any stretch.
    Agent 00Awesome
    Then what are the rest of the bands on this list? Sub genres are way too specific sometimes and its a pain in the ass.
    So, Starkweather are progressive hardcore/chaotic hardcore, Disembodied are hardcore/sludgecore, Buried Inside are sludge/progressive sludgecore, Burst are progressive hardcore/progressive metal, Gaza are experimental metal/mathcore/noisecore, Arkangel are progressive meatl hardcore, Acme are hardcore/crust, and Creation Is Crucifixion are mathcore/technical grindcore. But of course I agree - it's all just labels.
    so UG staff/mods just don't know what metalcore is huh?
    I know it's illogical, but now "metalcore" is the music in the vein of KSE, As I Lay Dying etc, not metal hardcore as it was originally used to be - and now this tag is approved for modern metalcore. And I really love all the bands in Scourge411's list, but all of these bands are mostly just metal hardcore, chaotic hardcore or even mathcore - you can found more information on it on many resources - for example on
    This is ridiculous. Metalcore without hardcore? Where does the core goes?
    Chaotic hardcore, Jesus Christ. At least 'blackened death' or 'tech death' tells me SOMETHING about the music. Why would chaotic hardcore not be grindcore or something? These aren't even legitimate subgenres that are common, they're just increasingly narrow definitions that actually completely miss out on their intent, which is to describe and help organize music. Converge, Earth Crisis, these bands are metalcore, period point blank. You can come up with a million different genre tags just so you can separate bands in quality, but metalcore is metal+hardcore, end of story. People can choose to label it further, but that's just being pedantic, it doesn't add any legitimacy to your argument.
    Hell, chaotic hardcore could just as easily be crust. The hell is the matter with you people? I used to defend genre tags against people who wanted everything under the sun to just be 'metal', but then people went and jumped the shark in the worst and most off putting way possible. If you're the kind of person who feels the need to correct genre tags as bands are listed, congrats on engaging in an intellectually dead conversation that says nothing about music.
    Underoath? much more creative in their last 3 albums than some on this list
    Avenged Sevenfold and Trivium? It seemed like it was going oh so well and then a 13 year old girl decided she wanted some input
    Pinkly Smooth should be number 1.
    please, just no.. Not being a genre elitist or anything, but just no.
    Sir Stoney
    Hahaha, yeah. Pinkly Smooth is more trippy than heavy haha. If anything it'd be something similar to goblin metal. Then again, I don't listen to much goblin metal so I might be wrong.
    Goblin Metal, like Goblins? The ones that eat children?
    How many freakin genre's of metal are there anyway.....?
    There's quite a hand full, but people tend to try to create new ones so they can think that they've made an impact, but in the end they are just dumb.
    Too bad they aren't Metalcore Maybe on the list of "Acid Punk/Metal Prog Fusion", or what ever they're called. R.I.P. Rathead
    As much as I love them, they're not metalcore...**** knows what they are tbh, it's some weird mental music