Is metalcore metal?

It's a question that's been around for roughly as long as metalcore, the fusion genre that melds elements of hardcore punk and extreme metal, has existed itself. Of course, even metalcore's invention as a genre is a matter of some debate in its own right.

But why is it even a question if metalcore — "metal" is right there in the name — is real metal?

It's often because metal purists argue it's closer to hardcore due to its vocal styles and rhythms. On the obverse, others maintain that its focus on aggressive, heavy guitar riffs puts it firmly in the metal realm. Either way, this ever-present argument, with some listeners looking down on it as inferior, is part of why metalcore sometimes gets a bad rap as a genre.

Is Metalcore Metal?

But why would metalcore not be considered real metal? It's a fusion genre, so it has characteristics of both metal and hardcore. It was born out of the aggression and intensity of each style; it's the offspring of two parents. Is a child not as much a part of one parent as the other?

Yes, due to metalcore's punk elements and different song structures — guitar solos are one heavy metal element all but forgotten in much of metalcore — it's a far cry from the sound of traditional metal or close relatives like power metal or thrash metal. But let's not pretend that metalcore emerged in a vacuum.

Guitar player's hands (closeup)
iStockphoto, Getty Images

Still, the question of "Is metalcore metal?" isn't just something asked in the past. It's an ongoing concern even now. "Why do some people insist metalcore (or any core) isn't metal?" one Reddit user asked in 2022. The responses show why this question continues to spark lively debate.

Is Metalcore a Subgenre?

Further, some consider metalcore a subgenre rather than a fusion genre, but metalcore has separate subgenres itself — mathcore is one of them. At this point, metalcore can essentially be considered a genre all its own, but this is another point that could be argued further.

Still, calling metalcore "not real metal" is at best subjective and at worst ahistorical. It comes from the same train of thought that brings about heavy metal "gatekeeping," with purists remaining unwelcome to new listeners or new influences infiltrating their favorite bands or genres.

READ MORE: Metalcore's Best Clean Singers + Bands That Don't Use Clean Vocals

What do you think? Should metalcore not be considered real metal? Ultimately, it all comes down to one's own interpretation of metalcore as a genre. What it means to you when you listen is really all that matters. If a strictly metal listener doesn't think metalcore is on the same level as other metal, that's their opinion. Still, it seems disingenuous to suggest a fusion genre that partly arose from metal can't be considered metal.

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