20 black musicians throwing down in hardcore and metalcore
As protests against police brutality rage on in the United States and across the world, we’re turning to music as a way to understand our emotions. The anger and sadness that comes with looking directly at how police and society as a whole have been treating the black community is something to embrace and channel to push toward a better world.
With that in mind, metalcore and hardcore are styles of music that are perfect for channeling your aggression. We wanted to highlight some of the black musicians who have helped build these scenes and the newer ones currently working on bolstering the heavier sides of the music industry.
Take a look below at the 20 metalcore and hardcore bands with black members you can support that have left a lasting impact on the scene.
Glass Cloud were a perfect storm of aggression, technicality and melody, boasting two incredibly strong releases while together. The band featured former Of Mice & Men vocalist Jerry Roush along with Glassjaw members Chad Hasty and Travis Sykes, plus guitar shredder Josh Travis (The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza). Drummer Josh Miller joined as a touring member in 2014, and they came to an end as Travis and Miller joined Emmure shortly after.
California hardcore crew Trash Talk bring a frenzied energy with their sets, and their studio music is equally as devastating. They touch on tones and vibes similar to the classic acts of the genre such as Black Flag or Circle Jerks. They also tap into sludge, doom and even hip-hop influences such as their Tyler, The Creator collaborations or working with producer Kenny Beats for their latest EP, Squalor.
Straight Line Stitch
Raging on since the early 2000s metalcore boom, Straight Line Stitch bring aggressive breakdowns, deep grooves and melodic sensibilities. Their output has slowed down in the time since singer Alexis Brown and bassist Jason White had their child. However, their 2015 EP, Transparency, is a proper metalcore beatdown of shredding riffs and soaring melodies.
Fire From The Gods
Through their blend of nü metal, hardcore and hip-hop influences, Fire From The Gods caught the attention of Five Finger Death Punch guitarist Zoltan Bathory. It led to bigger touring opportunities, and they’ve been taking off ever since. They’ve pumped out three strong records in their career so far, with each getting better than the last. Their diverse sound is helping mold metal’s future beyond old-guard views of keeping the genre purely rooted in its origins.
Diamonds To Dust
New York-based Christian act Diamonds To Dust straddle many lines within heavy music, bouncing between metalcore, deathcore and post-hardcore. Through tight, punchy grooves and a vast range of extreme vocal tones, they have a crushing sound and a lot of ambitions to carry their music forward into new sonic territory with each release.
Volumes have helped shape the djent scene with groove-driven breakdowns and a vast range of tones in their music. Their dual-vocalist approach has always offered something unique. The addition of former Bury Your Dead vocalist Myke Terry made them even stronger. With original co-vocalist Michael Barr back, the pair are creating a new era that’s better than anything they’ve ever done.
U.K. progressive metalcore act Loathe manage to incorporate elements of shoegaze, emo and more while staying rooted in heavy tones. With deep drop-tuned groove breakdowns, ambient melodies and sludgy noise sections, the band are completely unique in the genre and push the boundaries of what metalcore is capable of.
If you’re looking for music within the more extreme end of hardcore, Jesus Piece have you covered. The band take influence from death metal, harsh ’90s metalcore and industrial for a perfect storm of brutal, ear-splitting noise. With equal parts blast beats and slamming breakdowns, they capture pulverizing hardcore at its finest.
While they’ve only been around for a couple of years, Bloodbather quickly grabbed the attention of metal and hardcore fans. Their sound straddles industrial and death metal influences like many modern metallic hardcore bands. It’s rooted in chord-filled aggression that takes influences from classic acts such as Disembodied. The band have since parted ways with vocalist Jeffery Georges, but his contribution through the Pressure EP holds its rightful place in pushing the scene forward.
Spirit Breaker bring a strong sense of technicality without losing melody in their progressive metalcore sound. At times, they feel like a truck ramming into your head with their aggression. However, they manage to slip into ambient melodic tones without missing a step.
Djent crew As Oceans bring a locked-in digital sound to metalcore, with their off-kilter sense of rhythm and technical shredding making their music strong and far reaching. They also have the chops to pull off straight-up melody as seen in their latest track “Mountain / Breaker.” However, at their core, they’re a heavy act who highlight a message of strength through unity.
Trap-metal act Dropout Kings bring a modern edge to nü metal, mixing hip-hop with metalcore beats. The band have been developing their sound for a few years now. With their GlitchGang EP, they’ve really hit their stride and found what works for them.
Kaonashi bring technicality and experimental weirdness to hardcore. They draw equally from straight-forward extreme sounds and progressive groups such as the Dillinger Escape Plan or Coheed And Cambria. Their vast range of influences, moods and tones make for a roller coaster ride of a listen and are a must-hear for fans of heavy experimental music.
Hostilities’ name perfectly captures what they sound like—it’s a band of pure unadulterated, pissed-off hardcore. Their riffs are visceral, with drop-tuned chugging breakdowns split between rattling blasts of speed. Vocalist Larissa Perrin brings the package together with her extreme bark that rivals some of the best metal acts around.
Intertwining hardcore and hip-hop, UnityTX create a fresh, modern songs perfectly suited for fans of either genre. Their razor-sharp riffs and hip-hop vocal delivery are bridging musical gaps between the two styles. This is most evident on their latest EP, MADBOY, which is a straight banger from beginning to end.
Brooklyn’s ACHE are hard, fast and extremely aggressive, with their crust-punk sensibilities unrelentingly bashing noise into listeners’ ears. It’s a classic hardcore sound that the best crust-punk bands could look at and be proud to see what they inspired decades after the genre saw its beginning.
Kind Eyes may be fairly new to the hardcore scene, but they carry a message and sound you can’t help but love. The songs have a catchy but brutal touch to them such as Varials or Knocked Loose, and with “Eradicate The Klan,” they bear a message everyone should be proud to get behind.
Straight-edge band Regulate have quickly caught the attention of the hardcore scene through intense songwriting that calls back to veterans of the New York sound. They have a bit of a bounce to their riffs while pummeling heavy beats along the way and offer up important messages on current affairs and societal issues.
Atlanta metalcore crew Tetrarch bring tight, technical chops within their music, which drifts between punchy grooves and quick blasts of melodically tinged aggression. Guitarist Diamond Rowe pushes for breaking the stereotypes of women in metal and is furthering the conversation of what it means to be a black woman in heavy music.
Brooklyn punks Cerebral Ballzy keep their sound rooted in the origins of hardcore. Songs hardly go over two minutes in length, forgoing intricate guitar solos in favor of fast-paced, straight-to-the-point skate punk.