hatebreed 2008 deathcore
[Photo by:Achim Raschka/Wikimedia Commons]

Deathcore has normalized the idea of the hardcore and death-metal scenes coming together. While that’s commonplace now, it wasn’t always like this. Even before the 2000s came and deathcore grew from being a new term to one of the biggest movements in metal, there were bands who carved the path for acts such as Suicide Silence, the Red Chord or Whitechapel to reach the levels they have. 

From straight-forward hardcore to breakdown-induced slam death metal, here are 10 albums that inspired deathcore before it became a movement.

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Suffocation – Pierced From Within

Suffocation have long been argued as the true first deathcore band. Coming up in the ’90s death-metal boom along with bands such as Cannibal Corpse, Deicide, Morbid Angel and more, Suffocation were injecting their music with brutal breakdowns and low and slow groove riffs long before Myspace turned out a never-ending stream of new bands copping their sound, and Pierced From Within shows where many of the early ideas for the genre came from.

Devourment – Molesting The Decapitated

Devourment formed just before the emergence of deathcore, but their influence on early bands such as Despised Icon and the Red Chord is heavily felt. Their disgustingly named debut record captures everything great about the slam scene, and its influence can be felt in the churning chug beatdowns many bands pump out today. 

Embodyment – Embrace The Eternal

Embodyment wrote what’s arguably one of the first-ever deathcore albums, though Embrace The Eternal doesn’t quite sound like what we picture deathcore today. They genuinely blended hardcore punk with death metal before quickly ditching it all for a more melodic sound, but the record shows hints of elements frequently heard in bands such as Suicide Silence and Whitechapel

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Hatebreed – Satisfaction Is The Death Of Desire

Hatebreed never exactly embraced death metal like the deathcore scene did, but their brand of hardcore leaned heavily into the evil aggression of the genre. Countless bands have crafted their sound with Satisfaction Is The Death Of Desire as the blueprint, and the longstanding hardcore act’s passion for subtly introducing a death-metal influence earns them some recognition for contributing to deathcore’s formation.

Dying Fetus – Killing On Adrenaline

Dying Fetus are more commonly held up for their technical prowess, but it’s often understated how much hardcore influence you can hear in their sound. Obviously, the band’s low-gurgling vocals and shredding speed can be seen in deathcore bands, but Dying Fetus are masters at introducing knuckle-dragging beatdowns with Killing On Adrenaline. The record features a cover of Integrity’s “Judgement Day,” another band who arguably influenced the early stages of deathcore. 

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Bloodlet – Entheogen

Bloodlet fall a lot closer to the hardcore side of things than death metal. However, you can definitely hear the extreme metal influence in their sound. Scott Angelacos’ vocal delivery on Entheogen may not be a huge influence on the genre, but the structure of their riffs is evident in so many of the songs people hold up as classics. 

Disembodied – Heretic

Disembodied are one of the biggest contributors to deathcore’s formation, but now bands branching into metalcore such as Knocked Loose and Code Orange have also shined a light on them. Heretic is about as close as you can get to deathcore from an era where it just wasn’t a thing, and their influence being felt today is a testament to their innovative nature. 

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Day Of Suffering – The Eternal Jihad

Day Of Suffering brought together hardcore and death metal in one of the closest forms to modern deathcore with their album The Eternal Jihad. Razor-sharp shredding metal riffs were abound, but their vocal bark brought the harsh extremes of the genre to hardcore in a more succinct way than just about anyone else in 1997. 

Obituary – Cause Of Death

No matter what some death-metal purists think, Obituary embraced elements of hardcore very early in their career. Cause Of Death takes a turn away from the full-bore speed of most death-metal bands with a slow, groove-oriented approach to brutality that bands look to today as an important influence on the doomy side of deathcore. 

Earth Crisis – Destroy The Machines

Similarly to Hatebreed, Earth Crisis weren’t really a death-metal band. However, their sound had plenty of the evil tendencies of the genre and brought a harsher approach to the scene. Their blending of metal and hardcore isn’t exactly like what most picture metalcore as, but the popularity of Destroy The Machines and the band as a whole helped the hardcore community reach a point of embracing metal, eventually combining the two scenes into one.