Although the joyous Turnstile are arguably the most popular band in hardcore right now, and the hype around newer acts like Fiddlehead and One Step Closer is signaling a revival of the genre's more melodic side, the world of heavy hardcore is still thriving. After dominating the underground hardcore world for years, bands like Code Orange and Knocked Loose are respectively touring with Slipknot and Gojira later this fall, earning much-deserved recognition on bigger stages and with more metal-oriented audiences.
However, there's a whole ecosystem of metallic hardcore bands who are making equally interesting and vital music, even though they're not yet as popular. From vintage metalcore evangelists and beatdown maniacs, to bands incorporating death metal and powerviolence in fresh new ways, these are 10 rising metallic hardcore bands that deserve to be on your radar.
Dying Wish are a Portland band who come from the hardcore scene and stay true to that genre's politically charged lyricism, but aren't afraid to embrace their melodic metalcore influences as well. Their latest LP, Fragments of a Bitter Memory, has a cross-generational appeal that'll sound warmly familiar to longtime fans of Bleeding Through and Eighteen Visions, but also has a contemporary edge that won't leave young moshers in the lurch.
Never Ending Game got our endorsement when they put out their 2019 LP, Just Another Day, and even COVID-19 couldn't stop the rise of these Detroit bruisers. To invoke their hometown's hip-hop predecessors, D-12, Never Ending Game make "fight music" — concrete-coated breakdowns, grooves that bounce like a tricked-out caddy, vocals that sound like if a junkyard dog fronted a hardcore band and Motown soul samples that briefly sooth the ears before they get bashed in again.
Some people used quarantine 2020 to learn to bake bread or knit, but this gang of Long Island scenesters decided to start the most badass metallic hardcore supergroup of our time. Boasting players from Hangman, Reign of Salvation and more, the group's 2020 EP, No Blame...Just Facts, is a guest-loaded (members of King Nine, Year of the Knife, Rude Awakening, etc.) scrum of reality-check bangers that Nineties-era Victory Records loyalists need on their workout playlists.
It almost feels reductive to call Zulu a metallic hardcore band, because their music is so much more than that. Both their 2019 and 2020 EPs are packed with emotional lyrics, spoken-word poems and tearful audio clips about the systemic violence that Black Americans are forced to endure under the rule of our country's white nationalist patriarchy. Their nasty riffs, cop-crushing mosh parts and speckles of powerviolence blast beats are tremendous, but they mostly function as a compelling medium to host their urgent message to white audiences: "It's up to you/And you alone/Make that change."
Drain are here to make heavy hardcore fun. The Bay Area crew have the buzzy guitar tones and bug-eyed vocal yelps of a classic crossover band, but their springy bridges and hyperactive mosh parts push them up to a much heavier class of bands. They're best known for being one of the most ballistic live acts in contemporary hardcore, but their 2020 album, California Cursed, and the single they just dropped to announce their signing to Epitaph Records, "Watch You Burn," prove that the songs themselves are what have people divin'.
World of Pleasure only have a three-song demo to their name, but it could absolutely stand toe-to-toe with most metalcore bands' first full-length. The Canadian duo — Mortality Rate vocalist Jess Nyx, and Colter of the beastly Alberta metalcore group Serration — make no-frills knockers that house their cries for militant veganism. "You deserve nothing but pain/You deserve to have your blood drain," Nyx screams on "Domination" with enough conviction to make just about anyone drop their cheeseburger and run.
Idaho's Ingrown are here to fill the Nails-sized void for a truly destructive three-piece in heavy hardcore. Aptly-titled Gun, their new album is a battlefield of combative death metal riffage, commanding hardcore grunts, flesh-piercing chugs and occasional powerviolence spasms that unexpectedly detonate like hidden landmines. As primed for pit shenanigans as they are for home listening (the production quality is top-notch), Ingrown's music feels simultaneously fresh and like hanging with a good buddy you haven't seen in ages — albeit a violent one who's liable to start a bar brawl.
Featuring members of Sunami and Extinguish, Field of Flames are a San Jose band who are making truly evil-sounding, mid-Nineties metalcore. The floor-stomping mosh parts are a-plenty on their stellar 2021 EP, Remnants of a Collapsed Existence, but their calling card are the dueling guitar leads that give their Unbroken-style heft a dash of Slayer technicality. If you're a sucker for vintage metallic hardcore that doesn't sound like cheap regurgitation, Field of Flames will make you bedroom mosh again.
Terminal Nation are one of those bands who could either be described as death metal or hardcore depending on who you ask. The Arkansas unit pull from a loaded toolkit of extreme music sub-genres — grindcore, death metal, powerviolence, metalcore, beatdown — and weld them together in a way that's truly not for the feint of heart. Their 2020 album Halocene Extinction is packed with gigundo, down-tuned riffs that churn like a tractor combine from hell, so fans of Harm's Way, Gatecreeper and Xibalba should take note.
If you're not listening to the song "God's Hate" from the album God's Hate by the band God's Hate, then you need to make some life changes. Earlier this year, the California band fronted by professional wrestler Brody King, and featuring current/former members of Nails and Twitching Tongues, returned after five years with the aforementioned LP and repositioned the bar for heavy hardcore going forward. Tapping the fearsome "Troycore" sound of late-Nineties upstate New York bands like Stigmata and Dying Breed, this music is pure, unfiltered abhorrence for humanity set to song.