Metalcore will likely always be most associated with the Aughts, when heavy but melodic sing/scream specialists like Killswitch Engage, Atreyu, All That Remains, Underoath, Bullet for My Valentine and more ruled the mosh pits. But the sound has had many other permutations and the style still resonates today, with bands like Killswitch still flying the metalcore flag while others such as ATR and Bring Me the Horizon have expanded into more radio-friendly rock- and pop-inclined territory. We asked you to vote for the genre's single greatest album and you came back with a wide swath of stellar picks (a special shout out to the reader who named Disembodied's Heretic). Below are the top five vote-getters.
While you also could have chosen 2007's Plagues for this list, it's easy to see why it's follow-up, With Roots Above and Branches Below, made the final cut: It's way fucking heavier. A true metalcore landmark, TDWP's third record — which features dark, powerful lyrics from Mike Hranica and more technical guitar work from Chris Rubey and Jeremy DePoyster — hit the Billboard 200 at No. 11, and fan-favorite cut "Assistant to the Regional Manager" is still on set lists today.
Norma Jean's 2002 debut album blew the doors open for Christian metalcore, despite its long and unwieldy, if very of-the-era, song titles (see "I Used to Hate Cell Phones, But Now I Hate Car Accidents"). Backed by Headbangers Ball, the LP features emotive vocals from Josh Scogin (who went on to front the Chariot) and powerful blasts from drummer Daniel Davison (who went on to make popular albums with Underoath and Every Time I Die), all under the crisp production of Killswitch Engage guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz. Its follow-up, O' God, The Aftermath, would push Norma Jean, with new singer Cory Brandan, to greater heights, including a Grammy nomination, but true believers know that this is the band's most essential offering.
Rising out of Massachusetts' metalcore hotbed, All That Remains have changed their sound considerably over the past two decades, and 2006's The Fall of Ideals represents the pinnacle of their focused headbanging metalcore era, thanks to frontman Phil Labonte's deep screams and late guitarist Oli Herbert's intense riffage (as heard on "This Calling" and "Six"). Produced — like Norma Jean's entry on this list — by Killswitch's Adam Dutkiewicz, ATR's third album put them on heavy music fans' radar and set the template for many bands to come.
Alive or Just Breathing marked the beginning of metalcore's real rise to crossover popularity in America and stands as the arguably the definitive example of the Swedish death-metal-influenced, sing/scream model of the genre. With its swings between abject brutality and emotional swells delivered with Jesse Leach's inimitable clean-sung wail, the album reconfirmed that you can wear your vulnerability on your sleeves but still fuck shit up, too.
Jane Doe is the record that launched a million T-shirts and tattoos with its iconic cover, but it's the lasting impact on heavy music and the thousands of rip-off acts that truly speak to its legacy. Helping to shape the landscape of American heavy metal for the next decade and beyond, this metalcore masterpiece deservedly remains Converge's most beloved record, as well as a genre favorite, even now, 18 years after its bombastic debut.