The content of the genre known as “Metalcore”

by sophomaniac2

So this is an interesting post. Probably the first time a blog post has ever really been written for a class, at least for me. I’ve decided to take some of my favorite songs and analyze the content of their lyrics.

Now some people might be saying “Wait, metalcore has lyrics? I thought it was all just incomprehensible screaming!” and on the screaming part, you’d be right! Metalcore is defined as “a broad fusion genre of extreme metal and hardcore punk. The name is an amalgam of the names of the two genres, distinguished by its emphasis on breakdowns, which are slow, intense passages that are conducive to moshing.”(Wikipedia) There is usually a lot of screaming involved in this genre but it’s not incomprehensible, and depending on the type of song, there is usually a fair bit of meaning in these lyrics, and they aren’t as angst-ridden, although that seems to be a large theme.

Let’s start with the first song off of an amazing album: “Provision” by August Burns Red off of the album Rescue and Restore. Before we start, please go take a listen. it’s an amazing song, I promise it’s worth the time.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6oaVSvi9L-M

Now that you’re back, we’re gonna be looking at the second verse. It goes a little something like this

“I am the deceiver, I’m not getting any better
I’m the thief, the whore, the murderer
It’s times like these, It’s times like these
you forget to remember who you are
The way up is down, truth is found when life throws you out
And kicks you to the curb
I’m just as much the problem as the man behind bars
He did with his business what I do in my heart
You wronged me, you crossed me, I’ll never let it ruin me
Lessons are learned deep down within my heart, in my heart
The worst men make the best stories come true
The past is a part of me
But not who I am”

These lyrics are about how the band was wronged by someone financially and they thought he was getting his just deserts. However, the singer and screamer for ABR realized that even though this man had cheated them out of a lot of money and had done them wrong, they had things just as bad going on inside of them. The Christian influence on the band is extremely obvious here when he talks about what he has done wrong in his heart. He uses these lyrics to show that even though he has done wrong, he forgives himself and is forgiven by God. But now, we are going to make an extreme tonal shift in lyrical content. We are now going to go to the amazing world of Atreyu.

Probably my favorite band of all time, Atreyu is back with an amazing album, called Long Live. Musically and lyrically it has really come into it’s own after the band has returned from a four year long hiatus. One of my favorite songs off of the album is the song “Do You Know Who You Are?” take a listen:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADSAww_42eY 

“It’s the end of the world and nobody cares
We got problems of our own
So nobody stares at themselves in the mirror anymore
A good hard look can shake you to the core, so,”

These are the lyrics that hit you when you first start the song. Alex Varkas, lead screamer for Atreyu has stated in his commentary for this song that it is about how “a lot of people need to look in the mirror and see if they’re doing something to make society better or even just help the small world around them… Or are you just a self-serving son of a bitch and a part of the problem.” Again, another song, albeit a little more straightforward with this idea of reflection and change. This song really gets you to question if you are doing things for the betterment of humanity as a whole or if you’re living on your own.

Honestly and truly, there seem to be a lot of lyrics about change rather than angst or self loathing. Suicide;Stigma by The Color Morale:

“When I speak such a word,
Are you uneasy with how it’s heard?
The stigma will never leave
Unless all of us can just start talking.”

Throne by Bring Me The Horizon:

“So you can throw me to the wolves
Tomorrow I will come back
Leader of the whole pack
Beat me black and blue
Every wound will shape me
Every scar will build my throne”

Again, change and continued improvement are the halmarks of this genre lyrically. Yes the screaming is there, yes it’s not for everyone’s taste, but the thing you have to admit is that lyrically, it’s better than the number one song right now “The Hills” by The Weekend:

I only love it when you touch me, not feel me
When I’m fucked up, that’s the real me
When I’m fucked up, that’s the real me, babe

Something to ponder the next time something hits number one.

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