By Natasha Van Duser
There were many incredible moments for the metalcore scene this year. Fans got to see a new and long-awaited concept EP released from The Devil Wears Prada, a honed-in literary take on lyrics from Ice Nine Kills, and even a new sonic direction taken by For Today. And while there were many changes that occurred with metalcore giants and fan favorites, there were several that really knocked some socks off. Whether great or terrifying, here are the top ten biggest changes to metalcore in 2015.
Northlane’s New Vocalist Proves His Worth
Though Northlane’s current vocalist, Marcus Bridge, was discovered in late 2014, fans didn’t really get to see how his voice fully fit the band until the summer of 2015 with the release of Node, the band’s third full-length album and first without original vocalist Adrian Fitipaldes. While Northlane has always had an eclectic edge to their sound, the atmospheric vibe incorporated alongside Bridge’s unique vocal style helped define Node as a new, and more intriguing version of the Australian band.
The Ongoing Concept Redefine DIY
Usually when the music industry refers to “DIY” it means something along the lines of doing everything yourself production, promotion, and touring-wise without the help of a major label. For the Idaho-based four piece, The Ongoing Concept, DIY was taken a little more literally as the band made their own instruments from scratch for their sophomore release Handmade. Not only did these custom-cut guitars, bass, and drum set lead to some fun, folksy metalcore sounds on their 2015 release, they also became pivotal to some of their live performances this year.
Spencer Sotelo Learns To Multi-Task
Fans of Periphery already know that vocalist Spencer Sotelo is a very productive man. In 2015, his DC-based six-piece released not one, but two albums–Juggernaut: Alpha and Juggernaut: Omega. As both of these simultaneously released records performed really well and allowed the band to tour the country, Sotelo spent another part of 2015 promoting even more work with his new position as lead vocalist for From First To Last. In the spring of 2015, Sotelo again had the pleasure of working on a third successful album release with FFTL’s Dead Trees.
Bring Me The Horizon Abandon Metalcore
Bring Me The Horizon’s shift to mainstream alternative rock is probably the most talked about switch in the metalcore scene this year. Not only did the band depart from Epitaph Records to sign to the major Columbia Records, but all future potential that fans found in the British band’s creative work on 2013’s Sempiternal was ditched for the more melodic, commercial-friendly tracks that comprise 2015’s That’s The Spirit. Tragically, it seems unlikely that vocalist Oli Sykes and his crew will ever return to their deathcore and metalcore roots.
Vanna Release A Cover EP
Releasing a cover track is risky business. Fans don’t want to hear carbon copies of songs they already love, but they also don’t want classic tracks butchered. When it came to the Boston-based hardcore outfit Vanna, they chose to go all out with an entire cover EP titled ALT. While this band is praised for their in-depth lyrical prowess, releasing a cover album in honor of the bands that inspired their own writing was rather surprising. Taking on Marilyn Manson and The Smashing Pumpkins is not an easy thing to do, but luckily Vanna was up to the challenge and came out on top.
What Ever Happened To Hopecore?
There was a plethora of mixed feelings when We Came As Romans dropped their self-titled fourth studio record in mid-2015. Many of the tracks diverged from the classic metalcore sounds the band was known for in place of melodic, clean vocals with less intricate riffs. Many fans were confused by the blatant lack of weight in this record until vocalist David Stephens, guitarist Lou Cotton, and bassist Andy Glass announced their hella heavy side project, Crucible. With the late-2015 release of their debut EP The Trials, fans got a nice taste of what WCAR’s self-titled record was missing, even though a lot of the hopeful concepts WCAR promote were blacked out by Crucible’s darker lyrics and themes.
Sworn In Got A Little Less Blegh
Sworn In is a very strange, technical and emotional band. Greatly parodied and lauded for their use of the “blegh” vocal, their 2015 concept record The Lovers/The Devil showed a new side to the group. This time around, vocalist Tyler Dennen displayed a different style in his voice with an intricate balance of clean vocals laid onto many of the record’s tracks. While the artsy dichotomy of the album was intriguing, the clash of simple vocal melodies alongside more complicated riffs and themes gave the band a completely refreshed design.
Phinehas Signed To Artery Recordings
2015 was a big year for the California-based band Phinehas. Although they’ve been around since 2001 and have two EPs and three full-length records under their belt, 2015 really proved to be the breakout year for the Christian-themed band. Signing to the highly regarded scene-oriented label that is Artery Recordings, Phinehas’ third studio record Till The End pushed their artistic boundaries and finally gained them the exposure they deserved.
Parkway Drive Flare Up Melody and Hooks
The Australian metalcore gods, Parkway Drive, turned heads in the latter half of 2015 when they released their fifth studio album, Ire. As one of the most influential bands in modern metalcore, many fans were unsure of how PWD would follow up the 2012 success of Atlas. By making sure they didn’t repeat themselves, PWD instead chose to redefine themselves by creating a metalcore album that played against many classic metalcore tropes. While breakdowns, unclean vocals, and roaring riffs are still present on Ire, the band also introduced more melodic moments with catchy hooks, and greatly expanded upon Winston McCall’s vocal style.
Atreyu Came Back
Guys, Atreyu actually did it! Having a band come back together is like seeing a bald eagle in the wild: it’s not impossible, but when it happens you are completely stoked. Sometimes comebacks can be disappointing or not what fans were expecting, however, with the return of Atreyu via their 2015 release Long Live fans finally got some of that old school Atreyu feel back into their music libraries as well as the chance to once again hear some old and new tracks live.