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The Best Hardcore / Metalcore / Deathcore - Metal Storm Awards 2021


1.  Lorna Shore - ...And I Return To Nothingness 158
2.  Whitechapel - Kin 111
3.  Humanity's Last Breath - Välde 44
4.  Zao - The Crimson Corridor 30
5.  Vorvaň - Awakened 24
6.  Portrayal Of Guilt - We Are Always Alone 23
7.  Devil Sold His Soul - Loss 14
8.  Svdestada - Azabache 12
9.  Spiritbox - Eternal Blue (write-in vote) 11
10.  Tenue - Territorios 8
  Turnstile - Glow On (write-in vote) 8
12.  Slant - 1집 7
Total votes:
496



In the time since Devil Sold His Soul last released a full-length album, vocalist Ed Gibbs left the band to be replaced by Paul Green, only to rejoin the band again, with the group new opting for a dual-vocalist approach. On this comeback album, the first for the group on Nuclear Blast Records, Devil Sold His Soul again serve up a metal-leaning form of post-hardcore; however, whilst their previous records were planted firmly between post-hardcore and post-metal, Loss opts for a lighter musical palette, veering closer to post-rock and metalgaze territory. With two screaming/singing vocalists and a vibrant range of tones, Loss balances intensity and delicacy, aggression and passion, and sets a solid template for the next phase of Devil Sold His Soul’s journey.

YouTube (single)

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Deathcore has had a bunch of developments in the past couple of years, from going more symphonic to becoming more atmospheric. Humanity's Last Breath started out as more of a djent band, but slowly evolved into a monolith of crushing atmosphere, crafting a sound that makes it possible for a Lewandowski painting to grace the cover a deathcore album. There's still some djent in its polyrhythmic approach, but the sound palette has moved closer to black metal and post-metal, leaving but the basic trademarks of the deathcore sound - the chugs, breakdowns, and low-register vocals - and applying injections of grandiose atmospheres, dissonant textures, and the slowest paces you'll ever hear in a deathcore album. What better representation for such a monolithic album than the actual monolith on the cover?

Bandcamp / YouTube (full album)

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Lorna Shore’s profile grew quite substantially with the arrival of CJ McCreery and the release of Immortal; however, the subsequent revelations about and firing of McCreery before Immortal had even dropped had the potential to derail this momentum. As it turns out, these events may have ended up being a blessing in disguise, as the arrival of Will Ramos as his replacement has led to even more hype surrounding the band. The first single from this new-look lineup, “To The Hellfire”, went viral (even winding up on TikTok), in no small part due to the insane breakdown at the end of the song and the vile accompanying vocals from Ramos. “To The Hellfire” was joined by two other songs on …And I Return To Nothingness, a killer EP in which the symphonics, whilst perhaps being slightly less central than they were on Immortal, join forces with brutal deathcore to create something vicious yet majestic.

YouTube (single)

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When We Are Always Alone opens, it’s with a mountainous wall of sound so dense and violent that you’ll have no idea what you’re listening to – is this sludge? Is it hardcore? Is it black metal? Is it noise? Is it, in fact, screamo? The answer to each of these is yes. The fat, bone-breaking chords, frenetic drumming, and wicked, foaming growls are mercilessly heavy no matter what form they take, and Portrayal Of Guilt sheds skin like a snake with an itch. One minute of frigid black metal will break into an eerie drone, which will explode into an emotional hardcore breakdown, which will dive down into a trough of doomy fuzz. Sometimes dissonant and disarming, sometimes directly forceful, We Are Always Alone is an extraordinary study in how to swap styles in short bursts and attain mastery of all of them. You may always be alone… but if this is what it’s like to be alone, maybe it’s not so bad.

Bandcamp / YouTube (full album playlist)

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We might be a little out of step with traditional hardcore on Metal Storm, since we mostly encounter punk after it has been adulterated by some more recent strain of thrash, groove, or metalcore, but there’s always a space in our hearts for music as pure and wild as this. It’s refreshing to hear brash buzzsaw riffs instead of breakdowns and surfy skittering instead of blastbeats, although Yeji’s screams are so vicious that she could hold her own as a harsh vocalist in any more extreme genre. At a scant 17 minutes, 1집 is over faster than you can say “fresh fruit for rotting vegetables,” but of course when it comes to punk it’s not about the minutes on the album. It’s about how much stuff you can break before it’s over. Sooner or later the world is going to learn that there’s more to South Korean music than K-pop, and Slant could be your best place to start.

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"Sudestada" is the Argentine name of a South American southwest wind that blows cold Atlantic air deep inland, causing severe weather and prolonged, heavy rainfall, and "Azabache" is Spanish for coal-black. The combination of both terms is exactly what's to expect from Svdestada's sophomore album: a pitch-black tempest of blackened crust punk and straightforward post-hardcore, whipping its icecold, unbridled energy right into your face. The eleven guitar-heavy but melodic tracks are performed in rapid Spanish, and not a single song goes by without several of its numerous riffs sticking in your memory, while the pummeling drums and the supersonic vocals ensure that the 33 minutes of this riff thunderstorm are passing by in a flash.

Bandcamp / YouTube (full album)
Writing an album-length track is an enormous undertaking, especially when you're playing something in the vein of hardcore like Tenue - you can't just slam and scramble for 30 minutes, or the unrelenting strain will exhaust both you and your audience. So that's not what Tenue did. Instead, they wrote a barrelful of riffs all falling somewhere between crust punk, indie rock, and metalgaze and set out to make an engrossing album, one whose constant shifts from wild, messy punk to somber, minimalist emo and back to violent, thrashy hardcore would never leave a listener wishing for something more compact. Territorios goes through endless variations, and whether it’s dark and atonal or as bright as the cover, it’s always taking these “3 rural punx” somewhere interesting.

Bandcamp / YouTube (full album)

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Imagine if one day Converge and Kvelertak had decided to adopt four Russian orphans, but instead of raising them all by themselves, they dropped their little rascals off with relatives every weekend. Mostly their grandparents, grandma Martyrdöd and grandpa Mastodon, who were already a bit crusty but very progressive for their age, took care of them. They also really enjoyed visiting the old farmstead of aunt Baroness, where they were allowed to get really dirty and play in the sludge. They usually spent their vacations with uncle Wolf King in the dark woods, where they learned that black is the most beautiful color. Not to forget their nanny, Mrs. Nails, who taught them the most important lesson of all: a daily dose of grind is all it takes to escape the daily grind.

Bandcamp / YouTube (single)
Continuing to branch out from their roots, Whitechapel take the next step in their audio evolution and continue to push the boundaries of deathcore with exciting results. While retaining their slamming edge, the band experiment with ideas that would have been anathema only a few short years ago, and the resulting tracks highlight how multidimensional both the band and genre can be, should a band share the same determination, nerve to take bold risks, and talent to pull it off with. Make the decision to step up and take the plunge.

Bandcamp / YouTube (full album)

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One of the oldest metalcore bands around, going as far back as 1993, Zao has established themselves as one of the most acclaimed ones, too. But their classics are double-digits old, and Zao slowed down the release pace, with barely one not-very-well-named-in-hindsight album last decade. And that slowing down is felt in The Crimson Corridor, too, both as in a band that isn't hurrying up to put out an album and as in the metalcore pace slowing down to almost post-metal levels. Indeed, there are huge atmospheric sludge injections alongside classic metalcore mosh-starters; this is the most pensive that Zao have ever felt like.

Bandcamp / YouTube (single)