Metalcore, Deathcore, and Death Metal. Is it all the same?

“Isn’t metal music all the same?” I receive this question every day when I tell people the different subgenres of metal I play on WKNC (if you didn’t know, I DJ on Friday nights from 10pm-midnight). I explain to people the three main subgenres that I play; Metalcore, Deathcore, and Death metal. Since I listen to the music 24/7, it is easy for me to tell the difference. But for others, it is difficult to tell the difference between the three (mainly between deathcore and death metal). But have no fear, The Saw is here to help you understand the difference between the subgenres.

Since I’m a History Major, I’m going give a little synopsis for context. Metalcore, Deathcore, and Death Metal are three of the subgenres of Metal. The metal genre is as a result of the evolution of RAWK!! And universally, it is accepted that Black Sabbath is considered the first “metal” band (this has to do with Tony Iommi playing the “Devils Chord”).



Metalcore is a subgenre that combines elements of extreme metal and hardcore punk. It has a lot of breakdowns (a part of a song where instruments have “breaks” that are groovy). This is when people will start moshing (a form of dance) in the pit. The art of moshing will be another post. This subgenre is known for having clean vocals as well as growls/screams. Lyrically, Metalcore resembles the message of Deathcore, but with a positive spin.

Popular bands: Miss May I, Parkway Drive, Emmure, Asking Alexandria, and August Burns Red.



Deathcore is a subgenre that is a combination of death metal and metalcore. There is a combination of blast beats and breakdowns in this genre. Unlike death metal, the riffs are more “crunchy and bouncy” (in a way). In my opinion, the music is heavier in deathcore than death metal. It generally consist of blast beats (fast drumming), down-tuned guitars with a choppier rhythm, and low-tuned/pig squealing growls, screams, and guttural roars. Lyrically, the songs are based on daily life, basic issues, and things that suck.

Popular bands: Whitechapel, Thy Art is Murder, Suicide Silence, Oceano, and Carnifex.


Death Metal:

Death Metal is a subgenre of Heavy Metal that predates both Metalcore and Deathcore. It formed as an effort to take the Metal genre to extremes. Death Metal uses heavy distortions and down-tuned guitars, with distinct “chunky” riffs and harmonizing reminiscent of buzzing bees and the chugging of a train rolling down the tracks. The vocals consist of hoarse growls, snarls, and guttural roars. Lyrically, Death Metal is the sound track of horror; graphic, gore obsessed and hyper-focused on (ironically) death.

Popular bands: Cannibal Corpse, Dying Fetus, Obituary, Suffocation, and Carcass.

Incidentally, now, these subgenres of the Metal genre are beginning to splinter into sub-subgenres. For example, Party Metal (Attila, Bro Job, etc.) has formed out of both Metalcore and Deathcore, and Melodic Death Metal (Amon Amarth, Arch Enemy, etc.), obviously, from Death Metal.