Every genre and artist gets re-evaluated over time. This can typically go one of two ways. A genre or artist who was underappreciated or misunderstood during their time can gain a lot of critical acclaim this way. These days the world is ripe for re-evaluation, with the advent of streaming and the ever increasing accessibility of music, generations aren’t confined to the radio and the CD collections of their parents and older siblings. This accessibility invites us to look at oft maligned genres, and determine what went wrong, if anything.
When one approaches metalcore it can be easy to see where things went wrong. The genre grew out of a combination of… well metal and hardcore punk. At first glance there was a lot of promise coming out of the genre. It was furiously aggressive and unrelenting, but there was enough pop sensibility coming out of its punk influence that it quickly found a home with angsty teenagers. Things went downhill from there. Bands began to rely too heavily on the poppy elements, creating a diluted product that lacked the urgency and rawness of early metalcore. Some incorporated the pop better than others, like A Day To Remember but far too many became caricatures of a genre that once fancied itself on the outside of real accessibility.
Luckily, I’m not the only one looking at metalcore for inspiration. Bands like Vein, Code Orange, and Knocked Loose have all forced the genre forward into bold uncharted territory. These bands have a number of groups to thank, Botch and He Is Legend come to mind, but perhaps more than any other group, Poison the Well stands as a beacon to the ideals of what metalcore could have been, and finally is becoming.
Poison the Well, like many a metalcore group, came out of Florida in the late ‘90s and quickly made waves with an unpolished, vicious style that managed to implement pop elements and spoken word without coming across as cheesy. It created a movement that still has legs today and did so with such a clear vision that the genre immediately lost its way because Poison the Well was almost too good.
Those looking to re-evaluate metalcore can do no better than to catch Poison the Well at the El Rey. El Rey is honest to god one of the best venues in Los Angeles, each concert they host has impeccable sound and the floor layout is conducive to those who want to mosh and those who wish to stay put. And as a general note metalcore shows are possibly the most fun you can have at a live concert.
Location: The El Rey
Address: 5515 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036