This week’s segment will be fun because we get to explore a truly underground gem. But, before we get into that I just have one thing to say. Metalcore. Okay, now that all of the pretentious metal elitists have stopped reading this article, I can continue with the segment. Whether you love it or hate it, one cannot ignore the fact that metalcore bands had a significant impact on the heavy metal scene in the 2000’s. Many of the earlier groups in this particular genre trace their roots back to the 1990’s hardcore scene in Massachusetts. A group from this scene that had one of the most significant impacts on the future of metalcore was Aftershock.
This was a band that managed to concoct their own unique sound out of a fairly diverse collection of heavy music styles. The hardcore was definitely present, not just musically but also as far as stage presence is concerned (check out the music video “For Those of You Who Kill”). I think one of the things that made Aftershock stand out from their peers was their willingness to play around with different styles of extreme metal. Vocally, there were clearly death metal and grindcore influences as well as the traditional hardcore barks and chants. Although rare, they occasionally made use of blast beats. Both of these elements helped to establish Aftershock as heavier than average hardcore act. More importantly, this was one of the first American based groups to adopt influences from the Gothenburg melodic death metal lot. With the combination of hardcore breakdowns and melodeath riffs, it’s easy to see how some have credited Aftershock as the first metalcore band.
Some of the coolest things actually occurred after the band had more or less broken up. The original guitarist, Jon Donais, was making significant strides with his new band Shadows Fall. Vocalist Tobias Dutkiewicz founded the label Devil’s Head Records, which later signed bands such as The Acacia Strain. Guitarists Joel Stroetzel and Adam Dutkiewicz joined up with Overcast bassist Mike D’Antonio to form the metalcore act Killswitch Engage. Both directly and indirectly Aftershock and it’s band members made an impact on the next generation of metal.