#10: Annotations Of An Autopsy – Welcome To Sludge City
EP Released: 2007
Written by Samuel Worsfold.
Annotations of an Autopsy were born when their EP “Welcome to Sludge City” was unleashed in the middle of 2007. This short but hard hitting EP contains 1 intro and 3 tracks. This release contains two of AOAA’s most well known songs; “Gore Gore Gadget”, and “Welcome to Sludge City” (“Sludge City” being re-recorded for their first full length album “Before the Throne of Infection”). This was an EP that either you loved or hated. Deathcore fans lapped it up and demanded more whereas others blindly dismissed the band as “another” Deathcore act that will be surely forgotten. However this is no way near the case and what AOAA have put on the table for this EP was a highly decent effort that led them to becoming a bigger and better band.
The EP presents a ridiculously heavy sound implementing slam type riffs, breakdowns, tremolo riffs, crushing vocals, pig squeals and even melodic structures notably from the song “Gore Gore Gadget” which uses finger tapping on the guitar providing a great melody line. Now one of the main factors from this EP is the crazy vocals from Steve Regan. His delivery of the growls, grunts, gurgles, pig squeals and screams are done in a tremendous and powerful formula, listeners will surely be impressed by his brutal delivery. Guitars are dropped to B tuning and provide heavy riffs that connect perfectly with the vocals. Drums provide a decent job and bass gives the EP a deep feel adding to the already crushingly brutal attack from the vocals and guitar.
The style from this album was taken over to the next release titled “Before the Throne of Infection” except toned down a little bit more with cleaner production and pig squeals left out almost entirely but still keeping the heavy sound prominent. The next release titled “II: The Reign of Darkness” saw AOAA take a big step in to song writing creating some masterful songs, evolving from Deathcore to a much more Death Metal orientated record leaving out a lot of influences from the first EP. The next release was another EP that left many AOAA fans very disappointed (including myself) as they changed to an almost clone of Emmure ditching all their songwriting skills used on their previous album and their roots from the first two releases. They later broke up on an indefinite hiatus.
Overall, this EP created the roots for AOAA that were further expanded on overtime in to something more. It is a deathcore essential and a sound that hasn’t been captured by other bands making it a very individual release.
#9: Born of Osiris – The New Reign
EP Released: 2007
Written by Joe Raposa.
Y’all better fuckin’ bow down to the #9 EP on this list. Now on a personal note, The New Reign is my favorite deathcore EP, hands down. I think it should be higher than #9 on this list, but votes are votes, so here it sits at #9.
Now, the first time I ever heard anything off this album, I was on my way to a Mayhem Fest one year, and my buddy’s car playlist began with the classical epic, “O Fortuna” by Carl Orff (look it up if you don’t know it by name, you’ll recognize it). The second the climax of that song had ended, there was an abrupt bass beat, followed by a voice growling my three favorite words: “Fucking bow down!”
It was my first experience with the musical style of Born of Osiris, and it’s still my honest favorite release by them to date. Just a quick 20 minutes long, The New Reign packs a fury of punchy and bouncy riffs and beats that still to this day makes me jump around like a schizophrenic rabbit with Parkinson’s. While every album BOO has released since then has featured a much more deep ambient and atmospheric sound, the best part of the New Reign is that it’s simple, yet still complex as only bands like BOO could master. The opening riffs to Open Arms To Damnation have narrated my dreams since 2009. The beat to Brace Legs makes me feel like at any moment I’ll get my knees smashed in by baseball bats. And the “Asian-core” breakdown of Abstract Art leads me to believe that if I played this album in Japan, I might be attacked by samurai wielding dildos cut from steel forged in the magma pits of Mt. Fuji.
I hold the New Reign up there with the album, The Common Man’s Collapse by BOO’s Sumerian label mates, Veil of Maya. Both albums have such a flawlessly complex, yet simple sounds that they’ve never been able to repeat (It’s not Safe to Swim Today > every song they’ve released since). Both bands have progressed leaps and bounds with their more recent efforts, but to me, nothing beats that classic, punchy sound.
#8: Chelsea Grin – Self Titled
EP Released: 2008
Written by George Gray.
Chelsea Grin could not have burst into the scene any stronger than they did with the release of their self-titled EP, ‘Chelsea Grin’. The EP that made the band into the Deathcore heavyweights that would go on to forge two of the most beautifully violent albums that Deathcore had seen since its real inception in the early to mid-2000s.
The EP begins with the most relentless of tracks, ‘Crewcabanger’ the lyrics of which became a cult phenomenon as the meaning behind the song title was about your typical girl who ‘bangs’ all the ‘crew’ I think a football team was in the mix somewhere in there within the references? However, meanings aside, the track is one of those tracks of sheers menacing hatred, spat towards a woman by ironically, inhaling powerful squeals and pit summoning lows. This track is what was so ground breaking for the band, was that that the recording quality (For the time) was amazing, as was the use of recording techniques and technical balances used to display the vocal powerhouse that Alex Koehler is. (See 1:42 of the song)
The guitar tone is, for the entire EP, your standard attacking, low strung and tuned, chug catering sound that serves one purpose and one purpose only, NOT to be pretty, but rather, ugly and off-catching. Something that is raw and powerful, but at the same time, abhorrent and uncomfortable. Almost like one of Hitler’s speeches!
Anywho, the rest of the EP follows suit with the same guitars and riff patterns and breakdown structure as each other song, except for ‘Lifeless’ which raised eyebrows with the neat inclusion of a triangle in the mix, just to keep things interesting. The drum work is pretty stock standard the whole way through also, hit the skins, hit them hard, hit them quick, and you got yourself a Deathcore drummer, party on.
Here it is though, this EP was one of the first to do it, so any calls of ‘Standard!’ and ‘Generic!’ made by me and anybody else in reference to the EP should acknowledge that they are only talking about it in today’s standard, back when it was released in 2008, this was ridiculously heavy, which is why it earned its self the esteem that is still carries to this day. Chelsea Grin was born the day this EP came out. If they are still the same band is yet to be decided, but one thing is certain, this record was one of those gems that was exactly what some kids where looking for. Catchy lyrics, a HEAP of breakdowns, and an easy pattern to follow. Nail those three things a few years ago and you were a god. Now’a days, it renders you boring and an unlistenable!
It’s a shame, because this stuff really is some of the funnest to listen to in your car and are feeling the full extent of road rage.
Chelsea Grin’s ‘Chelsea Grin EP’, kicking goals and shitting on the competition since 2008.
#7: Suicide Silence – Self Titled
EP Released: 2005
Written by Jordan Kimura.
Raw, heavy, cut the shit. Yes, Im talking about the Suicide Silence Self titled EP.
You probably don’t know of it (Not being a hipster fuck) but in mid 2006 Suicide Silence realized a self titled EP. Most people know of the band through their first full length album “The Cleansing” released one year after this Ep. But Ill have you know, if you like aggressive, beat down, chopped up, stabbing, fucking brutal music in any way: Listen to this EP. In my opinion this has got to be SS’s hardest hitting music they have ever written and probably will ever write if the band decides to continue without Mitch. This EP is what SHOULD have gotten deathcore noticed. Although members of the band have changed since this release, but back then the over all talent of the band seemed to be higher. More complex guitar and bass riffs, more raw drums, and screams with more overall power. Now, I’m not saying that when they were in this state they were better because I loved the band then and now. Sound changes over time and will loss and gain of new members. They make their new shit, but it doesn’t mean you can’t still listen to the old. This EP is like a fossil waiting to be found, more people need to hear this. It shows people where Suicide Silence started, and where they are now. THis album has inspired countless bands to take on the deathcore sound and for others to make their music heavier and heavier.
Listening to this album will take you on a dark adventure. When first listening to this album in 2006 I remember sitting in my undeveloped basement on myspace. I saw this on my page and had to give it a listen. It was everything I could have ever wanted. I was like a little boy discovering his first pair of boobs. It was that good. If you were to be dragged behind a truck in the middle of the night, thrown down some steps into a dark basement and chained up. This would be what was playing in the background. This could be the theme song to the apocalypse, buildings falling, car burning, meteors crashing into shit. The breakdowns are slow as hell and will end off with a ridiculously high pinch harmonic to accent the deepness of the breakdown. When people here the word “breakdown” they think “Well somethings wrong with my girlfriend”, “S0 HEAVYMANG BRUTAL4LYFE-0-0-0-0-1-1-0-0-0″ or “Wow, thats a well written and complex breakdown and just better than most”. The “well written and complex breakdown” can suit this EP very well. It really isn’t you common open notes with a slow china/snare combo. The band really did think their writing process through with this whole EP. These reasons among many others are why this EP made it onto the Total Deathcore Top EP’s at #7.
#6: Aegaeon – Exponential Transcendence
EP Released: 2009
Written by Ricky Scricca.
Aegaeon’s Exponential Transcendence EP is anything but your average deathcore record. On it, the band seems to take everything you love about the genre, and take it to another level entirely. The guttural vocals are totally abyssal, the breakdowns are crushing, the riffs and blastbeats are fast as all hell, and the atmospheres are unfathomably large especially for deathcore. Jim Martin’s growls are nearly unprecedented and have proved to be a huge feature for Aegaeon as they’ve plowed their way to the top of the DIY universe, alongside drumming that goes above and beyond the call of duty, and soloing that commands the songs and pilots heavy grooves and chugs.
Ever since the EP, the band has evolved steadily and significantly despite numerous member changes, bringing them to where they are now as a progressive deathcore juggernaut. The EP’s legacy is still distinct, showing a young band with distinct, unique atmospheric and progressive tendencies grooving hard and heavily before it began to really develop off of the following LP titled Dissension. But even just in their bare roots, it’s clear to see the amount of pride they take in pushing the boundaries of the too-often clichéd deathcore genre, which is definitely an admirable quality to say the least.
Overall, the EP is pleasantly cohesive and markedly focused, and shows the bare roots of a band for whom the sky has been the limit. It’s simultaneously brutal and interesting, and is just about equally apt for headbanging as it is for sit-down listens, which just goes to show the level of musicianship the band put into the record (particularly notable for such an early release).
#5: Eat A Helicopter – The Pessimist
EP Released: 2010
Written by Nikolas P. Velleca.
Eat A Helicopter’s 2010 release “The Pessimist” is almost indescribably heavy. It is the perfect EP of the era. In a time when ridiculous band names and moshy, slow breakdowns were the norm, EAH stood out by outdoing the competition in both respects. The Pessimist is a masterpiece of MySpace-era brutality. It’s nostalgic, nonsensical, and above all else, slow and low.
Paired against more modern offerings, The Pessimist is definitely outdated. No one is arguing that. But, what I (and the other admins) like about this EP is that it is like a time capsule; it’s a look into the roots of deathcore, when all anyone cared about was “verbing the noun” and making breakdowns that could standout in a breakdown video. The EP is a non-stop breakdown fuckfest. I would wager to say that this EP has more breakdowns per capita then anything released recently—maybe even ever. It’s perfect.
The vocals are gritty and strained when it comes to lows, and the highs are piercing and deliberate. Drums are exactly what they need to be: fast double bass, and blasts sprinkled in. The guitars are basically just a medium to deliver the breakdowns. From a technical standpoint, this album isn’t that impressive—but, when taken as a concept, as a symbol of the early days of our genre, that’s when it all come together. It’s the total package: brutal artwork and logo, breakdowns, and it’s catchy. For all its “faults” The Pessimist is truly an exercise in nostalgia. It brings back fond memories, and reminds me of a brutal-er time in metal—a time when bands could have names like Eat A Helicopter and make a name for themselves playing one continuous breakdown. I think it will forever stand the test of time as one of the quintessential myspace-era EPs; an EP that threw caution out the window, and forever solidified breakdown culture. Cheers to EAH. Long live The Pessimist.
#4: Job For A Cowboy – Doom
EP Released: 2005
Written by Todd Hadler.
When Job for a Cowboy’s “Doom EP” came out in 2005, never before has the metal community been so divided. Many metal fans were getting their first taste of this new fusion genre of death metal and hardcore, which was named deathcore. Even though Job for a Cowboy were not the first deathcore band, that goes to Antagony or Despised Icon, they are certainly responsible for helping it be as big as it is today.
“Doom” is so unorthodox on a variety of levels. First off, it is somewhat hard to tell if this is even deathcore at all. Yes, there is breakdowns and pig squeals and things of that nature but the sound of “Doom” has a very strong death metal presence, almost deathgrind sounding. Second, the song structure is nothing like death metal has ever seen. Any particular section in one of the songs do not stay for very long. Look at the opening riff from “Knee Deep,” it goes for about 15 seconds then goes into a breakdown which lasts for about another 15 seconds and so on. Another thing is that there are parts in some songs where it just sounds like the music stops completely. This happens in “The Rising Tide” where is sounds like it is about to transition into the next song but then the music starts back up again and it is still “The Rising Tide.”
Now, unorthodox does not mean that “Doom” is bad, not even by a long shot. Even though the sections do not last long, nothing gets repetitive. None of the songs get repetitive as there is always something constantly different. The riffs on this album, although short, are incredibly catchy and sometimes technical as well. The more technical side of Job for a Cowboy is seen in songs like ‘Relinquished” and “The Rising Tide” while the more breakdown-heavy songs are seen in Doom’s two biggest songs, “Entombment of a Machine” and “Knee Deep.” Guitarists Ravi Bhadriraju and Andrew Arcurio certainly have the skill that some other deathcore guitarists do not have and that is to mesh the breakdowns with the actual riffs. The guitars are not the only standout instrumentation on this EP. Drummer Elliot Sellers does a fantastic job behind the kit providing some excellent fills.
What can be said about Jonny Davy, he is one of the most recognizable vocalists in metal and this is where his legend started. His range is incredible going from ear-piercing highs to some of the most brutal lows that metal has ever heard. Of course, no one can forget the pig-squealing on this EP. Bree-bree become a staple in deathcore, at least for a couple of years, after this EP was released.
The fact of the matter is that this EP defines the phrase, “You either love it or hate it.” “Doom” helped popularize a genre that was just getting its feet wet in the metal landscape and for good reason, as this still stands as one of the best deathcore EP’s ever released. Deathcore was never the same after “Doom” was released. Copycat bands popped up everywhere on MySpace soon after. Everything from the vocals to the song-writing and even Job for a Cowboy’s logo font influenced countless bands after. Fans to this day ask the band to play songs off this EP live, even though Job for a Cowboy have tried to move on from this EP. However, Job for a Cowboy will never move on from “Doom,” as fans from around the world still wait for a song or two from this legendary EP.
#3: Black Tongue – Falsifier
EP released: 2013
Written by Jack Best.
2013 has been a terrific year for Hull based Deathcore band ‘Black Tongue’ with their debut EP ‘Falsifier’ destroying audiences with its own brand of sludgy deathcore brutality. Though fairly simplistic throughout, there is a huge feeling of intensity and atmosphere that bands considered similar just can’t match. The EP is riddled with chugging riffs, some of the best growling vocals I’ve heard personally, and breakdowns which have been scientifically proven to induce diarrhea. Stand out tracks include ‘HCHC’ and the title track ‘Falsifer’, both of which add aspects of melody to the overall brutality.
Black Tongue’s music strays very far away from that of internet based tech Deathcore band Infant Annihilator, a band in which 2 of the 5 musicians in Black Tongue play for. The sweeping technical guitars and the drumming comparable to a pneumatic drill are completely put aside in this EP to create a more sludgy hardcore sound, which I personally feel creates a tighter and heavier sound compared to IA. Personally being my all time favourite deathcore EP, Black Tongue deserve to be on this list because it’s everything deathcore should be. Innovative, atmospheric and extremely heavy.
#2: Acrania – The Beginning Of The End
EP released: 2013
Written by James O’Hagan.
So, I know what you’re thinking. These guys have only been active for about a year and only have two releases. However, their epic explosion of fandom in the past year is astounding. When “The Beginning Of The End” was released on bandcamp, it skyrocketed to the top of the metal charts. The band’s superb blend of technical/brutal death metal, deathcore, and grindcore engages the listener immediately. One second, the guitars are executing impressive chugs in succession with crisp, intense blast beats-when suddenly-a clear-cut transition into a slam-like breakdown is initiated, accompanying brutal guttural vocals and swift drum fills. It’s a blend of metal that cannot, and will not, be avoided.
Lead by one of the best upcoming vocalists in metal, Luke Griffin, Acrania’s distinct blend of tones makes “The Beginning Of The End” one of the catchiest releases in deathcore. The impressive start-stop precision used by both the guitars and drums pack a punch unseen on most deathcore albums, which usually drown themselves in a monotonous mess of blast beats and breakdowns.
The tracks “Auctioneer Of Depravity” and “The Depopulation Programme” make the EP seem like they could possibly get a little diluted in the chase to make an incredibly technical deathcore album-they’re riddled with blast beats and breakdowns and there is not really enough experimentation or a break-away point form this speedy formula of brutal death metal. The incredible range of Griffin’s vocals and some impressive drum fills help catapult these tracks into a higher range of credibility.
Luckily, the band begins to bring less musical technicality to the plate on the final two tracks, “Dimensional Molecular Transcendance” and “A Trophy Of Corporate Disfigurement,” and instead offer a slightly more thoughtful musical backbone to the tracks. The riffs seen on the last two tracks are eerie and face-melting. The bass, not to mention, finally starts to have a significant presence on these tracks and really adds to the frightful tone the band seems to be going for. Griffin’s highs-reminiscent of Carnifex’s Scott Lewis-also really shine during the later half of the album. I mention this because I feel his range is depicted at its apex on these tracks.
The band has gone on to recruit Eddie Pickard, guitarist of Infant Annihilator, to join them on their debut full length, which the band has said should be out early 2014 through Unique Leader Records. We can only wait and see what the boys have in store for us next, but it will be very exciting to see how this promising, young band will grow.
#1: Thy Art Is Murder – Infinite Death
EP Released: 2008
Written By Matt Eyles.
Thy Art Is Murder are one of the biggest bands on the scene, and the release of their first EP (Infinite Death) made them instantly recognizable and almost universally loved for their extremely misogynistic and hateful lyrics, blast beats faster and heavier than any other band, and Brendan Van Ryn’s screeching high screams. Unfortunately, Brendan left the band after the release of the EP due to musical differences, and was replaced by ex-Vegas In Ruins vocalist Chris ‘CJ’ McMahon. The band has gone on to release two full length albums with Chris – The Adversary and Hate. Both were met with amazing reviews and helped the band reach out to a larger audience with a more death metal, matured sound. However, Thy Art Is Murder will forever be known for…timeless classics like Whore To A Chainsaw and Parasitic Autopsy.
The EP opens with ‘I’ll Show You God’, which wastes absolutely no time and goes straight into Thy Art’s signature blast beat sound and Van Ryn’s wailing screams. Thy Art are one of the only bands that can instantly be recognized by a three second clip of any of the songs on this EP, because of their incredibly unique sound. I’ll Show You God also showcases TAIM’s breakdown style, involving quick palm muted chugs and silence inbetween each chug, however, this only serves to increase the intensity of their breakdowns. The second song, and in my opinion, the best on this EP and one of the best deathcore tracks of all time, is Whore To A Chainsaw. This track has somewhat of a cult following, mostly because of it’s hilariously offensive lyrics – for example:
‘Die you fucking whores…You putrid waste of space…Stop breeding fucking rats…You bitches gonna get it!’
But this song is also loved for the it’s sheer brutal-ness. Never have so many blast beats and mini breakdowns congregated in one single song, but TAIM manage to pull it off and make it sound damn perfect. It is one of the heaviest, psychotic, angry songs I have ever heard, and that is what makes this EP the best.
The next two tracks, Parasitic Autopsy and Breeding Bacteria (fantastically disgusting song titles) are a lot more of the same from TAIM, but do not take that as a negative. It is pure deathcore. The EP seems to get more and more intense, building up with steadily heavier and longer breakdowns, ominous solos that are sheer works of art, and increasingly demonic vocals that just seem to emanate a thick smog of hate. Of course, this all serves to erupt into the EP’s exceptionally violent title track – Infinite Death.
This song is everything that has made TAIM so popular. It’s extremely aggressive and doesn’t fuck about with downtempo sections or interludes, it is simply an all out assault on ears, critics and minds. It also contains one of the most memorable lines of a song I’ve ever heard – ‘Enter the mind of a psychopath’. The line alone seems a bit mundane and generic, but when Brendan Van Ryn is screaming that, full pelt over silence, it really sticks with you. This track is a culmination of everything TAIM have excelled in and their most memorable work. A fitting end, and a fitting title track for this astonishing EP.
This EP has yet to be conquered – and very few have come close, but this will forever remain my personal favourite EP of all time, and Total Deathcore’s best EP of all time. Simply astonishing.