|Cultural origins||Early to mid-1990s, United States|
Mathcore is a rhythmically complex and dissonant style of metalcore. It was pioneered by bands such as Converge, Coalesce, Botch and the Dillinger Escape Plan. The term mathcore is suggested by analogy with math rock. Both math rock and mathcore make use of unusual time signatures. Math rock groups such as Slint, Don Caballero, Shellac, Drive Like Jehu and Dazzling Killmen have some influence on mathcore, though mathcore is more closely related to metalcore. Prominent mathcore groups have been associated with grindcore.
An early antecedent to mathcore was practiced by Black Flag, in 1984, with the album My War: "Its seven-minute metal dirges and fusion-style time signatures proved too much for many fans". Many groups from the mathcore scene paid tribute to Black Flag for the album Black on Black.
In the 1990s, groups now often described as mathcore were grouped together as "noisecore". Kevin Stewart-Panko of Terrorizer referred to groups such as Neurosis, Deadguy, Cave In, Today Is the Day, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Converge, Coalesce, Candiria, Botch, and Psyopus as described by this label. Stewart-Panko described the sound of these bands as a "dynamic, violent, discordant, technical, brutal, off-kilter, no rules mixture of hardcore, metal, prog, math rock, grind and jazz."
The portmanteau term "mathcore" emphasizes the influence taken from math rock: math rock with hardcore. The earliest known bands to record this hybrid include Rorschach, Starkweather, Botch, and Converge. Throughout the 1990s, several other groups started to emerge: Cave In from Massachusetts, Cable from Connecticut, Coalesce from Kansas City, and Knut from Switzerland. The term mathcore was coined at the release of The Dillinger Escape Plan's 1999 debut album Calculating Infinity. The Dillinger Escape Plan is often considered the "pioneer" of mathcore. Before the term "mathcore", the style had only been referred to as "noisecore", though the genre's existence before this time is generally recognized.
In the early 2000s several new mathcore bands started to emerge. These bands were rarely described as such, but were commonly related to mathcore pioneers or cited a major mathcore band as an influence. Norma Jean's earlier records are often compared to Converge and Botch. Other new mathcore bands that cite older mathcore bands as an influence or are compared to one include Car Bomb, The Locust, Daughters, Some Girls, Look What I Did, and The Number Twelve Looks Like You.
The term is generally applied by journalists, rather than by musicians themselves. Jacob Bannon of Converge stated:
|“||I really don't know what mathcore is. Converge is an aggressive band. We have elements of hardcore, punk, and metal for sure. But I think trying to define our efforts and other bands with a generic subgenre name is counter productive. We all have something unique to offer and should be celebrated for those qualities rather than having them generalized for easy consumption.||”|
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