Metalcore has been going strong since the early 2000s, and Unearth have often been at the forefront as one of the genre's most enduring bands. The Boston-based band led by singer Trevor Phipps are building up to their eighth studio album, The Wretched, The Ruinous, which is on track for a May 5 release, and we've tasked Phipps with sharing his thoughts on some of the genre's overlooked metalcore acts from the 2000s that he feels should have been bigger.
Who better than an artist who rose through the ranks with some of these acts, has seen the genre evolve over time and watched as some of his peers have never quite hit that threshold for success that he would have envisioned to pull together a list such as this.
Before we jump into it, Unearth recently released the third single from their new album, titled "Into the Abyss." It follows the previously released "Mother Betrayal" and the title track. You can get the new album here and catch them live at these stops. Have a listen below, and then see which bands that Trevor chooses as 2000s Metalcore Bands That Should Have Been Bigger.
Unearth, "The Abyss"
These guys had the sound of the times in the early 2000s. Their emotionally charged, heavy hardcore lifts the hairs on your neck when vocalist Ray Harkins throws his soul into the songs. Still crushing stages in 2023. See them if they're near you. And They Slept is a must listen to album.
When we toured with Martyr AD in 2001 they seemed to get heavier every night. Some of the heaviest the American metal/hardcore movement had in the early 2000s. Also still smashing stages occasionally. Just check out their song "Broken Mouth"
We played a couple gigs with this Bay Area band. Progressive, heavy, catchy, atmospheric, genre bending songs made their Patent Distorted a mainstay in our CD rotation in the tour van for years. Peter Layman (guitarist/songwriter) had a brief moment in Unearth in 2005 on guitar and is now back with us as a full time member.
A vicious, heavy, energetic, dissonant and innovative band that we were lucky enough to play multiple gigs with in the early 2000s. Drummer and band member Dave Witte knows good music.
What a band. They mixed post-hardcore and heavy hardcore so very well. Catchy enough songs to be massive, but they disbanded before they got the chance. Joe Musten from Beloved went on to form Advent, a crushingly heavy hardcore band that rips.
Before Scott Vogel formed Terror, his band Buried Alive was one of the best bands in heavy hardcore. The Death of Your Perfect World was in everyone's possession in the North Shore of Massachusetts back in 1999/2000.
Please listen to Chronoclast and let some of Canada's finest take you on their musical journey.
Reclaim and Conquer was the first album released by Ironclad Recordings, the label yours truly and my lifelong friend Ryan "Bud" Bentley formed in the early 2000s. Ryan was running merch for us at a gig in Quebec in 2001 and this band opened the gig. Their ferocity and uncompromising mix of Sepultura-inspired metal meets heavy hardcore was everything we needed to hear to start a record label. Cannot recommend this album enough.
These guys did a lot of heavy touring and crushed stages everywhere they went. They still crush when they play live, which isn't very often.
Yes these guys are massive in Europe. They headline massive festivals and are one of Germany's biggest metal bands of all time. They have many timeless records and although they have fans worldwide, it pales in comparison to the size of the band they truly are. This is a big stage band that brings unrelenting heaviness.