Deathcore in the North – 10 Canadian Deathcore Bands
Deathcore is currently morphing and evolving into its next incarnations. Is symphonic deathcore its final form? How about deathcore mixed with power metal? Neither probably are, though it is exciting to see just how the genre is going through different fusions.
On the world stage, the United States is the focal point of deathcore, with Australia and Russia getting into the mix at times with Thy Art is Murder and Slaughter to Prevail, respectfully. But what about Canada? Is the next Lorna Shore lurking in a Tim Hortons in Hamilton, Ontario? Let’s find out:
Beyond Deviation’s vocalist Guillaume Villeneuve has been called a walking death whistle – indeed, at certain points in the band’s songs, it sounds as if a blackened Thomas the Tank Engine with weapon upgrades is rushing towards you. No soothing lights at the end of this tunnel – beyond the extraordinary vocal abilities on display, Gatineau, Quebec’s Beyond Deviation bring mucky, churning deathcore to the end of the line.
Cruelintent, according to the band, are “Ontario beatdown deathcore bringing heavy hitting riffs merging OG and modern deathcore with hardcore elements.” Perfect – now, their new single “Natarja” refers to the Hindu god Shiva in the form of a cosmic dancer. It’s brutal, naturally, but it is still amusing to imagine Natarja dancing methodically to the churning breakdown at the end of the song. Songs like “333” ditch the dancing and raise the brutality with those beatdown elements they were talking about.
If Dragon Force died and was resurrected by the Necronomicon, Dragoncorpse could very well be the result. The band can’t strictly be tied to Canada, as vocalist Mardy Leith is based in Australia and “orchestrations” maestro Dale Urban is based in the US, however the rest of the band is so their appearance here is justified. Musically, they are what happens when deathcore and power metal collide – taking the symphonic trend that deathcore is currently going through and tweaking it that much more, with Hero’s Journey vocals and Guitar Hero shredding accompanying the usual deathcore trappings.
The Planetkiller is the entity of abysmal evil which imbues itself in a being or personal item to bring about the corruption and destruction of all that is good. Featuring Dragoncorpse’s Noah Nikolas Laidlaw on bass, Kelowna, British Colombia’s Planetkiller are a deathcore band very much influenced by the slam side of things, with their song “Futility” making the listeners on Slam Worldwide pee themselves a little. Make sure to check out Fraudulent, the new EP from these eaters of worlds.
Our Last Crusade
Just as Arizona’s Job For A Cowboy made deathcore synonymous with a bull-horned businessman aesthetic back in 2005, Our Last Crusade offer a Canadian update. Being from Calgary, Alberta, known for its oil and gas industry full of individuals not looking dissimilar to the Doom EP cover, and the world-famous Calgary Stampede, in which the city becomes flooded with Walmart cowboy tourists, Our Last Crusade offer an escape from the suffocating country music atmosphere of the city with eight-stringed deathcore for fans of Comeback Kid, Lamb of God and After the Burial.
Elevate the Virus
Elevate the Virus are one of the current bands who are proving that the metal scene in Eastern Canada is full of uncharted treasures. If wandering around a neighborhood in Saint John, New Brunswick, you may come across a dilapidated house – you see windows shaking and feel the boom of an earthquake coming from inside – just another practice day for Elevate the Virus, the groove-orientated, breakdown machine that is taking over the hood.
Pillars of Autumn
Toronto’s Pillars of Autumn came onto the scene with a brand of conceptual deathcore which does bring the style into intriguing regions. The five-piece band build upon the brutality of the core sound with brooding atmospheric elements and the odd piano jingle, which give their story-driven compositions a sense of grandeur. Their Sodomizer two-album epic best illustrates their cause – being a brutal and beautiful deathcore chronicle.
If you ever wondered what Al Swearengen might listen to if he was living in modern times, here’s your answer, c*********. Montreal’s Deadwood have been around town for a decade now, and pride themselves on evolving into a more savage animal with each release. In December, 2022, they released Inhuman, an EP that is hell bent on making deathcore brutal again.
Who says you need a full band to make a deathcore band? Downtempo deathcore band Nylist is the project of one man – the fittingly named Fred Nylist, though honestly, it’s hard to tell when listening. What’s more interesting, though, is the hour-long track “Nylist 666” that features 666 vocalists from around the world helping Nylist break a record for the most vocal solos in a song recording. For ambition alone, Nylist gets an A+.
Art of Attrition
From Red Deer, Alberta, Art of Attrition give deathcore the blackened, symphonic treatment. Worry not about it being watered down and soft as wet toilet paper due to the word symphonic, though. The band manages to balance their savagery with dynamic orchestral parts for a disgustingly harmonious experience. Listen to The Void Eternal for a barrage of sound and fury akin to an orchestra of ogres and specters.