Photos: (Jesse Leach, Killswitch Engage) - Mark Horton + (Winston McCall, Parkway Drive) - Classic Rock Magazine / Getty Images
Metalcore has become one of the most popular sub-genres of heavy music over the last few decades, fusing the raw energy found in hardcore punk music with metal riffs and breakdowns.
While the genre's origins can be traced way back to the late 1980s with New York hardcore bands like Agnostic Front and Cro-Mags, metalcore really took off during the latter half of the 1990s with bands like Converge, Shai Hulud, Zao, Earth Crisis and others finding underground success.
Since then, countless bands have thrown their hat in the ring (remember MySpace?), and while the sound has changed somewhat since the turn of the millennium, some just did it better than the rest and have stood the test of time since.
With that said, and in no particular order, here's our list of 12 of the very best metalcore albums out there:
Killswitch Engage - Alive Or Just Breathing (2002)
Alive or Just Breathing was a monumental release which really paved the way for metalcore over the decade to come. The band's sophomore LP (and debut Roadrunner release) had everything you could want from the genre - balls to the wall metal riffs, huge breakdowns and catchy choruses.
This classic record earned Killswitch Engage significant attention, and cemented guitarist Adam D as one of the genre's most influential songwriters and producers (a name you'll be seeing a lot more of in this list!).
You could easily argue that their next album The End of Heartache be here instead, but Alive or Just Breathing just edges it out for us with its raw intensity and impact. Check out the epic footage of the band playing through most of these songs at This Is Hardcore 2014, with no stage barriers or security present!
Trivium - Ascendancy (2005)
Another sophomore LP, and coincidentally another debut with Roadrunner Records, Ascendancy threw Trivium onto the radar of millions around the world - and for good reason!
Impressive musicianship was made even more so learning that every member aged between 19-25 at the time, and their furious brand of metalcore pulsed with a youthful exuberance.
There are still so many metallic bangers to be found here including 'Like Light To The Flies' and the title track, too.
Converge - Jane Doe (2001)
Converge are widely regarded as one of the most influential bands in metalcore, and their fourth album Jane Doe is seen by many fans and critics as not only their best record, but one of the most seminal pieces of music ever created.
Jane Doe is a much more abrasive and chaotic affair when you put it up against other bands like Killswitch Engage, a fact which is immediately apparent with the shotgun-blast to the face that is the opening track 'Concubine'.
But where other metalcore was prone to repetition and falling into its own mold, Converge displayed a versatility by incorporating influences ranging from hardcore punk, to thrash metal and even doom metal over its twelve tracks.
Nothing else sounds like Jane Doe to this day, and its legacy will be remembered for many years to come.
Parkway Drive - Horizons (2007)
The atmosphere around the Australian heavy music scene was electric in the lead-up to Parkway Drive's sophomore record Horizons, and it was clear that this was going to be a special turning point for the popularity of heavy music in the country.
Already riding off the back of their incredible debut album Killing With A Smile, Parkway shot onto the world stage with this huge record that has it all - the huge singalong in 'Carrion', the earth-shattering breakdown in 'Boneyards' and the riffs in 'Idols and Anchors' are just some of the highlights that make this our favourite PWD record.
Killswitch Engage's Adam D also produced the album, giving it that expert touch only he knew how to do.
As I Lay Dying - An Ocean Between Us (2007)
Putting aside the future crimes of vocalist Tim Lambesis, As I Lay Dying's fourth album stands as one of the most complete works in the genre they found themselves at the forefront of.
Leaning more on the metal stylings of bands like At The Gates and Entombed, An Ocean Between Us is full of incredible guitar leads set over down-tuned chugs, finding a near-perfect balance of heaviness and melody.
Guess who produced it? Yep, it was Adam D. Seems like almost everything this guy touched turned to gold!
Poison The Well - The Opposite Of December (1999)
While bands like Slipknot and Limp Bizkit were busy popularising nu-metal among the mainstream in 1999, Poison The Well were doing the same thing in the music underground with their iconic debut album The Opposite of December.
Like Converge's Jane Doe, this one was a watershed moment for metalcore that is still revered today for its impassioned fusion of early metalcore with emo music. Its production is definitely on the raw side (especially compared to others on the list), but the songs still hold up amazingly well.
Poison The Well would go on to release four more albums before a hiatus in 2010, but their debut effort still remains their best.
Underoath - Define The Great Line (2006)
People already knew Underoath were a great band in the mid-2000s, but nobody was ready for the step-up the band would take with Define The Great Line.
Way darker, heavier and more eerie than anything else they'd put out before, DTGL was a masterpiece in atmospheric metalcore that felt like a journey from beginning to end. Hearing Spencer Chamberlain's newly-trained vocal style blast through the speakers for the first time was a real "holy shit!" moment, and there were plenty more to find throughout.
Define The Great Line debuted at number 2 on the Billboard 200 with 98,000 first-week sales, an extremely rare feat for a band so largely inaccessible. This one was Adam D's work too, which reflected on his ability to help shape heavy albums of different kinds.
Bring Me The Horizon - Sempiternal (2013)
Sempiternal represents the perfect melding pot of Bring Me The Horizon's chug-heavy songs from the past and their more experimental side that would follow afterward, resulting in one of metalcore's most polished and diverse moments.
It was the first record that the band had released since signing to a major label, and with a bigger budget they enlisted Terry Date (Deftones, Limp Bizkit, Incubus) to bring a massive, arena-filling sound to make every breakdown, chorus and ambient section completely glisten in your ears.
Worship keyboardist Jordan Fish assisted in the writing of the album, and then became a permanent fixture of the band following its release. Standout tracks include 'Go To Hell For Heaven's Sake', 'Shadow Moses' and 'Crooked Young', but there's nothing skip-able on here at all.
Misery Signals - Controller (2008)
While bands like Killswitch Engage and As I Lay Dying kick the door down with straight-up heaviness, Misery Signals instead take the side route to get the job done, and Controller is a perfect example of the thinking man's metalcore.
Sure, there are still flourishes of mosh-inducing chugs, but there are also odd time signatures, polyrhythms and deep melody which result in some uniquely refreshing tracks.
Every deep bellow from vocalist Karl Schubach thunders in your ears, while production from Devin Townsend wraps the whole thing up in a warm, grand and beautiful sounding package.
If you haven't familiarised yourself with this very underrated band, Controller is a perfect place to start! They've got a new record called Ultraviolet coming out very soon as well.
All That Remains - The Fall Of Ideals (2006)
All That Remains were dipping their toes in the metalcore pool up until 2006, but with The Fall Of Ideals they began to fully embrace the melodic side of things and sink right in.
You could argue that the songs here were largely formulaic by the genre's standards, but it was executed better than almost any other band at the time, serving as a springboard for their successful career.
Your boy Adam D took the helm for production here as well. That's five albums on this list alone!
Botch - We Are The Romans (1999)
Botch only had a brief career as a band, but their impact was everlasting thanks to their second and final album, We Are The Romans. What set this release apart from anything else at the time was its clever incorporation of mathcore elements and abrasive dissonance.
From the slow, brooding 'To Our Friends In The Great White North', to the pummeling and chaotic 'Mondarian Was a Liar', this is metalcore in its most unbridled form.
Listening to this today, you can hear the obvious influence this album had on countless bands like Norma Jean, Every Time I Die, Cancer Bats and The Fall Of Troy, and it's amazing just how well it holds up two decades later.
Architects - Lost Forever // Lost Together (2014)
Architects have been metalcore mainstays since the mid-late 2000s, constantly shifting their sound and reinventing themselves to stay ahead of the curve, but we think Lost Forever // Lost Together is one of the most massive releases the genre has seen.
This has everything that makes Architects stand above the pack - technical songwriting, destructive breakdowns, soaring melody and immeasurable individual talent (RIP, Tom Searle) combine for a gold standard in modern metalcore.
Don't get us wrong, we love the more furious Hollow Crown-era Architects too, but LF//LT is a cohesive and complete listening experience.
What are some of your favourite metalcore albums and bands? There are heaps of great bands out there that didn't make the cut, but we'd love to hear what your list would look like.