Shaping Metal: Top 3 Most Influential Mathcore Albums


Fusing disorienting fury of hardcore punk with the experimental elements of progressive and avantgarde musical genres, Mathcore paved the way for a plethora of bands in the late 90s wishing to carry for torch for both extremity and virtuosity into the 21st century. On this week’s addition of ‘Shaping Metal’, we will be looking at three albums that set the benchmark for this intriguing subgenre of extreme music.


  1. Botch – “We Are the Romans” (1 November 1999)


Botch’s second and final full-length album is a masterclass in the nature of Mathcore. Within its fifty-minute run-time, ‘We Are the Romans’ captivates and descends its listeners into a roller coaster of befuddling rhythmic patterns, abrasive vocalizations, discordant riffage and unconventional song structures before its inevitable close. One of the stand-out aspects that separates this particular release from a lot of its contemporaries is the dynamic approach to performance which is interspersed throughout its run-time. Moments of ballistic cacophony reminiscent of grindcore bands such as Nasum or Pig Destroyer are followed by calm and desolate moments of minimalistic ambiance, which may remind listeners of post-rock acts such as Mogwai or Godspeed! You Black Emperor. This release is a definite point of reference for fans of technical hardcore.


Stand-out tracks: To Our Friends in The Great North, Transitions from Persona to Object


2. The Dillinger Escape Plan – “Calculating Infinity” (28 September 1999)


The Dillinger Escape plan are no strangers to critical acclaim, and this album could very well be attributed in a large part to the success experienced by the band over the last few decades. ‘Calculating Infinity’ is an album that splices the aggression of Powerviolence with the intricate rhythmic patterns of Meshuggah and the eccentric melodic jazz influences of Ornette Coleman. Though ‘Calculating Infinity’ is the bands first full-length studio album, it never fails to deliver a bombastic assault upon each and every listen. Unpredictable tempo changes, sporadic drum fills and funk-influenced chordal sections all lace this album from its opening moments until completion. This is an album that has earned its place as one of the most innovative and influential releases for Mathcore.


Stand-out tracks: 43% Burnt, Clip the Apex…Accept Instruction, Sugar Coated Sour


3. Converge – “Jane Doe” (September 4, 2001)


Converge are perhaps one of the most prolific and cited hardcore bands of the last decade, releasing over 8 full-length masterpieces of sonic assault since the bands conception in 1990. ‘Jane Doe’ is an album that contains all the hallmarks of a mathcore masterpiece: Poetic lyricism’s, energetic performances, discordant melodies and stunted rhythmic motifs. Tracks on this album range from the fast and the furious (Concubine) to the slow and brooding (Hell to Pay). As well as containing some of the most memorable songs written by any mathcore band since the genres roots, ‘Jane Doe’ is marked by its raw production style and oppressive atmosphere. This album also contains a great degree of variation in track lengths, with the shortest track falling just over 40 seconds in length (Phoenix in Flames) and the longest track exceeding 11 minutes (Jane Doe). Ultimately, ‘Jane Doe’ is a release that has stood the test of time and will go down as one of the most important underground extreme music releases of the early 2000’s.