Screamo is an aggressive, constantly evolving emo subgenre that is heavily influenced by hardcore punk and thrash metal.
If you were an angst-filled teenager in the early 2000s, this article will take you down a trip to memory lane.
So, let’s take a look at the 20 best screamo bands of all time to see what exactly it is that makes them so popular.
Silverstein is a Canadian rock band that derives its name from the famous children’s author Shel Silverstein.
Their debut album When Broken Is Easily Fixed was a startling blend of emo’s serious determination, hardcore components, and the strongest of heavy metal music.
The album opens with a ragged scream that’s as captivating as the lead singer Shane Told’s singing is mournful.
On the album, Told sings heartbreaking lines like “When everyone has left me here, I’ll make it on my own” and “How can I ever stop you from crushing my soul? It was, it was yours, yours to begin with” in broken high vocals.
The dynamic transitions and powerful melodies of emo dominate the band’s music.
Released in 2021, their latest album Misery Made Me features guest vocals by Andrew Neufeld from Comeback Kid, Mike Hranica from The Devil Wears Prada, Trevor Daniel, and Nothing, Nowhere.
2. Asking Alexandria
Asking Alexandria is a British rock band that was formed in 2006.
To date, they have released seven albums, three extended plays, along with more than thirty singles.
They have also won Best Metal/Hardcore Album for their 2011 album Reckless & Relentless.
Asking Alexandria’s second full-length album blends their usual trademark sound of down-tuned riffs with bouts of dancefloor-friendly synthesizers and drum machine.
Like most screamo albums, Reckless & Relentless includes harsh screaming and throaty death-metal growling while the rest of the band adds their choirboy crooning on the choruses.
The band’s musical style has varied over the years, and their 2013 release From Death to Destiny is lyrically their most mature album.
The album moved away from the usual “girls and drugs” metalcore to create a more intimate hard rock album with post-grunge influences, with the metalcore elements toned down significantly.
3. Attack Attack!
The debut studio album of American metalcore band Attack Attack!, titled Someday Came Suddenly, was released in 2008.
Many of the album’s lyrics are strongly Christian, while the use of guitars is a powerful addition to the screaming vocals.
Attack Attack! pare down the band’s sound and emphasize intensity for their album This Means War (2012), their most powerful and cohesive effort yet.
This Means War has now been the band’s highest charting album to date, debuting at number 11 on the Billboard 200 and peaking at the same.
4. The Used
Vulnerable includes a similar blend of hard rock and emotional pop as the band’s previous albums, but it differs musically in that it makes extensive use of electronic beats and effects.
The appropriately titled “I Come Alive” opener is powerful and full of vitality.
It is big and theatrical, with a spooky choral arrangement sound and an electronic bell or chime effect.
Meanwhile, “Now That You’re Dead” has rougher voices than the rest of the tracks.
They are gritty, gruff, and frequently yelled, as opposed to the commonly used bright, emo-pop tone.
Vulnerable contains a diverse range of musical styles from start to finish.
The Used has released eight studio albums, two live albums, one compilation album, three extended plays, one demo, three video albums, 20 singles, and 27 music videos.
After releasing their self-titled debut album in 2002, The Used quickly became one of the era’s leaders, with many of their albums being certified gold and platinum by the RIAA and selling over 10 million copies worldwide.
5. Sleeping With Sirens
Sleeping With Sirens will always have a special place in the hearts of each self-proclaimed emo-music enthusiast.
They are also not afraid of a change in tone.
Their discography serves as a showcase for this, as they haven’t bothered staying true to either their heavy core beginnings or their earlier foray into pop punk.
The band rose to prominence with their song “If I’m James Dean, You’re Audrey Hepburn,” which was released as the lead single off their debut album, With Ears to See and Eyes to Hear, in 2010.
Sleeping with Sirens is well recognized for the variety of vocalist Kellin Quinn’s leggero tenor vocal range, as well as the powerful sound employed in their early work and the pop influences used later in their career.
They have released six studio albums, one extended play, one live album, one compilation album, 33 singles, and 16 music videos.
6. Escape the Fate
Originally from Pahrump, Nevada, Escape the Fate is an American band originating from Las Vegas.
Their song “Ungrateful” is one of their most popular songs up till now, having garnered 10 million views on Youtube alone.
Escape the Fate returned with their seventh studio album, Chemical Warfare, in 2021 to show why their explosive combination of hard rock is still going strong fifteen years after the band’s debut in 2006.
While many fans are better familiar with the band’s earlier harder material, such as Dying Is Your Latest Fashion (2006) and This War is Ours (2010), Chemical Warfare makes an effort to connect Escape the Fate’s past and current selves.
After six albums, including Chemical Warfare, Escape the Fate seems to be at ease with its unique style and sound.
The fast-paced energy of “Hand Grenade” feels post-hardcore and new-age rock, while “Ashes” boasts soaring vocals and forceful chords.
7. Falling in Reverse
Falling in Reverse is an American rock band founded by lead vocalist Ronnie Radke while he was detained in prison.
In 2011, the trio released its debut album, The Drug in Me Is You, which peaked at No. 19 on the Billboard 200.
Radke’s personal experiences, such as those involving his mother, Las Vegas’s corruption, and his many arrests and releases from prison on drug and battery-related crimes, serve as the primary sources of inspiration for the lyrics of the band’s music.
Several songs discussed his leaving Escape the Fate after the band fired him and brought in a replacement.
Although the band had pretty controversial beginnings, they have done well for themselves, having won quite a few accolades over the years, the latest being Octane’s “Big ‘Uns of the Year” in 2022.
Alesana has five full-length studio albums and three EPs to their credit.
The band began to gain a following quickly after the publication of their debut, On Frail Wings of Vanity and Wax.
The album had a musical style that alternated between light and strong sounds, as well as a wide range of influences spanning from punk, metal, pop, and even classic rock acts such as the Beatles.
Alesana has gained some notoriety for its utilization of three guitar players.
On Frail Wings of Vanity and Wax was their first step into concept albums, with the majority of songs based on Greek mythology—the title being a nod to the story of Icarus.
Due to their frequent use of light influences paired with strong outputs and metal-influenced screaming vocals, Alesana’s overall genre has proven difficult to pinpoint.
9. Black Veil Brides
Inspired by Kiss and Mötley Crüe, their use of black makeup, body paint, tight black studded clothing, and long hair is the Black Veil Brides’ most recognizable feature.
Since the group’s inception in 2006, Black Veil Brides’ aesthetic has been constantly evolving.
With the addition of guitarist Jake Pitts, practically every track they now create features guitar solos.
The lyrics of Black Veil Brides have addressed issues that are important to people who feel like misfits in society.
Their first album, We Stitch These Wounds, was classified as mostly metalcore.
They have six albums to their credit and have received over twenty awards and accolades for their efforts.
10. Of Mice & Men
Metalcore and post-hardcore have been used to describe Of Mice & Men’s previous work.
Their latest material, on the other hand, has been seen as more melodic, transitioning towards genres such as nu-metal, alternative metal, and hard rock while retaining their original sound.
The band’s style features a mix of aggressive vocals and conventional singing.
They have seven albums to their credit thus far.
Their self-titled debut album received critical and public praise, cementing their status as metalcore icons.
Their first song “YDG” is a scorching piece full of riffs and breakdowns, whereas “They Don’t Call It The South For Nothing,” their iconic live track, is excellent for chant-along crowds, with lyrics like “I said I’d fight back, I didn’t say that I’d fight fair.”
They’ve nailed the perfect combination of harsh yells and soulful clean vocals in their songs.
The breakdowns are infectious, the bass is strong, and the drums are fantastic, elevating the metalcore genre to new heights.
11. Bring Me the Horizon
The band started their music career with their album Count Your Blessings.
The album’s deathcore sound divided fans and was widely dismissed by critics upon its initial release.
Suicide Season, the band’s second album, released in 2008, marked a creative, critical, and commercial turning point for the group as they started to depart from the deathcore style.
Sempiternal (2013), their major label debut, was certified Gold in Australia and Silver in the United Kingdom.
Bring Me The Horizon has changed itself numerous times, taking on deathcore and alt-pop, and even turning metalcore on its head with their famous album Sempiternal.
12. The Devil Wears Prada
The band members’ beliefs, as well as the subjects in their music, led to the term “Christian metalcore” being applied to their genre.
They have eight studio albums, one demo, three extended plays, 28 singles, and 29 music videos under their belt.
Color Decay, their latest album released in 2022, combines uncompromising ferocity with broad sounds and insightful lyricism.
After years of good and constant evolution, The Devil Wears Prada mastered creating a thought-provoking, anthemic, and confrontational sound.
They certainly do not fail to innovate in their albums, attempting to incorporate new sounds and thoughts.
Their album Dead Throne (2011) was praised for its more experimental and orchestral approach to metalcore, as well as its less manufactured, rawer, and more brutal sound.
13. Suicide Silence
Since its inception in 2002, the band has released six studio albums, three EPs, and 19 music videos.
Their debut full-length The Cleansing, released in 2007, has become a deathcore mainstay and remains popular to this day.
No Time To Bleed was released in 2009 to critical acclaim, after which they won the Revolver Golden God Award for “Best New Talent” in 2009.
The band’s vocals alternate between death growls and high-pitched screaming vocals utilized in black metal.
Suicide Silence’s third album, The Black Crown, saw the band experimenting with various nu-metal tendencies.
On their sixth album, Become the Hunter (2020), the band reverted to their deathcore roots.
The band has proven why it is still regarded as one of the best deathcore bands of all time.
They have demonstrated their lack of fear of the past by returning to the fundamentals of their roots.
There is also some fresh experimenting in their newer albums, although it is not distracting enough from the older sound.
While some may find the title of the album incredibly depressing, Remember… You Must Die, the band’s latest release, tells us to seize life by the horns, let go, and have a good time.
14. We Came as Romans
We Came as Romans’ musical style has been categorized as post-hardcore and metalcore.
Their songs frequently incorporate melodic parts with symphonic accompaniment, such as violin and piano ballads.
They’ve also been described as a cross between hardcore and screamo.
We Came As Romans is one of the original late-2000s metalcore artists that helped propel the genre to mainstream prominence.
The band, along with kindred bands such as Attack Attack!, Asking Alexandria, and The Word Alive, established a trademark sound that other bands failed to imitate.
Brutal breakdowns, haunting synthesizers, and bubble gum pop clean vocals revolutionized metalcore and continue to reign supreme to this day.
The lyrics of the band have a generally positive tone, covering issues such as purpose, optimism, brotherhood, and morality.
Their self-titled 2015 album represented a major stylistic transition to a more radio-friendly sound, demonstrating the band’s evolution from their heavier metalcore roots to a more alternative metal, melodic approach, embracing a more mature sound.
15. Taking Back Sunday
Taking Back Sunday is an odd band, with three albums of mostly similar emotional rock with only minor differences in sound to distinguish one album from the others.
“Cute Without The ‘E’ (Cut From The Team),” taken from the group’s Tell All Your Friends 2002 debut, is still regarded as Taking Back Sunday’s signature song and one of the genre’s defining moments 17 years after its release.
Twenty (2019) is a fantastic mile-marker for both the past and the present, demonstrating what a fantastic and essential band Taking Back Sunday was in the past and still is now.
Their songs addressed every aspect of being an emotional punching bag while also mocking bleeding-heart cliches.
The balance between humor and honesty runs through their debut, Tell All Your Friends, which has been restored and is still compelling.
16. A Day to Remember
They are well-known for combining metalcore and pop punk.
They have seven studio albums, three video albums, three extended plays, and twenty-one singles to their credit.
The band’s debut album, dubbed the heaviest release in their catalog, left a tremendous impression on fans.
“1958” appears to be the hardest song on the album, while “Heartless” was virtually a perfect way to kick off the record, with its quick guitars and strong drum beat.
The lyrics on their 2009 album Homesick are similar to their past efforts, with the band striving to keep it as personal and accessible as possible.
The album consisted of flawlessly executed clean vocal post-hardcore emo-pop.
The band’s longest hiatus between albums in their whole existence was broken with the release of their 2021 album You’re Welcome, which was also their first new music in five years.
17. Bullet for My Valentine
Bullet for My Valentine began their music career by performing Metallica and Nirvana songs under the name Jeff Killed John.
Metallica, Iron Maiden, and Slayer have all been mentioned as influences on the band’s sound.
Bullet for My Valentine creates melodic, metallic, dark rock songs with powerful guitars and emo harmonies, as well as influences from ’80s metal bands and punk-infused metal.
Gravity, their sixth album, saw the band play their biggest shows ever and surpass more than a billion catalog streams in the United States alone—but it nonetheless divided hardcore fans with its dazzling musical alterations and complete lack of guitar solos.
The Poison, their debut album, displayed a melodic metal-meets-emo aesthetic laced with powerful chords and classic metal on the album.
It features catchy tunes with clean and rapid guitar sounds and a pop undertone that complements the drumming, a great characteristic of a metalcore album.
18. The Amity Affliction
The Amity Affliction is recognized for its deeply personal compositions, which frequently deal with sadness, anxiety, death, substance misuse, and suicide, with many lyrics inspired by frontman Joel Birch’s personal experiences.
The band is revered due to the crushing, crunching guitars built around vocalist Joel Birch’s normally bleak-yet-poetic lyrics.
The Amity Affliction’s debut studio album, Severed Ties, was released in 2008, while Let the Ocean Take Me came out in 2014, of which “Pittsburgh” garnered 25 million views on Youtube alone.
They published their album, Everyone Loves You… Once You Leave Them, in 2020, and have won numerous prizes, including nominations for both the APRA and ARIA Music Awards.
The band takes the lead with some of the album’s hardest tracks.
“Soak Me In Bleach” and “All My Friends Are Dead” are both superb examples of current metalcore.
“Soak Me In Bleach” is a polished song with a catchy chorus and a crisp delivery from co-vocalist and bassist Ahren Stringer.
19. Motionless in White
Motionless in White’s song composition frequently includes complicated riffs with intermittent blast beats throughout verses and breakdowns.
The band’s keyboard effects are also quite obvious, with the group’s debut album Creatures claiming to give a gloomy and unsettling atmosphere.
Following up from the critically successful Disguise, the album Scoring The End Of The World features 13 tracks of nonstop apocalyptic excitement.
Disguise established a high standard for the Scranton band, but they’ve done a great job at exceeding expectations.
While Motionless’ vocals occasionally sound overly autotuned in their latest album, the lead singer easily captures the terror and wrath we all experienced throughout the pandemic.
Motionless is a band that knows who they are and what they want to sound like, having already released five studio albums.
In light of this, there is always space for improvement.
With its guitar and synth-led beginning, “Sign Of Life” fits well into the metalcore genre.
Cleans and rap sections are interspersed with somber lyrics that explore the impact a poor apple may have on the soul.
The weight behind each of What It Is To Burn’s parts may be the first thing you notice when you listen to the album.
To play music this sincere, entire dedication is required, and the way “New Beginnings” thunders into life is undeniable.
The guitars played by Strohmeyer and Linares come out of nowhere with octaves and a down-tuned chug, and they nearly challenge you not to be carried away by their tune.
On “What It Is to Burn,” Barcalow alternates between crooning and shouting; while his vocal approach is pop punk-inspired, his screams have been compared to Palumbo and Deftones leader Chino Moreno.
Finch returned to the studio for Back To Oblivion, their first full-length album in nine years.
The strong vocals and the pulsing beat on the rousingly catchy, great self-titled opener “Back To Oblivion” make it one of the band’s strongest tracks to date and an album highlight.
Best Screamo Bands of All Time – Final Thoughts
So, there you have it, folks!
A list of the 20 best screamo bands of all time.
You may notice that most of the bands in this article have changed their sound over the years.
Some of the bands on this list are unmistakably emo, metalcore, heavy metal, and frequently punk, as punk is a major influence on all screamo music.
This just proves that music is an ever-changing industry, where artists must stay up to date, or else they’ll be considered outdated.
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