I have seen other people here do this so I thought I should give it a try and talk about my favorite bands. I often have trouble expressing my thoughts into simple cohesive sentences so please bear with me.
1. My Chemical Romance
What can be said about My Chem that hasn't been said before? lol. I guess I can tell you how I found them:
Surprisingly, I first came across this band around 2008-2009 when I was just a 7 year old kid. Back then, because both of my parents worked full time, I would spend the entire afternoon at my aunt’s house. She had a gothy/metalhead teenage son who I shared some interests with. He would occasionally show me bands who had a “spooky” kind of aesthetic. Amongst those bands was My Chemical Romance, who peaked my interest the moment I laid my eyes upon the (pirated) album cover of The Black Parade. My cousin noticed that this album had clearly grabbed my attention and was kind enough to let me take it home along with a small Black Parade poster that he gave me.
However, my parents ended up hiding the CD and throwing the poster away (yay Christian fear-mongering!). And thus, my gateway into the world of “emo” music was closed. That is until 2016, when I found that same old pirated CD while packing things up to move to a new house. By this point, I had somewhat developed my music taste, so I decided to give that old CD a spin to see if I still liked it. Surprisingly, I found myself really enjoying the majority of it. So I decided to immediately go listen to the rest of their discography.
MCR would later go on to become one of the bands that defined the soundtrack of my high school years. Even though The Black Parade was the album that introduced me to them, Three Cheers and Bullets are the ones that truly solidified my love for the band. I loved the vampire aesthetic, Gerard’s manic vocals, Ray’s riffing and the storytelling integrated in the lyrics. I truly believe these 2 albums were my real introduction to alternative music. If it weren’t for them I would probably still be stuck listening to The LivingTombstone or whatever, lol.
2. The Birthday Massacre
This is the other band that also defined my high school years. I’m not 100% sure if I would refer to them as a “scene” band because they play synthrock/gothic rock instead of the common scene genres (post-hardcore, emo-core, metalcore), However, they have toured with some emo/scene bands (like I Am Ghost) and they also nailed the “emo” fashion (specially around 2004-2008). So I think that’s enough to at least consider them emo-adjacent.
I found this band literally just because of youtube’s algorithm. One of those rare cases where it actually recommends to you something good. By the point I discovered this band I was already deep into the early 2010’s warped tour type of bands (SWS, BVB, PTV, BMTH). So finding them felt incredibly refreshing, finally a break from all the “x”-core stuff!
“Blue” was the song that made me fall in love with them. I loved how the dreamy synth-pop parts clashed against heavy metallic riffs. The creepy music video that accompanied that song was just the cherry on top of it all. If you have never heard this band, I recommend either their 2004 debut album “violet” or their 2010 release “pins and needles” which are their best albums in my opinion.
3. From First to Last
Surprisingly, I didn’t come across this band until my first year of college thanks to the fact that Anthony Padilla gave them a shoutout in one of his videos. Based on my experience, very few people seem to remember this band at all. Which is a shame because I think they are the best band to come out of that early 2000’s era of mall emo post-hardcore (Finch, Silverstein, Senses Fail, Underoath). Their music is incredibly versatile, ranging from upbeat songs like “for the taking”; to more melancholic/nostalgic tracks like “populace in two” to even downright vicious songs like “Ride the Wings of Pestilence” which is my personal favorite of theirs.
I truly believe that these guys would have been as big as The Used and Paramore if Sonny had not left the band after Heroine. If you know someone who’s into bands like Get Scared, show them FFTL. Many of the things Get Scared is known for were originally pioneered by FFTL on their Heroine album. So much so that if you look at Get Scared’s “influences” playlist on Spotify, you will find that a good portion of the Heroine album is on there.
4. It Dies Today
This is another band that very few people seem to remember, which amazes me because every single thing this band put out was great. The style of music they play is a perfect blend of mall emo and the most aggressive metal-core you can imagine. Give them a listen and you’ll find yourself constantly switching between singing along to a really catchy chorus, and hardcore dancing to the heaviest breakdown imaginable. I strongly recommend their first album “The Caitiff Choir”; specially if you are a fan of bands like 18 Visions, early BVB and Motionless in White. (I would go as far as to say MIW’s “Fatal” is a rip-off of IDT’s “Defeatism”, but that’s a story for another day).
5. Bring Me the Horizon
“Versatile” falls short on being able to describe the wide range of music styles that BMTH covers. To the point that both me and another person could refer to ourselves as “fans of BMTH” and still have absolutely nothing in common, lol. Personally though, I like everything that they put out up until 2013’s “Sempiternal”. After that they completely lost me with 2019’s “AMO” and it’s been difficult to feel excited for the band’s new releases ever since, hence why they are so low on the list. Still though, their first 4 albums are incredibly meaningful and nostalgic to me. Their 2006 debut “Count Your Blessings” was my introduction to actual heavy music. Before discovering that album I didn’t even know what deathcore was. BMTH opened my ears and my taste to a whole new world of underground heavy music and for that alone I think they deserve to be at least in my top 5.
Also here is a fun fact, in case you’ve ever doubted BMTH’S emo cred, Oli once did vocals for Funeral for a Friend because their singer Matt passed out halfway through a show, lol.
6. Escape the Fate
I’m not gonna lie to you guys, the first time I heard “Situations” by ETF, I wrote them off as just another Falling in Reverse. However, I eventually decided to check out the rest of their songs and I am incredibly glad I did because HOLY CRAP THIS BAND IS SO FREAKING GOOD. Songs like “There’s No Sympathy for The Dead”, “The Ransom” and “The Guillotine” are all scene classics that the guys in ETF dropped in just their first EP, an incredibly solid start for a band. And as if that wasn’t enough of a legacy, they followed that up with “My Apocalypse” and “Not Good Enough for Truth in Cliché”; 2 songs that to this day people still listen to and wrongly associate with Falling in Reverse.
Ronnie once said on a livestream that his 2 biggest influences when forming ETF where MCR’s “Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge” and Underoath’s “They are only chasing safety”. And honestly, I think what he said perfectly nails the ETF sound. Those first 2 ETF releases sound like if someone took Three Cheers and cranked up the metal to 101%. This band would have been the future (now present) face of metal if people’s egos had not gotten in the way, a damn shame honestly.
As for the current iteration of ETF, as much as I like Craig and TJ, nothing can truly replace the magic that Ronnie and Max brought to the table, it just isn’t there anymore, at least from my perspective.
I found this band while listening to the soundtrack of the 2005 horror movie “House of Wax”. The opening riff of the song that was featured on there, “Gun in Hand”, hit me like a truck and made me immediately fall in love with the band. The sound of their second album “And We Are Bled of Color” is basically your standard 2005 post hardcore sound but with a bit more of a metallic edge akin to bands like The Used, Finch and early Funeral for a Friend.
What really caught my attention though, is their first independently released album titled “Broken in Pieces”; which sounds like a weird yet impressive mix of late 90’s nu metal and early 2000’s emo post-hardcore. There are a lot of Korn and Deftones inspired grooves throughout this album, which makes it a perfect snapshot of that time period where nu metal was slowly fading from the mainstream while emo was simultaneously raising to the mainstream. Go give it a listen if you haven’t.
8. The Used
It would be criminal to talk about MCR without even mentioning The Used. Every diehard MCR fan has listened to The Used at least once. The connection both of these bands share makes complete sense because The Used, just like MCR, had a very strong artistic vision about what they wanted to communicate with their music. You can tell just by looking at the artwork of their album covers that these guys were not just pumping out records for the sake of it, but rather, had a strong appreciation for the craft of song writing, which I think is part of the reason they have managed to stay together as a band for all this time while most of their peers broke up or fell apart near the end of the 2000’s decade. I equally love both their self-titled album and “In Love and Death”.
9. To The Last Bullet
The only reason this band is this low on the list is because they only released 3 completed songs (and 1 demo song) during the entire time they were together as a band, so I think it would be unfair to compare that against other bands on this list that have years’ worth of album releases. Either way, the small amount of music they released during their time together is some of the best stuff I have ever listened to, as you can probably tell by my SpaceHey profile song, lol.
Special thanks to Goshku/Tristan for making a Youtube video talking about this band. It is the literal definition of a hidden gem; I wouldn’t have found it otherwise.
10. If I Die First
I had a really hard time choosing a band to end this list with because there are so many great ones that I enjoy listening to. So I decided to shake things up a little by mentioning a newer band. I was first introduced to this band back when ThePunkRockMBA gave them a shoutout last year. I clicked on one of their music videos not really knowing what to expect, but the moment the opening riff of “Where Needles and Lovers Collide” clicked in, it was as if a band from 2009 had time travelled to 2020. I could not believe that what I was hearing was made in the present age!
This guys have only been a band for 1 year and a few months, but in that time frame they have released two EPS and a split with SYSC. The amount of growth this band has been able to have in just 1 year is insane and I can’t wait to see what they will put out next.
Heavily recommend this band if you are a fan of From First to Last, A Skylit Drive and early Saosin.
Anyways I hope you liked this post! Tell me your top ten favorite bands in the comments or make a blog in response! Have an awesome day/night!