now skip ahead to the present. at this point, that heavy metal/90's hardcore gap has been closed. however there is a new barrier. everything changed when bands like Terror, Hoods, and Madball started hitting the scene (for lack of a better word). there is no denying the difference between Terror and Unearth. now that awful term "metalcore" has come about. Unearth leans sounds sort of hardcore, but they are metal. Terror is 'straight up' hardcore. kids who listen to Terror know that what they listen to is heavier than what Unearth kids listen to. so as far as they're concerned, Unearth IS NOT hardcore. so now there is 'hardcore' and there is 'real hardcore' or 'straight up hardcore'. THERE IS A DEFINATE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO STYLES OF MUSIC.
most fans of 'straight up hardcore' accept and like 'hardcore' music, but dont like it being called hardcore. and they dont like 'hardcore' kids trying to act tough, because they know the music they listen to is tougher. so as much as i am against terms like "metalcore" it is probably a good idea to start using them because of the difference between the metal side and hardcore side.
there is no 'hardcorest' music, just hardcore. if something more hardcore comes along, then that becomes the definition of hardcore. thats why bands like Terror are taking the term for themselves with little opposition; because they are right to. when critics hail their album saying "this is what hardcore is supposed to sound like" there is little arguing that its for real.
Unearth (a blend of hardcore and metal that leans very much on the metal side)
Remembering Never (a blend of hardcore and metal that leans very much on the hardcore side)
Terror (doesnt get more hardcore than this)
can be positive or negative depending on whether or not you are a self absorbed terd who likes to show off you hardcoreness
in this case you might be a douchebag