Monday, November 18, 2013

Why Metalheads Hate Hipsters

Ah, the hipster. That self-important bastion of pseudo-intellectualism. Why do we metal fans hate him so?

This is a subject that, truth be told, could fill a book. In fact, that book would only be a single volume in the complete series of why the rest of the world hates hipsters. I'm not going to write a book, though. I'm not even going to write an essay on the subject, though I've seriously considered doing just that on more than one occasion. Instead, I'm going to let the hipsters speak for themselves.

This is the opening post of a thread I recently encountered entitled "Hipster Black Metal".

"Most of you probably know what this is, but for those of you who do not, hipster black metal is pretty much what it sounds like. It is a fairly recent wave of blackmetal based from the hipster culture, mostly of the U.S. Except unlike traditional black metal, hipster black metal has refined the genre and purged it mostly of the asinine, senseless negativity and hate.

As you know, black metal is a very philosophy-driven subgenre of metal within its lyrical content. Since hipsters normally tend to be more philosophical, deep, opinionated, and intelligent than your average metalhead, this movement is rather fitting for the progress of modern black metal. In other words, the artistic, inovative thinking and ideas encouraged by the hipster culture is basically what has rescued black metal from stagnation.

Though it does go without saying, enthusiasts and acts of the second wave (mostly of Europe and Scandinavia) are very critical of the movement and take yet another oppritunity to bash American black metal. My theory is that they are totes jealous and feel threatened that their style and methods are obsolete and now it's finally time to pass the torch.

With that all said, what are your favorite hipster black metal acts?"
I think I just threw up in my mouth a little.
Now don't get me wrong, I have nothing against philosophy or intellectualism. In fact, I have a bachelor's degree in philosophy. What I do have a problem with is pretentiousness, and that quote is one of the most pretentious things I've ever read. Admittedly, one could argue that this is an isolated instance of one individual expressing his personal opinion, but I've spent enough time around hipsters to know better. This is a succinct expression of the collective viewpoint of every black metal hipster I've ever encountered.
If we set aside the mind-numbing arrogance for a moment and just focus on the idea behind it, then we'd see something that seems valuable. Or rather, it would be if it were actually accurate. For one thing, there's plenty of hate in hipster black metal, it's just focused in a slightly different direction and expressed with a minute fraction of the testicular fortitude that other black metal displays. For another thing, as this *ahem* fine young gentleman has pointed out himself, black metal is already a deeply philosophically-driven sub-genre of music. In fact, I would assert that the vast majority of the legitimately deep, philosophical, intelligent black metal that I've encountered has come from outside of hipster culture. All the hipsters have done is see this fact, ham-handedly imitate what was already being done better, drain the music of its passion and honesty, then pretend that somehow by sterilizing it they had created something intellectually superior. 
The result is a generally inferior product being passed of as something aimed at "the thinking man" so that anybody who sees through the facade and calls bullshit can just be dismissed as being too stupid to understand. Meanwhile, the genuinely independent thinkers are boxed out and considered "asinine" and "senseless" and other such dismissive pejoratives. And over the whole operation, any indisputably correct criticism of this behavior can be parried with that all-important hipster get out of jail free card: irony.

This, in a nutshell, is why metalheads, hate hipsters. I'm guessing you already knew all this, but I just felt it needed to be said.


  1. I think you've been successfully trolled. I can't believe anyone would write those things unless their express purpose is to raise the ire of metalheads.

    To be fair, I can't say for sure. I have a cousin who is damn near a fucking caricature of a hipster, minus facial hair. I had to stop following his Facebook posts because everything he wrote pissed me off. It felt like he was trolling everyone with taste in anything. I had to stop following him for fear of starting an unnecessary fight.

    And now it occurs to me . . . is the entire subculture of hipsters just a subculture of trolling? That actually makes a lot of sense . . . .

    But on topic as far as "hipster" black metal, I don't think I can fairly say anything about that as a group, because I'm not sure what the group is. I like a lot of bands that have received that label, but there's at least one that I can't stand.

  2. See, my initial thought was the same: I assumed that it was just trolling. Then I continued reading as the thread progressed, and I became convinced that he was serious. Of course it's possible that he was just really selling it hard, or that I'm terribly imperceptive, but I don't think so.