A day off. Nice. Excluding Easter Monday, I can’t remember having a Monday off this year. And I’m supposed to do a lot of things, but after an excellent, yet a bit exhausting weekend recording stuff with Eternal Tears of Sorrow, it’s almost too hard to start doing anything sensible. Cleaning up the apartment, doing the laundry, paying some bills, getting my car repaired, that’s just too much for a day.
Anyway, today I’ve bumped into an interesting term. Hipster metal. WTF is that? There was nothing like that when I was young. Metal was metal, not a very popular rock genre, considered only a phase in a young boy’s life, a slightly unintelligent form of rock’n’roll. The more I read about hipster metal, the more confused I became. What is a hipster, anyway? English isn’t my mother tongue, so I can’t have all the connotations of the word. But in Finnish, we do have the word loaned as “hipsteri” that to me, sounds like a guy or a gal who wants to be more trendy than “the mainstream youth”. Trendy in a very intelligent way, or at least in a way that makes them look smarter. The Finnish definition of “hipsteri” is used to describe “an urban subculture that involves listening to indie rock and wearing middle-class or working class clothes, like grunge rock guys and gals”.
Still, after reading dozens of pages of hipsters and so-called hipster metal, I’m not any wiser. It could have something to do with my age (as I’m not a teen anymore) or it could have something to do with Finland being the country in the world where metal music is the most mainstream. Metal music is huge here, which is really weird, by the way. So, it could be that we really don’t need “hipster metal” here as metal is “hip” enough here. The best article on hipster metal is probably this, by the way: http://www.examiner.com/metal-music-in-houston/hipster-metal ..
Who (i.e. which bands) play hipster metal, anyways? There are a lot of opinions on this. Sludge metal bands, post-rock black metal bands etc, or so they say. Baroness, Pelican, Alcest? They are mentioned in many blogs and websites. Damnit, I like those bands… Well, I won’t stop listening to them. They have a lot of nice songs, and that’s enough for me. Are they hipster metal or just bands that some hipster metal heads (if there are any) listen to, or claim they listen to. I prefer the latter explanation.
I don’t mean heavy metal should not evolve. Vice versa. It’s important for metal music to involve. If rock’n’roll hadn’t evolved after the 50s, all rock would still be like “Rock Around the Clock” and “Johnny B Goode“. And if you listen to some new black metal or death metal bands, you can say they sound quite much like the bands in the late 90s, do they? The overall production is naturally much better but when it comes to music, it really hasn’t so much new to offer. Or progressive metal? Has it evolved a lot since ‘Images & Words‘ by Dream Theater? Probably not.
There must be something new happening in the metal underground, though, I think. Just take a look at the most popular metal bands at last.fm. Metallica, System of a Down, Iron Maiden, Slipknot, Disturbed, Marilyn Manson, Megadeth, Korn. Most of them were successful in the 90s (or even the 80s) and the rest of them, well, they could have been big in the late 90s, too. Why aren’t there any bands sounding like the 2000s on the list? Are the metal hipsters right after all? Is there metal music that sound like 2012, after all? Has metal music stagnated in the past?
I bet there are people who can answer to these questions. I can’t, not now, anyway. Some day, perhaps.
- My hipster awaking (adventster.wordpress.com)
- “Washed Stripe” Vans, The Latest Installment in Hipster Culture (abovestandardissue.wordpress.com)