Hipster Metal: Bands that “real” metal fans hate.

Over the summer, I was hanging out at Chicago’s infamous whiskey bar Delilah’s when I got into a conversation with a friend’s much older boyfriend. He is a metal purist. You know the type, listens to Slayer, Venom, Napalm Death, etc. He asked me if I listened to metal and I told him that I used to be pretty into the genre. I gave him a few examples of bands I listened to and what proceeded was a two hour lecture about how metal has fallen off and is being ruined by hipster bands that have tossed out all of the conventions of true metal.


All hail organic free-range Satan

I have never seen such an outpouring of hatred from the metal community than for this “transcendental black metal” group from Brooklyn, New York. The group formed in 2008 and breaks from the black metal canon set up by bands like Venom, Burzum, and Emperor. Liturgy does not wear the black and white face make-up characteristic of black metal bands nor do they don leather bracelets covered in studs or wield claymores on stage. The production quality on their 2011 release is too crisp and clean for any self respecting black-metal enthusiast and the guitar tone is lacking any of the grit you see from other bands within the genre. Worse still, the founder of the band Hunter Hunt-Hendrix has an ego bigger than Kanye West. The lead singer/guitarist claims that Liturgy is last effort to revitalize black metal. He even wrote a manifesto outlining the changes that he plans to make to the genre.

The Locust

Speaking with one metal fan I mentioned that I liked The Locust, his response was that the experimental grindcore group was “just noise”. I found this ironic because when the really heavy metal bands first hit the scene the general consensus by parents and school teachers alike was that bands like Slayer were also “just noise”. The four piece from San Diego is characterized by short 1-2 minute bursts of frenetic guitar and synth parts paired with pugilistic drum arrangements. The group wear locust costumes and typically perform with all instrumentalists  standing in a line at the front of the stage. I saw them in 2009 with Cattle Decapitation and Daughters, needless to say the crowd for Cattle Decap could not have been more demographically different than the crowd that formed when The Locust took the stage. Some of the hipster ilk even hung out in the bathroom of the venue because Cattle Decapitation was “just too much”.  Hipsters and the “cultured” enjoy The Locust for their stage presence, unquestionable musicianship, and the billions of side projects started by bassist Justin Pearson including Holy Molar, Head Wound City, Swing Kids, Crimson Curse, and Some Girls.

Job For a Cowboy

No death metal band has ever been so loved and reviled by the music community. When the Doom EP was released  the Glendale Arizona band gained recognition from the not only the metal community but also the burgeoning emo/scenester crowd that was in full swing in 2005. The group straddles the purist death metal sensibilities that you see in bands like Cannibal Corpse, and metalcore styles that are more prominent within the hipster community. The group breaks one of the cardinal rules of death metal by triggering their drums and using 808’s in their production.  The band has gone through multiple lineup changes with vocalist Jonny Davy the only remaining member of the original five-piece. What started out as a fun response to modern death-metal has devolved into a bastardization of itself.

The Devil Wears Prada

Br00tal hair product bro

I put The Devil Wears Prada on here as a representation of all the shitty metalcore bands that have sprouted up in recent years. This includes Emmure, Bring Me The Horizon, Born of Osiris, and Atreyu.  If you tell anybody that you listen to metal and then drop one of these bands as an example of your taste, be prepared to get berated for three hours. These bands have all but thrown out any conventions of early metal groups. They use a frat-boy machismo that they squeeze in-between ill conceived breakdowns. Some of these bands are even experimenting with electronica and dubstep styling…ugh. Lyrical content diverges the most from purist metal with bands discussing bad break ups, getting drunk with buddies, and even the lord Jesus Christ.Most of these groups feature a pretty boy lead singer and utilize nasally vocals sung atop screaming. The most laughable line I’ve heard in metal comes from Emmure. “And its sad to say, that I still cry to the Bayside CD everyday. Dont you know that those songs are about you?” Because nothing says hard ass like crying over a pop-punk record.


  • Arcturus

    those are all pretty gay bands..

  • Igor

    I am a jew and I love Burzum
    because it’s safe to say no time in the future Nazi Black Metal will become mass popular and found on teen hipsters ipods

    • UrbanCyclist666

      I don’t know. When you take away the Nazi/racist elements of music like Burzum or Peste Noire, musically there are many interesting elements. I hate racism, but I do appreciate good music.

  • Igor

    I love nazi music, thank goodness it won’t become hip any time soon


  • UrbanCyclist666

    The Devil Wears Prada, and Job For a Cowboy do not qualify as “hipster” bands. Sorry.

    Liturgy, yes. But only 12 year old boys and douchebags listen to The Devil Wears Prada.

  • UrbanCyclist666

    Hipster Metal Bands:

    Sunn O)))
    Wolves in the Throne Room
    The Sword
    High on Fire
    Christian Mistress

    Good Metalcore Bands (there are a few):

    Between the Buried and Me
    Poison The Well
    All Shall Perish
    The Dillinger Escape Plan

    Douchey Metalcore (and/or Christian Metalcore) Bands:

    The Devil Wears Prada
    Norma Jean
    As I Lay Dying
    Demon Hunter

    • Igor

      Basically, anything Pitchfork.

      • UrbanCyclist666

        Yes, I suppose there’s truth to that. Although, I listen to a lot of bands that are classified as “hipster metal” but not because Pitchfork does or does not like them. Bands like Neurosis, Agalloch, Kylesa, and WITTR make good music in general, at least in my opinion. I’ve been listening to heavy music since before “hipster metal” or Pitchfork. Not that I have anything against Pitchfork. I’ve read Pitchfork, but I don’t always agree with their reviews. My point is that I don’t believe a band like The Devil Wears Prada has been correctly identified as “hipster”. I just don’t see that as a correct classification.

  • arnieus

    “Today’s music ain’t got the same soul. I want that old time” … what ever. Being holier than thou over the finer nuances of metal music will lead you to basement dwelling.