© 2012 Mike Abominator CORPSE

To Be or Not To Be Cult (Heavy Metal Hipsters)

By: Jason Corpsemolester (master of the 4 string motherfucker for Gravehill)

As I sit here in the closed confines of my work cubicle stealing company time writing a column specifically targeted for my mom (Hi Mom! Love you! Remember to iron my heavy metal slacks!); I find myself drifting into the nether regions of my cloudy, almost brain dead mind dredging up what I’ve been listening to these past few days. Whether it has been in the car, on my iPod or computer, I’ve been floating in the heavy metal dark-matter void of music that some may call “cult” (or kvlt depending on if you’re REALLY cult or a member of the Nuclear War Now message board). But just because I sometimes veer into this region of heavy metal and partake of bands like Pallbearer or Stargazer doesn’t mean I intentionally stay there just because the bands aren’t widely listened to. I’ve found something about them that distinguishes them from the rest of the garbage out there. And there’s a LOT of garbage out there.

Garbage is a fascinating thing. You see, it accumulates everywhere you go. It could be some dog poop on the sidewalk or a gum wrapper at the beach. You probably have some garbage in your house you haven’t thrown away yet but you’ll get to it eventually. Hell, I still have several used condoms and a tennis ball with pubic hair glued to it under my bed (it’s best not to ask). Underground heavy metal music is similar. But unlike most of us, some connoisseurs of our scene feel the need to fill their homes full of garbage similar to a hoarder that collects piles and piles of bullshit until their entire house is filled with…piles and piles of bullshit! I like to think that a majority of us are discerning fans with refined tastes on what we like. On occasion we find that piece of garbage demo or album you grabbed a few days or years back, but on the whole, our collections are filled with pristine trophies and true classics. I may be deluding myself on that last sentence, but bear with me.

What defines cult in heavy metal music? Does it have to be so underground that the number of Hessians who listen to it number in the one of tens? Perhaps the band has a bunch of splits, EPs, and demos but no full length album? Or is the band long defunct; its members middle-aged, working 40 hours a week, raising a family, and have all but forgotten about a period in their life when they used to be a mediocre heavy metal band in the early/mid-80s? When does being cult and “true” become just more words in the hipster dictionary?

So this inevitably leads me to heavy metal hipsters. If you thought hipsters were regulated to the indie scene and all live in Portland, then you would be wrong. Hipsters are everywhere and can be involved in anything. There’s video game hipsters, sci-fi hipsters, horror movie hipsters, etc… Hell, I’ll even admit to being a know-it-all hipster asshole on occasion. Especially when I’m fuckin’ right!

Heavy metal hipsters are fellow Hessians who make it their goal in life to find the most obscure heavy metal/hard rock music, buy the expensive vinyl and then proceed to say, “You haven’t heard of Satan’s Love Pump? I thought you were metal. They put out a 7-inch in 1983 in Greece and have a song on a vinyl comp. They’re awesome!” And when you ask, “What else do they have out?” They look at you as if you’re retarded because that 7-inch and 1-song contribution to a vinyl comp is literally the ONLY music that band has released. What makes Satan’s Love Pump so awesome besides the incredibly badass name I made up? Is it the fact that they have no discography whatsoever? Or that the songs they do have are nothing more than basement recordings where the drums are too loud, the guitars are barely distorted, no bass at all, and the vocals aren’t in key?

Look, I’m not bashing obscure music; I love good obscure music. Yes, there were bands back in the day that never got the recognition they deserved and they’re discography is limited. I get it. But for a lot of those old bands, there’s a good reason why they never made it into the big time. All those demos, EPs, and contributions to comps never went anywhere because the band itself was subpar at best. The same goes for some of the newer music being released today. This obsession with bestial blackened war thrash “play-fast-as-fuck-with-no-discernible-riffs” metal has been trending for years with hundreds of bands vying for top position on who’s the most unoriginal. Do I like some of it? Yes. Again, there are always a few that stand out above the rest (i.e., Impiety); but the majority are fucking garbage and I don’t fill my music collection with garbage. See what I did there? I knew the garbage analogy would eventually work. I spent all day on that fucker.

I’m not telling people what to listen to or what to like. In the end, it’s all in the ear of the beholder. I’m just saying, be true to yourself and what you like. Finding an obscure band that really fucking rocks is refreshing and awesome; finding a mediocre, uninspired obscure band isn’t. Even though you may have stumbled upon something that no one else has heard in years, if you don’t think it rocks, then leave it alone and let it die. My record, cd, and cassette tape collection encompasses bands that I love; not bands that I think are “ok”. Padding your collection of heavy metal music with mediocre bullshit garbage isn’t metal. It’s hipster. Don’t be that guy, friend. Okay, pal? Thanks, buddy.


  1. Garbage Can
    Posted August 27, 2012 at 7:57 pm | #

    Good article, it made me think. Perhaps if many people realized they were using their “music taste” as a fashion accessory, there would be less shit bands out there leeching their existence off of them (i.e. less crap to sift through while searching for quality music). Also, Nachtmystium sucks egregiously.

  2. Corpsie
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 9:48 am | #

    I thought Hell is for children? GODDAMN YOU PAT BENATAR! YOU LIED!!!

  3. SatansUnholyThroneOfHateAndColdness
    Posted August 18, 2012 at 8:45 am | #

    Perhaps it’s time to realize that metal is for children and it’s time to grow up.

  4. Corpsie
    Posted August 16, 2012 at 11:02 am | #

    Satan’s Love Pump is awesome. I only listen to bands that have less than 200 fans on Facebook. I’m old school like that.

  5. Roary B. Bellows
    Posted August 16, 2012 at 10:12 am | #

    No really you HAVEN’T heard of Satan’s Love Pump????

  6. Mike
    Posted August 15, 2012 at 10:20 pm | #

    Nice article. Well stated!!!

  7. Janet W
    Posted August 15, 2012 at 8:29 pm | #

    Forget to mention: Pallbearer are great!!!! I just picked up some Wheel, Briton Rites, Semlah and have been blasting Dawn of Winter, Argus, Atlantean Kodex, and Count Raven for two days straight and I can never go more than a few days without the first few Iced Earth albums getting a listen!!!! I highly recommend Pallbearer and any of the above listed, great song writing!!!

  8. Janet W
    Posted August 15, 2012 at 8:21 pm | #

    I cleared my disposable stuff out a few months back, but it took me YEARS to do so!!!! I’m a huge prog/kraut collector outside of metal and can’t agree more with this article as it appeals to so many styles of great heavy tunes, but yet when buying “obscure” it still is hard to ditch,even when it sucks. Many times things are equally obscure because they just didn’t get the right promotion/backing/luck as when they just plain suck. My safety net is to attempt to sample sounds prior to buying just to verify the quality.

    I STILL love Nacthmystium and many other bands that are no longer KULT/cult…if it rocks…it rocks….

  9. Corpsie
    Posted August 15, 2012 at 4:14 pm | #

    @Chuck Hahahaha That’s awesome. Yeah, I have a box filled with similar garbage as well stuffed into the back of my closet. Haven’t opened it in years and it will probably still be there even after I move.

  10. Chuck White
    Posted August 15, 2012 at 4:03 pm | #

    oh my that’s actually two big boxes and two smaller crammed ones, but the shelf stands proud

  11. Corpsie
    Posted August 15, 2012 at 4:03 pm | #

    Like I said, I don’t mind obscure at all. The shit just needs to rock my socks off! That said, I’ll try and check out the track later tonight. Thanks for the suggestion!

  12. Chuck White
    Posted August 15, 2012 at 4:02 pm | #

    haha I have a shelf of essentials and two fucking boxes full of accumulated shit CDs, about a decade and a half worth that I use as my dirty clothes bin. I almost sold a chunk of them at one point but there’s a lot of shit involved with that, almost too much.

  13. nonhipster
    Posted August 15, 2012 at 3:55 pm | #

    Here is an obcure metal album… it rocks but has some strangeness that dosn’t quite it it’s genre, but I guess that is a good thing.


  14. Vladibeer Reebs
    Posted August 15, 2012 at 1:46 pm | #

    I hate those things. So many of them come thru the record shop and annoy the fuck out of me on a daily basis with their stupid band names.

  15. Rurich
    Posted August 15, 2012 at 1:21 pm | #

    Nothing but common sense, but common sense seems rare nowadays, thanks.

    So… what’s with the pubic hair tennis ball?

  16. Corpsie
    Posted August 15, 2012 at 11:44 am | #

    Thanks, guys! \m/

  17. Roary B. Bellows
    Posted August 15, 2012 at 11:29 am | #

    It’s about time someone wrote something about this horrific epidemic. Love thus article from beginning to end . Keep writing!

  18. Tara G. Warrior
    Posted August 15, 2012 at 11:17 am | #

    Thank you for talking some much needed sense.

  19. Corpsie
    Posted August 15, 2012 at 10:49 am | #

    Ack! It’s always awesome finding grammatical errors after stuff gets posted up. So much for my proofing expertise.

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