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Hipster Black Metal (Deafheaven and Liturgy)

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Thoughts on bands like Deafheaven and Liturgy, and "hipster black metal" more generally?

 

I personally don't like either of these bands, but I can respect what they're doing. Atmospheric black metal has such a unique and powerful sound that it almost seems inevitable that it would have an influence outside the metal world. 

 

One thing I think gives me a little more patience with these bands is that they're not entirely dissimilar from a band I love, Oathbreaker, which is basically an indie/hardcore/black metal fusion. 

 

Between Deafheaven and Liturgy, Deafheaven is the one I like less, but they're probably the stronger of the two. A lot of the time they sound like pretty straightforward black metal, but it's actually where they branch away from black metal that they lose me, with the sunnier parts and guitar noodling. I've heard some people say they're a screamo band, but that claim is patently absurd - their sound is much more black metal, and they barely resemble screamo in any way.

 

Frankly, Liturgy is pretty clearly black metal made for an indie audience. They have all these electronic and weird, but not particularly intense noise elements that sound geared for Pitchfork-type bands and audiences. That said, I do find them the more interesting and compelling of the two, even though they miss way more often than Deafheaven. Every once in a while they hit on something interesting. 

 

Overall, I don't think I'm going to spend any more time on these bands, but it is interesting how atmospheric black metal is starting to branch out in different directions.

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I recall disliking both of these bands within a very short period of listening time.  There logically should be no "accessibility" or "mainstream appeal" to BM for me, it ruins my elitist sentiments on the genre but that having been said there's a place for melody obviously.  I feel Liturgy and Deafhaven are a step too far though, not perhaps in terms of watering things down but more a step too far away from the actual fundamentals of what I know to be BM.

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I don't know much about these bands except that I bought Deafheaven's 'Sunbather' album on itunes a few years ago and I really like it. It's got a great emotional push to it. That first track 'Dream House' is phenomenal.

I don't know how influenced I was by the album title, but it makes really good sense listening to this at the beach here in Australia during summer, because it's got this 'sun sparkling off the crest of waves with deep blue skies above' kind of vibe. A strange paradox where it's creating and remembering nostalgia simultaneously. I find it quite romantically philosophical. 

Then again, when I listen to bands like Alcest I find that they don't really interest me, so all in all I wouldn't call myself a fan of this post-black metal movement. Just that one album (or one song!). 

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14 hours ago, RelentlessOblivion said:

Anything with the prefix "post-" attached to it is in my experience terrible. Post-black metal running a close second to post-night at the pub...

Not really. "Post-black metal" means using a black metal toolbox to create something that doesn't stick strictly to the black metal spectrum, and would include stuff like Fleurety, Thorns, later Mayhem, Solefald, Rebel Extravaganza and Volcano era Satyricon, etc... It often gets confused with "post-rock/black metal", which isn't really the same thing, and is up to its neckbeard in hipster douches. 

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1 hour ago, BlutAusNerd said:

Not really. "Post-black metal" means using a black metal toolbox to create something that doesn't stick strictly to the black metal spectrum, and would include stuff like Fleurety, Thorns, later Mayhem, Solefald, Rebel Extravaganza and Volcano era Satyricon, etc... It often gets confused with "post-rock/black metal", which isn't really the same thing, and is up to its neckbeard in hipster douches. 

The more you know...

 

At any rate deafhaven and all the bands I've heard like them can fuck off.

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On 03/08/2017 at 0:19 PM, BlutAusNerd said:

Not really. "Post-black metal" means using a black metal toolbox to create something that doesn't stick strictly to the black metal spectrum, and would include stuff like Fleurety, Thorns, later Mayhem, Solefald, Rebel Extravaganza and Volcano era Satyricon, etc... It often gets confused with "post-rock/black metal", which isn't really the same thing, and is up to its neckbeard in hipster douches. 

Here we go... ;)

Anyway, I think whenever I hear the use of "post-black metal" it reminds me of 'diet coke' or 'lite cream cheese'. I usually want the full phat variety. 

Although I do love later Mayhem, and like Thorns and 'Volcano' era Satyricon quite a lot. So it ain't all bad. Most of my friends really like bands like Alcest for instance but it just tends to bore me for some reason. 

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4 hours ago, Requiem said:

Here we go... ;)

Anyway, I think whenever I hear the use of "post-black metal" it reminds me of 'diet coke' or 'lite cream cheese'. I usually want the full phat variety. 

Although I do love later Mayhem, and like Thorns and 'Volcano' era Satyricon quite a lot. So it ain't all bad. Most of my friends really like bands like Alcest for instance but it just tends to bore me for some reason. 

Alcest is alright, but they're in more of the shoegaze/post-rock "used to be black metal" kind of sound. Some post-black metal isn't great, but I really dig Solefald, Fleurety, and later Mayhem especially. I'll admit that I haven't explored it heavily because I tend to be kind of a traditionalist when it comes to black metal, but I wouldn't mind finding more along those lines.

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Amid the controversy a few years back I did sample some of these bands' material and I thought it was ok. Nothing special, but nothing too terrible. 

Deafhaven had a pleasant warmth to their music but they didn't do much to build on the atmosphere. The drumming felt intrusive and the vocals were monotonous. I remember the songs being quite lengthy too making it a bit of a chore to listen to.  

New Bermuda had a lot of hype at the time of its release so I gave it a listen. It started out well enough but I don't think there's a better example of an album getting progressively worse with each song than this. It lacked any semblance of cohesion or direction and I wondered if this was an intentional trolling. Perhaps this is where the hipster tag comes into play? Is this the vision behind a Jackson Pollock painting or quite simply, a drop cloth that's seen its share of paint splatter over the years? I'm not going to pretend that there's much of a difference. 

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3 hours ago, Vampyrique said:

Amid the controversy a few years back I did sample some of these bands' material and I thought it was ok. Nothing special, but nothing too terrible. 

Deafhaven had a pleasant warmth to their music but they didn't do much to build on the atmosphere. The drumming felt intrusive and the vocals were monotonous. I remember the songs being quite lengthy too making it a bit of a chore to listen to.  

New Bermuda had a lot of hype at the time of its release so I gave it a listen. It started out well enough but I don't think there's a better example of an album getting progressively worse with each song than this. It lacked any semblance of cohesion or direction and I wondered if this was an intentional trolling. Perhaps this is where the hipster tag comes into play? Is this the vision behind a Jackson Pollock painting or quite simply, a drop cloth that's seen its share of paint splatter over the years? I'm not going to pretend that there's much of a difference. 

I think it's that they try to use certain black metal aesthetics and techniques, but do so ironically and/or without context for what to do with them. They're merely placeholders so that they can check the "we play black metal box" on their resumé, but in doing so, they miss the point entirely. The result isn't black metal, but rather indie/emo/post-rock trash with blast beats and tremolo picking that feels totally out of place. 

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On 8/12/2017 at 1:10 PM, BlutAusNerd said:

I think it's that they try to use certain black metal aesthetics and techniques, but do so ironically and/or without context for what to do with them. They're merely placeholders so that they can check the "we play black metal box" on their resumé, but in doing so, they miss the point entirely. The result isn't black metal, but rather indie/emo/post-rock trash with blast beats and tremolo picking that feels totally out of place. 

That sounds about right. They've got to be considered pretty edgy though, at least amongst Starbucks gatherings and college campuses.  

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On 8/19/2017 at 10:17 PM, Vampyrique said:

That sounds about right. They've got to be considered pretty edgy though, at least amongst Starbucks gatherings and college campuses.  

I guess the neckbeard wearing masses needed another fad to jump on and shut all over, bands like Deafheaven are just fulfilling a demand.

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It's not easy being a hipster. When you mix and match items of clothing that are utterly disharmonious, there are just too many possible combos available that it becomes difficult to showcase your inner intellectual and capacity to demonstrate irony. And don't forget, it takes years to get your pants that tight. Plus, you can hardly afford your five-dollar Starbucks coffee and it's especially tough knowing that you're only going there so you can advertise to other hipsters by choice of shirt what kind of black metal you listen to, or by book so you can show how philosophically-minded you are with the latest on neo-marxism. 

Unless someone has already done it, I'd like to investigate the world of the common hipster. Is there an American Psycho of hipsters? Do hipsters wear non-prescription glasses? Is neckbeard-envy a real thing amongst fledgling hipsters? So many questions... 

 

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37 minutes ago, Vampyrique said:

It's not easy being a hipster. When you mix and match items of clothing that are utterly disharmonious, there are just too many possible combos available that it becomes difficult to showcase your inner intellectual and capacity to demonstrate irony. And don't forget, it takes years to get your pants that tight. Plus, you can hardly afford your five-dollar Starbucks coffee and it's especially tough knowing that you're only going there so you can advertise to other hipsters by choice of shirt what kind of black metal you listen to, or by book so you can show how philosophically-minded you are with the latest on neo-marxism. 

Unless someone has already done it, I'd like to investigate the world of the common hipster. Is there an American Psycho of hipsters? Do hipsters wear non-prescription glasses? Is neckbeard-envy a real thing amongst fledgling hipsters? So many questions... 

 

I've heard tale of beard implants taking place near Williamsburg for those who can't grow their own, so I would say that the envy is real.

4 hours ago, FatherAlabaster said:

Loving the typo. :D

The irony of the typo in a thread about hipster douches with daddy issues would cause the head of any such hipster reading that post to explode. I was doing you all a favor. 😎

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