by Ari Abramowitz
The Big Quest(ion) regards the vitality of the music, in itself, without its coolness currency—precisely the elements that are least interesting to the hipster. What is it that remains after the sociology (“Black Sabbath is awesome because I think they embody the concepts put forth by Marcuse and Gramsci, not to mention Debord, of course”), after the packaging (“SunnO))) was, like, doing a ritual in druids’ robes, man”), after the pandering (“did you know that Boris listens to TERRY RILEY and TONY CONRAD?”), after the posturing (“Wolfmother represents the return of the real rock”), after the equivocation (“maybe I’d like metal if weren’t so, you know, violent”), after the pre-emptive excuses (“I don’t actually listen to Iron Maiden, but you gotta admit, my Piece of Mind shirt looks really cool”) and all the rest of the distractions and extra-musical sales pitches. What is the MUSIC that remains? It’s technically or theoretically there, in the grooves or binary code. But can it be experienced as itself, without all these distractions? Can we, as humans, with all of our interpretive faculties, associations, and inherent biases even experience music as music? I’m actually not that sure. But we’re never going to find out as long as hipsterism in Metal is alive.